Ich habe gehört, du hättest mit deiner Freundin Schluss gemacht.

Wouldn’t Schluß be the same as writing Schluss?

The word is spelled “Schluss.” My understanding is that the ss replacement for ß is only acceptable when there are no German characters available on a device/keyboard. The 1996 German spelling reform imposed restrictions upon the usage of ss and ß. Clozemaster enforces usage of diacritics and esszett.


With modern spelling and pronunciation, only “ss” is correct here because the “u” is short. Writing “uß” would make it a long “u”, as in the word “Fuß”. This distinction is important both in spelling and pronunciation because there are some words distinguished by only the vowel length.You can see this convention as arising because, in German, usually a double consonant makes the preceding short vowel, i.e. the “ä” in “hätte” is short, whereas the “ä” in “gerät” is long. This works with most consonants because a double and single consonant is pronounced the same. But this doesn’t work for “s” because in German, a single “s” is pronounced as an English “z” sound, i.e. the “s” in “Lösung” (note also that the “ö” here is also long). If you double the “s”, you get a different sound, like in the word “Löss” (a silty sediment formed by wind-blown dust) which is pronouced with a short “ö”. So the “ß” can be seen as a way of retaining the ability to notate the preceding vowel length, even with the sound (like English “s”) associated with “ss”.Once you figure it out, there are relatively few exceptions and it makes spelling and pronunciation a lot easier.


Woow! Was für eine Erklärung!! Vielen Dank :slight_smile:

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What tense is ‘hättest’? Shouldn’t it be in ‘hattest’ (Präterium) or maybe ‘habest’ (Konj I), since there’s no need for Konj II as it’s for “imagined” situations

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This is a really good question and I don’t have a good answer to why it is used. “hättest” is subjunctive (Konjunktiv II).

I will say that saying “habest” comes across as stodgy and formal. It’s common to read this tense in a news article that is quoting someone, but there it’s always the third person. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a German speak the form “habest” because it’s second-person form, and when people speak to each other they usually just use “hast”. When I try to imagine someone saying it though in a TV interview using pretty formal language, then the person would probably not be addressing the person as “du” and it would be “Sie haben” where you don’t even notice the difference in form between the simple present tense “haben” and the Konjunktiv I. This probably explains why I have never heard someone use this form.

Sometimes people will say “hättest” to communicate that the the thing is “contrary to fact”, so for example it is often translated “you would have (verb)” in some hypothetical situation. Sort of like “If only you had broken up…” So because of this I wonder if this sentence has a flavor or connotation of: “I heard that you broke up (but I figure this is not true?”) I’m not sure of this.

It would never be “hattest” here because this has a different meaning, i.e. it would translate: “You had broken up…” (i.e. if you were saying “You had broken up (before some other event in the simple past took place.)” But you might here people simply say “hast”.

I would really appreciate it though if a native speaker could chime in here. I’m curious if “hättest” is a sort of common casual substitution for the more stodgy / archaic “habest” but not quite as casual as “hast”, or if this is totally wrong.

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I searched for a grammar founded explanation but I didn’t manage to find one and my old school notes didn’t include this case either. Another confirmation of just how useless grammar rules are :stuck_out_tongue:

Konjunktiv I is not used that much anymore, its a bit like the Genetive/Dative struggles, spoken language influencing the use of written language. Since we like to drop endings and are altogether increasingly lazy when it comes to pronunciation (the frenchification of the german language, if I may say), using Konjunktiv II right from the start makes for greater clarity.
Another explanation: Konjunktiv I is almost exclusively used in written language where ‘du’ is rarely ever used. This could explain why the Konjunktiv I is still used in spoken formal language (er meinte er komme heute später) even though to me Konjunktiv II (er meinte er käme heute später) or even one of the alternative ‘pseude-conjunctives’ (er meinte er würde heute später kommen) feels more natural.
I don’t support the assumption that the Konjunktiv II here could imply doubt, even though there are certainly Germans who would since that would omit the option of us just not caring about our own grammar. Anyhow, there would be more elegant ways of doing that if you say such a thing as plainly as in this case you’re not doubting anything.

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