# 15.7: Subjunctive II Forms of Modal Verbs

$$\newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} }$$ $$\newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}}$$$$\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}$$ $$\newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}$$ $$\newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}$$ $$\newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}$$ $$\newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}$$ $$\newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}$$ $$\newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}$$ $$\newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}$$ $$\newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}$$ $$\newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}$$ $$\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}$$ $$\newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}$$ $$\newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}$$ $$\newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}$$ $$\newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}$$ $$\newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}$$ $$\newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}$$ $$\newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}$$ $$\newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}$$ $$\newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}$$$$\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}$$

In Unit 10 we dealt with the modal verbs, dürfen, können, müssen, mögen, sollen and wollen and we learned that the lack of an umlaut on conjugated forms of the first four was an indicator of simple past tense. When an umlaut does occur, that indicates the subjunctive II mood:

 dürfte would be allowed to / might könnte would be able to / could müßte would have to möchte would like to

Sollte and wollte do not differ visually from their indicative simple past forms. They mean “should” or “would be supposed to,” and “would want to,” respectively.

Examples:

Dürften die Gefangenen jetzt nach Hause gehen, was würden sie zuerst essen?
If the prisoners were allowed to go home now, what would they eat first?

Wenn ich es wollte, dann würde ich es auch machen.
If I wanted to, I would just do it.

This page titled 15.7: Subjunctive II Forms of Modal Verbs is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Howard Martin revised by Alan Ng.