21.1 Conjugation of modal verbs

We already have seen in past tenses the formation of tenses with modals is a bit different from the usual form. The perfect participle is not used for modals. As you can see in the following examples:
  formation of present, present perfect and past perfect
tense present present perfect past perfect
  correct Ich muss es machen. Ich habe es machen müssen. Ich hatte es machen müssen.
  incorrect - Ich habe es machen gemusst. Ich hatte es machen gemusst.
  English I must do it.
I have to do it.
I have to have done it. I had to have done it.
  tense present present perfect past perfect
  correct Ich soll es machen. Ich habe es machen sollen. Ich hatte es machen sollen.
  incorrect - Ich habe es machen gesollt. Ich hatte es machen gesollt.
  English I shall do it. I should have done it. ---
  tense present present perfect past perfect
  correct Ich will es machen. Ich habe es machen wollen. Ich hatte es machen wollen.
  incorrect - Ich habe es machen gewollt. Ich hatte es machen wollen.
  English I want to do it. I have wanted to do it. I had wanted to do it.

These examples show that normally we do not need the perfect participle of a modal verb. If the modal verb is used with a full verb, the infinitive is used instead of the perfect participle. The perfect participle is only used in the few cases when a modal verb is used without a full verb. If put to Google the sentence: Ich habe gesollt. appears 16 times, all of which are pages that explain German grammar. You see it's not really something used in the "real world".

  formation of the perfect if there is no main verb (in negative clauses)
Das habe ich nicht gewollt. = I have not wanted this.
  Ich habe ihn nicht gemocht. = I didn't like him.
  Er hat das nicht gedurft. = He has not been allowed to do it.

Since the perfect participles sound quite strange instead of the perfect the imperfect is used more often with modal verbs.

Das wollte ich nicht. = He didn't want this.
  Ich mochte ihn nicht. = I didn't like him.
  Er durfte das nicht. = He was not allowed to do it.

The compound tenses are overall used rarely with modal verbs. For didactical reasons we put them into the tables for your better overview.






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