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Conditional Part 1 (Konjunktiv II) with würden and modals


I. Theory

The German Konjunktiv II and English Conditional tense serve the same function: to convey hypothetical situations or actions that may or may not have happened. English uses the modal verb would in conjunction with a second verb to show the conditional. In German, the modal verb würden is most commonly used to designate the conditional tense when used with a second verb.

Note: The use of würden is not the only way to form the conditional in German. Certain verbs have their own conditional conjugate (as we see with the modal verbs discussed below). These other verbs and their unique conditional forms are discussed in another lesson.

Ich würde mit dir gehen.
I would go with you.

Sie würde uns anrufen, aber sie hat kein Handy.
She would call us, but she has no cellphone.

Wenn er langsamer sprechen würde, würde ich ihn verstehen.
If he would speak slower, I would understand him.

II. Würden

Here, we see the formation of the modal verb, würden:

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