Sollen & Müssen

    This week’s 3 Minuten Deutsch episode takes a quick look at the modals “sollen” (to be supposed to, should, ought to) and “müssen” (must, to have to). If you haven’t seen that, you can get a general introduction to the topic via the video below.

    If you want to see the example sentences I gave in the video without pausing it, you can find the images used below.

    Here are some more examples, because I think it is fun.

    Die Kinder sollen nicht neben dem Schwimmbad rennen.

    Beginner German with Herr Antrim

    Ich soll weniger arbeiten. – I should work less.

    Du sollst netter sein. – You should be nicer.

    Mein Freund soll nicht nach Hause fahren. – My friend shouldn’t drive home.

    Sophia soll den Hund nicht ärgern. – Sophia should not annoy the dog.

    Das Kind soll nicht neben dem Schwimmbad rennen. – The child shouldn’t run next to the pool.

    Mein Bruder und ich sollen heute Abend ins Kino gehen. – My brother and I should go to the movies this evening.

    Ihr sollt nicht schreien. – You shouldn’t scream.

    Die Ärzte sollen schnell arbeiten. – The doctors should work quickly.

    Musst du morgen arbeiten?

    Ich muss mich beeilen. – I have to hurry.

    Musst du morgen arbeiten? – Do you have to work tomorrow?

    Der Hund muss draußen pinkeln. – The dog has to pee outside.

    Die Tür muss braun sein. – The door has to be brown.

    Das Mädchen muss den Müll rausbringen. – The girl has to take out the trash.

    Meine Familie und ich müssen zusammen nach Berlin fliegen. – My family and I have to fly together to Berlin.

    Ihr müsst ein Eis von diesem Geschäft kaufen. – You have to buy an ice cream from this store.

    Die Angestellten müssen den ganzen Tag arbeiten. – The employees have to work the entire day.

    I wish there were more to say about this topic, but there really isn’t much to say. Conjugate the modal, put it in the place where you would normally put the conjugated verb, and move the other verb to the end of the sentence as an infinitve. If you need to use “supposed to”, “ought to”, or “should” in English, you probably need “sollen” in German. If you need to use “must” or “have to” in English, you probably need to use “müssen” in German. There is a bit of confusion around the idea that if you should so something or you are supposed to do something that it might be used in the conditional form, but if you are worrying about this, you probably shouldn’t be reading an introduction to “sollen” and “müssen” blog post.

    What’s next?

    Next week’s 3 Minuten Deutsch episode will explain how to form the future tense with and without the use of the verb “werden”. If you want more of this type of post, you can always subscribe to this blog on the sidebar and get weekly updates.

    Sollen and Müssen

    Herr Antrim

    Herr Antrim is a German teacher with over 10 years of teaching experience. In 2011 he started his successful YouTube Channel "Learn German with Herr Antrim". In 2015 he created this website to enhance the German language lessons he was providing on YouTube. He is now the author of his own e-book, "Beginner German with Herr Antrim". He has also been featured on numerous blogs and other sites.