If I have the time, it's right

The subtle difference between "haben" and "haben"

How do you correctly express yourself when you want to inform someone that your boss has no time this week - “The boss says he won't have time for you until next week” or “The boss says he won't have time until next week” for her"?

It is clear that the subjunctive (the possible form) must be used in indirect speech. But which one? Subjunctive I ("have") or Subjunctive II ("had")?

The rule is: In indirect speech, the subjunctive I is usually used. Only if the form of the subjunctive I is the same as the indicative (the reality form), then switch to subjunctive II.

That sounds complicated, but it's actually not difficult. You can now read in the current edition of what the indicative, subjunctive I and subjunctive II look like in the verbs “haben” and “Lassen” Office correspondence up to date. Click here ... and get your FREE edition to get to know now.

For a better understanding: The subjunctive I is usually derived from the present tense (“I have”, “I let”). The subjunctive two always from the simple past (“I had”, “I left”).

You see: The first person singular (I) and plural (we) as well as the third person plural (they) are indicative and subjunctive I the same. Only in these people does the indirect speech say “would have” or “leave” instead of “have” or “let”.

So it has to be correct:

  • The boss says he won't have time for you until next week (subjunctive I).
  • Both department heads told me that they definitely wouldn't have time for a meeting until next week (subjunctive II, because subjunctive I is the same as the indicative).

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