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Es wäre besser gewesen...

Discussion in 'Deutsch (German)' started by Gary123, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. Gary123 Junior Member

    English
    Hi,

    I have a quick question grammar question.

    If I'm translating a sentence such as "it would have been better if I was younger" (ie. the film was good but it would have been better if I was younger), what tense would the "if I was younger" be?

    I think I'm fine with the first part:
    Es wäre besser gewesen...

    BUT......wenn ich junger war would be the exact translation from English but as war is in the imperfect, should it be wäre? Or is war ok?

    As always, thanks in advance for your help!
     
  2. Arukami Senior Member

    In German, the conjunctive is always present in both parts of the sentence! I'd also write both parts in past tense...

    "Es wäre besser gewesen, wenn ich jünger gewesen wäre."

    I think "Es wäre besser gewesen, wenn ich jünger wäre." is also okay because you're probably not any younger by now, but well.
     
  3. dubitans Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria
    German - Austria
    wenn ich jünger wäre
    Konjunktiv Präteritum,
    expressing Irrealis der Gegenwart

    Note: Konjunktiv II aka K2 serves to form Konjunktiv Präteritum, expressing Irrealis der Gegenwart, as above, and Konjunktiv Plusquamperfekt, expressing Irrealis der Vergangenheit: ... wenn ich jünger gewesen wäre
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  4. Gary123 Junior Member

    English
    Thanks for your answers.

    So what is the difference between:
    Es wäre besser gewesen wenn ich jünger wäre (Konjunktiv Präteritum)
    and
    Es wäre besser gewesen wenn ich jünger gewesen wäre (Konjunktiv Plusquamperfekt)
    ?
    Is the second sentence a better translation as I am no longer younger (ie. at the age at which the film would have been more enjoyable)?

    Danke!
     
  5. Edinburgher Senior Member

    Scotland
    German/English bilingual
    Definitely.
    Your difficulty with the translation stems from the fact that you are trying to translate something which is itself in sloppy English.
    Had it been what it ought to have been, namely if I had been younger, it would have been more obvious how to translate it.
     
  6. dubitans Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria
    German - Austria
    is what you wrote you wanted to translate. Thereof, the translation is

    Es wäre besser gewesen, wenn ich jünger wäre.

    If you'd rather translate

    It would have been better if I had been younger,

    the translation is

    Es wäre besser gewesen, wenn ich jünger gewesen wäre.

     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  7. dubitans Senior Member

    Vienna, Austria
    German - Austria
    No, it's the way I wrote it, i.e. the former is Konjunktiv Präteritum, expressing Irrealis der Gegenwart, while the latter is Konjunktiv Plusquamperfekt, expressing Irrealis der Vergangenheit.



    Konjunktiv Präsens
    would be jünger sei, e.g. Er sagte, dass er jünger sei.
    Konjunktiv Perfekt would be jünger gewesen sei, e.g. Er sagte, dass er jünger gewesen sei.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2013
  8. Gary123 Junior Member

    English
    Thanks for the help here, really appreciated.
     

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