Do Germans speak good German?

It's quite obvious that the German grammar is a very complicated system; especially (but not only) the conjunctive and conditional forms. Now the question is do Germans actually speak according to the rules of their own language? If you asked a German which one of the following sentences are correct you'll find it hard to get a correct answer. Most likely the answer would be that there is no difference.

  Er sagt: "Sie kaufen ihm ein Auto."

Er sagt, sie kaufen ihm ein Auto.
Er sagt, sie kauften ihm ein Auto.
Er sagt, sie würden ihm ein Auto kaufen.

If you asked this question among 100 Germans probably you'd get a 30 - 30 - 30 division.

A slightly different picture you'd get if asking about sentences containing modal verbs or the verb sein. These are quite commonly used correctly.

If you now ask, why on earth should I learn something that not even Germans quite use nor understand. Well, you are quite right, it's up to you to wade through the chaos or not. If you learn just for fun and to order a beer at the Oktoberfest, you probably can forget this chapter. If you are a student of German sciences you'll want to know. For study, life and teaching this could be really useful to know.

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