Forum Rocket German German Grammar 13.2 Use of wollen and mögen

13.2 Use of wollen and mögen

Byron-K21

Byron-K21

Hi Paul, The use of these verbs in the past tense in this lesson appears to be inconsistent. I realize the actual meaning is almost identical except that to say "I would like" instead of "I want" is a little softer and less demanding. In the first example, möchte is translated as want. I would have expected "would like". In the second example wollte is translated as "wanted", but in the 3rd example wollte is translated as "would like". So, I'm wondering if this was kind of an arbitrary translation decision because it makes sense either way, or if there is a subtle reason for the differences. As always, your input is most helpful. und ich möchte für immer mit dir zusammen sein. - and I want to be with you forever. Ich wollte dich fragen… Willst du mich heiraten? - I wanted to ask you... do you want to marry me? ich wollte dich etwas fragen…- I would like to ask you something.. regards, Byron
Paul-Weber

Paul-Weber

Hi Byron, "Wollen" and "möchten" can both mean "to want" depending on the context. In German you can often say "Ich will" and it would be in the same way appropriate as saying "I would like" in English. In "Ich wollte dich etwas fragen" the past tense of "wollen" indicates that the action started in the past but lasts in to the present. To keep the conversations realistic we didn't translate both languages word for word but according to what you would actually say in that situation. Did you have the chance to practice your German yet? Alles Gute Paul
Byron-K21

Byron-K21

Hi Paul, Thanks for the clarification. The more you learn, the less you really know, it seems. No clear cut rules on usage. I guess the same is pretty much true in the US. If a waiter asked you what you wanted and you said you wanted a cup of coffee, it would be alright. If you were in someone's home and the hostess asked if there was anything she could bring you, it would be nicer to say, "I would like a cup of coffee" with the implication only if it isn't too much trouble. It varies too depending on the region in the US. In Minnesota, people are very sensitive to being demanding or critical or even to praise something too highly. Someone even wrote a humorous book about it called "How to Speak Minnesotan". No, other than Rocket I haven't had a chance to practice speaking German recently. I was in Germany a few years ago and was able to muddle along in a few situations with what I had remembered from my college German, plus a course from one of your competitors. Most of the time though, people spoke really good English. I'm looking forward to going back again after I have completed and reviewed all 3 levels of Rocket German. There is a German club in my area that I plan to contact pretty soon. Thanks again and regards, Byron

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