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25 votes
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What is the origin of the two past tenses in German?

I interpret the question as: How did the functional difference between a "narrative" and a "conversational" past come about? I assume the development of the forms is not relevant (i.e. the fact that ...
David Vogt's user avatar
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22 votes

The Passive Voice

These are actually two main sentences connected by "und", with different subjects and predicates. A comma before und would probably have clarified it for you. It should be: Etwa zwei ...
HalvarF's user avatar
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13 votes

Why are there three verbs in a row?

One linguist once suggested analysing these sentences in terms of "multiplication" and "division", as if they were equations. Ich verstecke mich. | × kann Ich kann mich verstecken....
David Vogt's user avatar
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11 votes

“Ich werde” vs “ich bin”

Your conjecture is correct. Future tense is used rather rarely in German. Most of the time, present tense is used to express future actions (not just intended future actions), in particular if there ...
Uwe's user avatar
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11 votes
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Morgen + Präteritum. Verwirrt über die Interpretationsweise

Es handelt sich um eine Tempusverschiebung in die Vergangenheit und um eine Perspektiv-Verschiebung in die Erlebens- und Gedankenwelt der Person, die diesen Satz dachte, möglicherweise auch in der ...
Ralf Joerres's user avatar
  • 4,700
11 votes

How is the verb "sollen" normally conjugated

First of all: German tenses are very different from English tenses. German has only 6 tenses, English has 16. And German tenses are used very different. Gegenwart, a German tense similar to English ...
Hubert Schölnast's user avatar
10 votes
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“Ich mag programmieren.” – why not “möchte”?

Ich möchte = I want to + simple form Ich möchte programmieren = I want to program. Ich möchte schlafen. = I want to sleep. Ich möchte essen. = I want to eat. Ich mag = I like + progressive ...
Hubert Schölnast's user avatar
9 votes
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»Werden« mit Vermutungen

Du hast es hier mit einem Satz in der Zeitform Futur 2 zu tun. Diese Zeitform wird gebildet aus der konjugierten Form von werden, gefolgt von der jeweiligen (nicht konjugierten) Perfekt-Form des Verbs....
Matthias's user avatar
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9 votes
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If a verb is irregular in one tense, will it also be irregular in all other tenses?

To answer the question in the title and not the example, there are verbs that are regular in the present tense but irregular in the past tense. So the answer is no. For example "springen", &...
RDBury's user avatar
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8 votes

“Ich werde” vs “ich bin”

It’s not exactly the state of being that is necessarily used. Rather, future tense is used very rarely in German altogether, and present tense pretty much substitutes it in all context. That not only ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 38.6k
8 votes

How does the tense affect the meaning of a construction with “sobald”?

Sobald tells a condition for an immediately following event. Sobald Paula eine neue Arbeit gefunden hatte, ist sie nach Berlin umgezogen. The first clause is in Plusquamperfekt, the second clause ...
Janka's user avatar
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8 votes

I'll call you - Ich rufe dich an (why no *werde* here?)

German tense »Präsens« has these use cases: aktuelles Präsens singular event in the present Ich bin (gerade) am Hauptplatz. repeating and still going on event. Ich gehe jeden Montag ...
Hubert Schölnast's user avatar
8 votes

Imperfective Aspect in German "not since" constructions

Actually, your first example Ich habe schon seit sechs Jahren kein Deutsch [mehr] gesprochen was not wrong, but instead nearly perfectly idiomatic, even more if you had added the optional ...
tofro's user avatar
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8 votes

Gilt »Du bist schlafend« als Verlaufsform von »Du schläfst«?

Ich bin kein deutscher Muttersprachler, aber vielleicht ist die Sichtweise eines englischen Sprechers nützlich. Die Bedeutung von "Du schläfst," ist für mich schon im "progressive" ...
RDBury's user avatar
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8 votes

Why are there three verbs in a row?

In addition to David Vogt's explanation: in English you can use the very similar word ordering with three "verbs" to the same meaning and similar reasoning (the 'to hide' and 'be able' are ...
planetmaker's user avatar
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7 votes

Can “möchten” be used with future tense?

Your grammar book is correct: möchten is not a verb of its own right, it is simply an inflected form of mögen. Thus, taking it into any case other then present you must use a corresponding form of ...
Jan's user avatar
  • 38.6k
7 votes

Is “vorlagen” a form of “vorliegen”?

Vorlagen is the past Präteritum of vorliegen, 1st and 3rd persons in plural. It has no relation whatsoever with subordinate clauses. What you might have done: Check if the verb is separable – you ...
c.p.'s user avatar
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7 votes
Accepted

Why do Germans often use the Plusquamperfekt instead of (simple) Perfekt when they speak of the past?

This use of Plusquamperfekt is wrong in standard German but very common in some regions. I observed it especially in Saarland, but it may not be the only one. As you said yourself: Plusquamperfekt ...
Kristina's user avatar
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7 votes
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Use of "seit" with Perfekt

In Germany we are not that picky about tenses. Both sentences mean nearly the same although the first one would somehow be connected to a specific point in time. For example a police officer ...
Tode's user avatar
  • 9,588
7 votes
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Why is it that "alle" takes different cases here?

"Alles" behaves like 'everything'. "Alle" behaves like 'all'. Alles ist schön. Everything is beautiful. Alle Dinge sind schön. All things are beautiful. If you are further interested ...
RoyPJ's user avatar
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7 votes
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Dass-Sätze: Verb im Präsens oder in der Vergangenheit?

Eigentlich schreit das nach dem Konjunktiv. Denn wir reden ja nicht über Fakten, sondern über Überzeugungen. Der Sprecher zitiert in dem Satz seine Gedanken, es ist also indirekte Rede. Ich war ...
Janka's user avatar
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7 votes

Tense or Mood? - "Das muss schwer für dich gewesen sein"

The finite verb is muss, which is 3rd person singular present indicative. Like all modal verbs, it combines with a bare infinitive, sein, which in this example combines with a past participle gewesen ...
David Vogt's user avatar
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7 votes

The Passive Voice

While the sentence describes a future event, it is grammatically written in Präsens (present tense). This is called futurisches Präsens, see e. g. grammis. To quote the essence: [...] verdient ...
guidot's user avatar
  • 28.2k
7 votes

Usage of simple past in stories

First off, a suggestion: English tempora and German tempora are not the same and they are used quite differently (albeit there being similarities). I suggest you use German denominations for German ...
bakunin's user avatar
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6 votes
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Was ist der Unterschied zwischen diesen zwei Sätzen?

Der Unterschied liegt in der verwendeten Zeit: 1) ist Imperfekt, 2) ist Perfekt. In Ihrer Bedeutung sind beide Sätze identisch.
Pollitzer's user avatar
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6 votes
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How to use “seit” and “vor” with “verschwinden”

The sentence Die Katze ist verschwunden has two different interpretations: On the one hand, ist can be the auxiliary used when forming the perfect tense. In that case, verschwunden is part of the ...
chirlu's user avatar
  • 19.7k
6 votes

Infinitiv Präsens oder Perfekt: »...ohne seinen Absender anzugeben/angegeben zu haben«

Beides wäre richtig. Sofern das Angeben des Absenders als Teil der Handlung Abschicken angesehen werden kann, ist der Gebrauch des Präsens auch nicht unüblich. Er schickte die Bestellung ab, ...
Chieron's user avatar
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6 votes
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Would ‘nie getan zu haben’ be more appropriate in this sentence from ‘Der Spiegel’ than ‘nie zu tun’?

I'm not sure whether this this differentiation would be considered as "linguistic precision" or as "nitpicking", but one could say that both statements have slightly different ...
Marco13's user avatar
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6 votes

The use of Konjunktiv I to express future events

Using the present tense for geben is a typical futuristic present. The fact that the entire indirected speech is in the subjunctive mood is entirely independent of this. So, if Obama’s statement were ...
Wrzlprmft's user avatar
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6 votes
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Why is “wird” used in “ob unser Baby ein Junge oder ein Mädchen wird”?

All three are correct. There is little to no difference in meaning, unless we start nit-picking: ... ein Mädchen ist is simply present tense ("... is a girl"). This is the most logical thing to ...
dlatikay's user avatar
  • 692

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