The difference between “mögen” and “möchten”

The difference between “mögen” and “möchten”

While teaching German online, I often see that students have problems when it comes to understanding the real difference between “mögen” und “möchten”. After reading this article and solving its free worksheet, you will be prepared for your next conversation!

 

“Mögen” vs “möchten”

In German, there are two very similar words: “mögen” and “möchten”. And as much as they sound similar, their meaning is very different. Therefore, mixing these two German verbs up might cause tricky situations: The fact that the meaning of “mögen” is “to like” and the meaning of “möchten” is “would like to”. Besides, an accusative object follows both words, and both of them are irregular verbs:

 

Verb conjugation in the present tense

mögen (to  like) möchten (would like to)
ich mag ich möchte
du magst du möchtest
er/sie/es mag er/sie/es möchte
wir mögen wir möchten
ihr mögt ihr möchtet
sie / Sie mögen sie möchten

 

How to use “mögen” and “möchten” in past tense

Now, when we would like to use both verbs in the past tense, a little problem shows up! When “mögen” becomes “mochte” in Präteritum, so one asks oneself, what should happen with “möchten”? Well, that’s quite easy! This verb does not have a real past tense since, in German logic, it would share the same verb with “mögen”. Therefore, we can fall back to the past tense of “wollen” (to want) as “möchten” is its “light” version.

Mögen Möchten
Präteritum Perfekt Präteritum Perfekt
ich mochte habe gemocht wollte habe gewollt
du mochtest hast gemocht wolltest hast gewollt
er/sie/es mochte hat gemocht wollte hat gewollt
wir mochten haben gemocht wollten haben gewollt
ihr mochtet habt gemocht wolltet habt gewollt
sie / Sie mochten haben gemocht wollten haben gewollt

 

After reading this article, you can practice your knowledge with the free worksheet – The Difference between “mögen” und “möchten”. Finally, you will not be confused anymore while using these similar-sounding verbs.

Bis bald!

Steffie

 


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