In the sentence below:

Danach bin ich ganz allein gewesen und [ich] habe gehen müssen, als es zu schlimm geworden ist".

1.When do we have to use "habe"+ infinitive?

I don't know when to use "habe"+infinitive to make Perfekt and when to use its original Perfekt in this case "bin gegangen".

[ich] habe gehen müssen, ich bin gegangen mussen

And also i don't understand why do we use "müssen" ( i don't get the infinitive + infinitive)

I would be grateful if you could also give the equivelents of these tenses in English

  • german.stackexchange.com/questions/70844/… <-- how much difference is there to your previous question? It would be highly appreciated if you could share some of your thoughts with us in a way that you work out the differences and what they (could possibly) mean, given a conjugation table Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 13:29
  • I just need some help distinguishing these tenses from each other.@planetmaker
    – iamshimye
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 14:19
  • My problem is about (substitute infinitive)@planetmaker
    – iamshimye
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 14:44
  • I am not sure if your level is enough to actually play around with tenses like this. "ich bin gegangen müssen" means absolutely nothing and doesn't resemble anything in German.
    – Emanuel
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 15:40
  • For an explanation of Ersatzinfinitiv: german.stackexchange.com/questions/36072/… It might also help to google the word Ersatzinfinitiv.
    – HalvarF
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 15:47

2 Answers 2

  1. You pretty much never HAVE to use "habe XYZ müssen". You can always just say "musste XYZ"

You're missing the fact that the verb put in past is actually "müssen", not "gehen".

  • Ich muss gehen.
  • Ich musste gehen.
  • Ich habe gehen müssen.

The last one is a special structure that we have to use instead the logical "ich habe gehen gemusst."

I will not give equivalents to English because it is pointless. There is present and past in German, and you should pick the forms based on the contexts and verbs you have, not on what it is in English.


In addition to Emanuel's answer:

What might make this a bit harder for English speakers is the fact that in English, "must" is not a normal verb that can be put into perfect tense, and the replacement is, of all verbs, "to have to".

Danach bin ich ganz allein gewesen und [ich] habe gehen müssen, als es zu schlimm geworden ist.

Afterwards, I was all alone, and I had to leave when it became too bad.

To help you analyze the part "Ich habe gehen müssen", I'm going to build it up step by step:

Ich gehe.
with müssen: Ich muss gehen.
set to perfect tense, southern style: Ich habe gehen gemusst.
Hochdeutsch, with Ersatzinfinitiv: Ich habe gehen müssen.

  • 1
    In English, "must" and several other modal verbs are defective, meaning not all tenses are possible. In German, modal verbs are not, so you often have to rephrase in order to translate them to English. There is also some subtlety when it comes to negation and subjunctives, so everything just seems to work out better if you use a 'to' equivalent in English when possible: "have to", "want to", "be able to", "be allowed to".
    – RDBury
    Commented Jun 13, 2022 at 19:32

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