2. Subjunctive II Meaning

In the previous unit we dealt with the subjunctive as used in indirect discourse and a few other special cases. That was Subjunctive I. Subjunctive II is the form of subjunctive used in wishes and conditional sentences to signal whether a situation is hypothetical or not. Its most common usage is in “if . . . then” statements. For example, when the German words wenn (if) and so or dann (then) precede the clauses in the sentence, you can often expect the verbs to appear in their subjunctive II forms. This mood is usually expressed in English with the verb “would” or with the simple past form of the verb: “I would buy one, if I had the money.”

If the concept of the subjunctive mood is unfamiliar to you, an informal, but accurate, online introduction to the subjunctive mood as used in both English and German can be found at: http://german.about.com/od/grammar/a/konjunktivII.htm (link opens in new window).

Last revised on October 3, 2014.