I've just read a DW article, and it uses a lot of -e endings for verbs in various cases. And I'm struggling to understand why those usages are indeed correct. In particular I don't understand why it's correct to use -e in sentences like these:

Generell habe diese Auslagerung vor allem einen Grund.

Es gehe der Regierung darum, die Zuordnung der Angriffe zu erschweren.

Natürlich gelte es, die Cybersicherheit ganz allgemein zu verbessern, sagt Antonia Hmaidi.

To me these examples appear to be just regular Präsens sentences. But instead the author uses "habe", "gehe", "gelte" instead of "haben", "geht", "gilt".

It would be great if someone could explain to me what I'm missing here.

  • 5
    You are missing the konjunktiv of reported speech.
    – Alazon
    Nov 26, 2023 at 18:24
  • If they were "regular Präteritum sentences", the verbs would be: hatte, ging, galt. If you meant "regular Präsens sentences", then the first verb would have to be hat (singular), not haben. Nov 28, 2023 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


Those are Konjunktiv I forms. See the conjugations of

Those Konjunktiv I forms are used mainly in press to mark reported speech. DW does not claim those things stated are facts but they have been told to them by someone else and they don't comment on it. They have not been checked against a second source.

In practice, you only need to identify the third person singular form. The others are rarely used.

  • 7
    Plural seien is not unheard of. Example: Der Politiker hat gesagt, die Steuern seien zu hoch. is a classical example sentence. First person and second person are rare, but third person plural isn't (only in case of haben/gehen/gelten, the third person plural looks like Präsens).
    – gerrit
    Nov 27, 2023 at 11:23
  • First person isn't that rare, either. "Er sagt, ich sei zu spät gekommen." is quite common. In the second person, for some reason Konjunktiv II is replacing Konjunktiv I: *Er meint, du hättest das gemacht." instead of "Er meint, du habest das gemacht." Nov 28, 2023 at 0:39
  • The first and the third person is always identical in Konjunktiv I, in singular (ich/er schau-e) as well as in plural (wir/sie schau-ten). The second person always ends with a -t, in singular with an additional -s-: (du schau-est/ihr schau-et). So there are only 3.5 possible endings per tense. Nov 28, 2023 at 15:19

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