Der Doktor mag das so gesagt haben.

English Translation

The doctor may have said so.

Can someone explain the usage of mögen here?


I assume that this is a case where the common Germanic ancestry of English and German shines through, in that mag is a cognate with may. Happy to be corrected though.


Your explanation is on the spot.
In same instances - and this example is the most common one- forms of “mögen” are used in this way.
Compare also “maybe” / “möglicherweise”.
This sentence implies that the speaker has a different opinion to that of the doctor - just like the English one (?).

There is also the old-fashioned
“Sage ihm, er möge das bitte sofort tun”
“Tell him to (please) do that immediately”
It is a polite but rather strong command.


A common expression you’ll see here and there in German is “es mag sein” (it might be / it could be / it may be). It’s the same usage of mögen as in this clozemaster sentence.