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I am reading a book in german and following sentence comes up:

Dabei gab es bereits vieles, das mich hätte glücklich machen sollen.

  1. The second part of the sentence is a relative clause and thus must follow subordinate clause word order in which all verbs go to end, then why 'hätte' is in middle and
  2. if it is in plusquamperfekt form, then should not it be hätte gesollt and not hätte sollen
  3. third why it is there at all, I don't get it. In english : 'should have made' is basically modal verb + past perfect but I don't understand why in german a 'haben' is there. Should not it be simply sollen (in conjunctive 2 form) + machen , like: "das mich glücklich machen sollte."
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2 Answers 2

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if it is in plusquamperfekt form, then should not it be hätte gesollt and not hätte sollen

It's not Plusquamperfekt but Konjunktiv II Perfekt but the answer is the same. With the modals and some verbs of perception, you don't use the Partizip II but the so called Ersatzinfinitiv when building the perfect tenses.

Es kann diesmal klappen.

Es hat diesmal klappen gekonnt.

Es hat diesmal klappen können. ← Perfekt mit Ersatzinfinitiv

Some verbs as sehen allow both:

Er sieht es kommen.

Er hat es kommen gesehen. ← normales Perfekt

Er hat es kommen sehen. ← Perfekt mit Ersatzinfinitiv

The second part of the sentence is a relative clause and thus must follow subordinate clause word order in which all verbs go to end, then why 'hätte' is in middle and

This is a special word order rule that comes into effect when there's a perfect with Ersatzinfinitiv in a dependent clause: haben leads the predicate then instead of following it.

Du weißt, dass es diesmal klappen kann.

Du weißt, dass es diesmal hat klappen können.

Again, some verbs as sehen allow both, and the word order changes accordingly:

Du weißt, dass er es kommen sieht.

Du weißt, dass er es kommen gesehen hat.

Du weißt, dass er es hat kommen sehen.

third why it is there at all, I don't get it. In english : 'should have made' is basically modal verb + past perfect but I don't understand why in german a 'haben' is there. Should not it be simply sollen (in conjunctive 2 form) + machen , like: "das mich glücklich machen sollte."

Es sollte mich glücklich machen.

as a Konjunktiv II form is about the non-past while

Es hätte mich glücklich machen sollen.

is about the past.

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(1) A peculiarity here is that the adjective "glücklich" is integrated into the predicate. Otherwise see: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feldermodell_des_deutschen_Satzes#Das_Oberfeld , https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deutsche_Grammatik#Reihenfolge_der_Verben

(2) https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ersatzinfinitiv

(3) Is indeed tricky: "Hätte glücklich machen sollen" is a statement about an alternative past (irrealis), hence the form is German Konjunktiv II. For that (alternative) past, the speaker states a modal "obligation", as it were, for things to make him happy. So the obligation "sollen" is embedded under the irreal past "hätte": back then, things were supposed to do that.

However, this construction is not possible in English, because modals like "shall / should" do not occur in the infinitive, hence they cannot be embedded, and hence the order/hierarchy of the auxiliaries is sometimes switched to the effect that the modal can be the finite verb. However the meaning is not really "Things are now supposed to have had that effect in the past."

Your variant "sollte mich glücklich machen" is a real obligation in the past, hence a different meaning from the one intended. (For some reason, additionally, this past tense does not quite work for the meaning that "things" are supposed to have some effect, you rather get it only with animate subjects.)

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