1. Education

German Modal Verbs
Part 2: müssen, sollen, wollen

This modal verb guide is also part of
Lektion 16 of German for Beginners.

In the following charts you'll find the most common conjugations of the six German modal verbs. The subjunctive mood and less commonly used tenses (future, future perfect, past perfect, etc.) are found on our Modal Verb Examples page, along with sample modal sentences. For an introduction to the modals and a self-scoring quiz, see our Verb Review 2 page. Also see the 20 Most-Used German Verbs, German Top 1000 (most frequently used words in reading) and our free German for Beginners course for more about German verbs and other topics.


Lesson 16 > Modals 1 > Modals 2 > Modal Examples

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Modalverben 2 - Modal Verbs 2
PRÄSENS
(Present)
PRÄTERITUM
(Preterite/Past)
PERFEKT
(Pres. Perfect)
MÜSSEN - have to, must
ich muss
I must, have to
ich musste
I had to
ich habe gemusst *
I had to
du musst
you must, have to
du musstest
you had to
du hast gemusst *
you had to
er/sie muss
he/she must
er/sie musste
he/she had to
er/sie hat gemusst *
he/she had to
wir/Sie/sie müssen
we/you/they have to
wir/Sie/sie mussten
we/you/they had to
wir/Sie/sie haben gemusst *
we/you/they had to
ihr müsst
you (pl.) must
ihr musstet
you (pl.) had to
ihr habt gemusst *
you (pl.) had to
* In the present perfect or past perfect tense with another verb, the double infinitive construction is used, as in the following examples:

ihr habt sprechen müssen = you (pl.) had to speak

ich hatte sprechen müssen = I had had to speak

Note: The old spelling with ß, as in ich muß or gemußt, is no longer used for forms of müssen.

Sample Modal Sentences

The 20 Most-Used German Verbs

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SOLLEN - should, ought to, supposed to
ich soll
I should
ich sollte
I should have
ich habe gesollt *
I should have
du sollst
you should
du solltest
you should have
du hast gesollt *
you should have
er/sie soll
he/she should
er/sie sollte
he/she should have
er/sie hat gesollt *
he/she should have
wir/Sie/sie sollen
we/you/they should
wir/Sie/sie sollten
we/you/they should have
wir/Sie/sie haben gesollt *
we/you/they should have
ihr sollt
you (pl.) should
ihr solltet
you (pl.) should have
ihr habt gesollt *
you (pl.) should have
* In the present perfect or past perfect tense with another verb, the double infinitive construction is used, as in the following examples:

wir haben gehen sollen = we should have gone

ich hatte fahren sollen = I had been supposed to drive

Sample Modal Sentences

The 20 Most-Used German Verbs

Copyright © 2003-2005 german.about.com

WOLLEN - want to
ich will
I want to
ich wollte
I wanted to
ich habe gewollt *
I wanted to
du willst
you want to
du wolltest
you wanted to
du hast gewollt *
you wanted to
er/sie will
he/she wants to
er/sie wollte
he/she wanted to
er/sie hat gewollt *
he/she wanted to
wir/Sie/sie wollen
we/you/they want to
wir/Sie/sie wollten
we/you/they wanted to
wir/Sie/sie haben gewollt *
we/you/they wanted to
ihr wollt
you (pl.) want to
ihr wolltet
you (pl.) wanted to
ihr habt gewollt *
you (pl.) wanted to
* In the present perfect or past perfect tense with another verb, the double infinitive construction is used, as in the following examples:

wir haben sprechen wollen = we wanted to speak

ich hatte gehen wollen = I had wanted to go

Sample Modal Sentences

The 20 Most-Used German Verbs

Copyright © 2003-2005 german.about.com

NEXT > Part 3 (Modal Examples)

BACK > Part 1

MORE > Index of German Verbs - Verb-Lexikon

Sample Modal Sentences
Modal verb examples in various tenses.

Lesson 16 - German for Beginners
More about German modal verbs.

German Verbs
Our contents page for everything related to German verbs.

The 20 Most-Used German Verbs
Ranked by frequency of use. With conjugations and examples.

German Top 1000
The most frequently used German words in reading, ranked by frequency.

German for Beginners
Our free online German course!

More German Grammar
A guide to all the grammar pages at this site, listed by category.


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