Contemporary use of preterite

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SOL-a
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Contemporary use of preterite

Postby SOL-a » 2017-02-05, 19:25

Hi,

As far as I know the use of preterite in modern spoken German is quite limited. I wonder if german native speakers have problems when they need to write something in präteritum. Can you for example forget a form of a verb in preterite, especially young people? I thought if one never uses these words it can be difficult. Or am I wrong?

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Car
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Re: Contemporary use of preterite

Postby Car » 2017-02-05, 21:23

Sure, you see a lot of journalists using weak forms of verbs that actually are strong ones. Although it's not exactly true that you never use them. Apart from their use in writing, they are used in the spoken language to some extent, although how much depends on where you live.
Please correct my mistakes!

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Babbsagg
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Re: Contemporary use of preterite

Postby Babbsagg » 2017-02-26, 13:24

I don't think they don't know how to use the preterite, since in written speech it's pretty common, but in common speech it's rarely used--although that depends on region, as SOL-a said.

While the German language has many more tenses, common usage is reduced to three in my experience:

Simple present for present and future events
Present perfect for past events
Past perfect for pre-past events

Again, some regions do use the preterite, but I think that's a minority.

"Haben" and "Sein" are often used in the preterite form, but I think in most of Germany, no other word is. I can only make sound statements about my own region, but using the preterite for any other word here would give the impression that you are from the 18th century.

I don't think people have forgotten how the preterite is formed, but they may struggle with how to correctly use it in written speech.
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Luís
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Re: Contemporary use of preterite

Postby Luís » 2017-02-26, 22:58

Babbsagg wrote:"Haben" and "Sein" are often used in the preterite form, but I think in most of Germany, no other word is.


What about modal verbs (können, müssen, wollen, etc.)? I had the impression those forms were sometimes used as well.
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Babbsagg
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Re: Contemporary use of preterite

Postby Babbsagg » 2017-02-26, 23:08

You're right actually, I forgot. Basically all modal/auxiliary verbs.
Thank you for correcting mistakes!


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