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Peace be with us

Gnade sei mit uns.

Could someone explain why Konjunktiv-1 conjugation of sein is used here? I think it'd be Konjunktiv-2 cause, it's expressing a wish.

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This is the same as English God save the King. That save is the English Konjunktiv I — present subjunctive. It's the only use for present subjunctive in English and seldom used.

In German you can find it more often. The name for it is Jussiv. It's not a wish but a command, and it's realized with Konjunktiv I.

 Ein jeder kehre vor seiner eigenen Tür, da hat er Dreck genug dafür.

You don't wish that everyone does that but you command it. The equivalent wish would be

Ein jeder kehrte vor seiner eigenen Tür, es wäre so friedlich hier.

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  • How can one command Gnade? What about er ruhe in Frieden, so wahr mir Gott helfe. lang lebe die Königin? These examples all seem like wishes to me.
    – David Vogt
    Sep 26 at 20:36
  • That's why I always say Konjunktiv II isn't about wishes but non-facts. It's much more clear. If you say So wahr mir Gott helfen würde. you clearly feel that it's not a fact. If you say So wahr mir Gott helfen werde. (Konjunktiv I) this becomes more factual and So wahr mir Gott helfen wird. is already an assumption.
    – Janka
    Sep 26 at 20:43
  • Hmm command, so how des that differ from imperative? Sep 27 at 1:33
  • Imperative mood can only be used in second person. If you want to phrase a command to third person, you have to use the Jussiv.
    – Janka
    Sep 27 at 1:48
  • The sentence is a wish rather than a command, so in my view it is more correct to use the term Optativ instead of Jussiv. But this is of little practical importance as German can realize both Optativ and Jussiv with Konjunktiv I.
    – RHa
    Sep 27 at 19:38

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