I just read:


Wherein they say at one point: "Auch der UN-Sondergesandte Volker Perthes erklärte, er sei entsetzt über die Berichte von Beschuss und Plünderungen, die die Vereinten Nationen und andere humanitäre Einrichtungen betreffen würden."

Now, why would you add that würden at the end? What purpose does it serve? I get that... it might be called Konjunktiv I or II, but isn't it unnecessary?

The Beschuss and the Plünderungen betreffen (i.e. affect) the Vereinten Nationen and andere humanitäre Einrichtungen. No need therefore for a werden, würden, or whatever else.

Or... could it perhaps convey the idea of "supposedly", "allegedly"? But why would there be any degree of uncertainty regarding the effect Plünderungen and Beschuss would have on any Einrichtungen?

Actually, I think I'm beginning to figure it out. The key word here is Berichte and so würden is necessary, somehow...

1 Answer 1


It is one alternative to using the Konjunktiv II of the "main" verb itself using "würde" + Infinitive.
Konjunktiv II was chosen in this news report for indirect speech.
(It was chosen because while Konj I and Konj II are equivalent in meaning, it is recommended to only fall back to Konj II or the würde-Form when Indikativ and Konjunktiv I form of a verb cannot be distinguished. In this case Indikativ "betreffen" and Konjunktiv I "betreffen" look the same.)
You can tell that it is because the object clause that serves as the Akkusativ object has a verb of saying as its "main" verb:

Volker Perthes erklärte, ...

In your example, the würde-Form has most certainly the same meaning as regular Konjunktiv II would have.

beträfen | betreffen würden.

If you do not use Konjunktiv I or II, it is not indirect speech but a statement. But as you said we don't need any indirect speech if it's certain that something is true. That is where you correctly suspected that "Bericht"(report) is important: Tagesschau could want to distance itself or is not certain of their credibility yet.

  • Technically you should use Konjunktiv I for indirect speech, but since the Konj I of both betreffen and werden are in this case indistinguishable from the Indikativ form, Konj II is used, albeit with the less "elegant" würden form. Apr 17, 2023 at 12:56
  • Thanks for the correction, for anyone else look at Dudenband 4 p.535 or Randnummer 776. Apr 17, 2023 at 13:15

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