Is the following conditional that combines falls + sollten with a modal verb, possible?

Falls Sie keinen Brief von meinem Anwalt erhalten wollen sollten, ...

It sounds wrong and I'm not sure that putting sollten as the first verb in the sentence would help, though it does sound slightly better.

Are similar constructions (with modal verbs in them) present, and if so, how often would they occur?

  • Sollten is not an infinitive and can be be dropped without change of meaning.
    – guidot
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 7:51
  • @guidot thank you, I have changed the title to reflect this. Does the sentence not strike you as weird-sounding?
    – K.T.
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 7:53
  • 2
    Yes it sounds clumsy, but not really wrong. Dropping falls and moving sollten to its place seems perfectly acceptable, however.
    – guidot
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 7:57
  • Related question.
    – guidot
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 8:00
  • 2
    You can make it even more weird by adding even more modal verbs, if you want. It will still be corrrect grammar. If you're asking about style, however, you've already overdone it ;)
    – tofro
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 12:30

1 Answer 1


The sentence is quite bad from the perspective of euphony, but quite correct from a grammatical perspective.

Grammar is fundamentally reductive: whatever emerges from the repeated application of a finite number of constructions is considered "right", even if that result is unforeseen. Euphony works in a holistic way: it considers the totality of the result as it is, and if the result contains too many repeated elements it is judged to be infelicitous, particularly if the repeated surface forms are in fact different underlying mechanisms (such as "-en" being used both as an infinitive suffix and as an inflection suffix).

  • Thank you for the answer - and thanks to all the contributors in the comments as well. I even learned two new words from your explanation ;)
    – K.T.
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 15:09
  • I think the combination of both falls and sollten is also questionable. It's a doubling as either of both says there are alternatives.
    – Janka
    Commented Aug 16, 2023 at 18:37

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.