The German Subjunctive 1

Der Deutsche Konjunktiv 1

The German Subjunctive 1 – Summary


The subjunctive 1 often occurs in newspaper reports or in news on TV. Every time, when things are said in indirect speech. But you can also find it in some sayings.

The Subjunctive 1

Some sayings…

  • “Lang lebe Philip!”

Indirect speech (in everyday language people prefer the indicative…)

  • “Philip sagt, er habe sich noch nie so voll gefühlt.”

Building the Subjunctive 1

Only forms of the verb “sein” in the subjunctive 1 are used in their complete conjugation.
“ich sei, du sei(e)st, er sei, wir seien, ihr seiet, sie seien”

  • “Philip sagte, er sei in der Bibliothek.”

All other verbs, apart from “sein”, only use the forms of subjunctive 1 of the 3rd person singular (“er/sie/es/man”). For that, you just have to erase the “n” from the infinitive form.

  • “haben – er habe”
  • “schreiben – er schreibe”
  • “müssen – ich müsse, er müsse”

In the second person of singular and plural (“du”/”ihr”), the indicative and subjunctive 1 form just differs by the “e” of the subjunctive 1. That’s why people prefer the subjunctive 2 forms in this case – its easier to distinguish from the indicative.

  • “du träumst – du träumest”
  • “ihr geht – ihr gehet”

The 1st person singular (“ich”) and the 1st and 3rd person plural (“wir”, “sie”) in subjunctive 1 don’t differ from the indicative forms. That’s why you have to use the forms of subjunctive 2 in this case.

  • „Sie gehen essen“ – Er sagt, sie gingen essen.”
German Subjunctive 1

Can you imagine of anything wore than the German subjunctive 2? Exactly, the German subjunctive 1! Although you might like to start crying right now, hold on. will help you to learn everything you have to know about this type of German mood.

So, in the following, we will have a detailed look on the correct usage of the German subjunctive and, of course, explain what we are actually talking about. After that, we will dedicate our attention to the conjugation of the German subjunctive 1. Finally, I’d like to present you a table in which you can see the correct use of the German subjunctive 1 in the different German tenses.

The Definition and Usage of German Subjunctive 1

Die Definition und die Anwendung des Konjunktiv 1 im Deutschen

Well, let’s start with the easy part. So, let’s try to define what the German subjunctive 1 actually is! Please, keep in mind the following description if this grammatical term.

The German subjunctive 1, also called special subjunctive or present subjunctive, is a grammatical mood which expresses a way of speaking that allows people to express their attitude toward what they are saying.

So, in this case you can find the German subjunctive 1 especially in newspaper articles and reports. Here, when statements are repeated as indirect speech. Additionally, you can find this type of subjunctive in special idiomatic expressions.

The Correct Usage of the German Subjunctive 1

As already mentioned, there are some situations in which the German subjunctive 1 is normally used. Well, have a look at the following list:

  1. First, the German subjunctive 1 is in the indirect speech.
    “Er meint, er habe noch nie so viel Hunger gehabt!”
  2. Second, you can find this subjunctive in some idiomatic expressions.
    “Hoch lebe das Geburtstagskind!”

Congratulations! Well, you have passed the first and rather easy part of this article about German subjunctive 1. Now, let’s go on to the conjugation of verbs in this mood.

The Conjugation of the German Subjunctive 1

Die Konjugation des Konjungtiv 1 im Deutschen

So, before we come to the conjugation of the German subjunctive 1, we have to consider some important points about this topic. Of course, these points are not of essential importance. Nevertheless, they can help you  make your use of this German mood even better.

Some Points about the German Subjunctive 1:

  • First, you should consider that only the verb “sein” is still common in all its German subjucntive 1 forms.
    “ich sei, du seiest, er sei, wir seien, ihr seiet, sie seien” – “Seiet glücklich bis ans Ende eurer Tage.”
  • Second, the German subjunctive 1 forms in the 3rd person singular are normally used with all other verbs. So, we only have to remove the “n” from the infinitive forms.
    “sagen” – “er sage” – “sehen” – “er sehe”
  • Third, you should keep in mind that in the 2nd person (singular -“du” and plural – “ihr”) the only difference between the subjunctive 1 and the indicative is that there is an “e” before the ending on the German subjunctive 1 form.
    “du stehst- du stehest” – “ihr schlagt- ihr schlaget”
  • Fourth and last, it is important to know that there is no difference between the German subjunctive 1 and the indicative forms in the 1st person singular and 1st and 3rd person plural. So, we have to use the form of the subjunctive 2 instead.
    “Sie fliegen nach Mallorca.” – “Er glaubt, sie flogen nach Mallorca.”

So, now we have cleared up these points about the German subjunctive 1. Well, I think we are ready to come to the conjugation of verbs in this mood.

The Conjugation of Verbs in the German Subjunctive 1 in different Tenses

Well, you can use the German subjunctive 1 in the following German tenses: The present, the present perfect and in the two future tenses.

Konjunktiv 1

Well, let’s illustrate these forms in the German subjunctive 1 mood with some examples. So, first, let’s have a look at some examples for the present tense.

Present Tense:

  • “Philip wünschte, dir helfen zu können.” – Philip wished to help you.
  • “Der Hund sei kein Welpe mehr.” – The dog is no longer a puppy.
  • “Gerne schlafe er im Keller.” – He would love sleeping in the basement.

Past Tense:

  • “Der Hund sei gestorben, weil sie ihn im Auto vergessen hat.” -The dog died because she forgot it in the car.
  • “Er sei krank geworden, weil die Klimaanlage zu kalt gewesen sei.” – He got a cold because the air condition was too cold.

Future 1:

  • “Sie werde dieses Jahr abnehmen.” – She will lose weight this year.
  • “Er wird ab jetzt keinen Alkohol mehr trinken.” – He won’t drink any alcohol from now on.

Future 2:

  • “Ich werde das Gemälde vor April vollendet haben.” – I will have finished the painting before April.
  • “Er wird das Projekt bis nächsten Donnerstag fertiggestellt haben.” – He will have finished the project until Thursday next week.



Finally, we have reached the last part of this article where you can prove the German skills you have just learned. In the following you will see some phrases that you should complete with the correct terms. Once you have filled all the gaps, just click on the “correct” button and  you can see your errors and the correct results. Good luck and… auf Wiedersehen!

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