The subjunctive mood in German is used rather more often than in English. Most often, it’s used to express what someone would do.

In this guide we’ll look at the simplest form, which happens to be constructed just like the English use of would – just add the infinitive.

All you need to memorize is the subjunctive conjugation of one single verb: werden. Here it is:

ich würdeI would
du würdestyou would
er/sie/es würdehe/she/it would
wir würdenwe would
ihr würdetyou (pl.) would
Sie/sie würdenthey/you (formal) would

Easier in English, admittedly, but once you get these down, simply add the infinitive.

Das würde ich nicht tun.
I wouldn’t do that.

Would very often goes together with if. And for that, you’re going to need a new tense of every verb. Still, it’s not so bad to make.

In most cases, you can simply take a verb’s preterite form and add an umlaut. Take haben and können for example, probably the most common regular subjunctive verbs.

haben - hatte - hätte
können - konnte - könnte

Wenn ich mehr Zeit hätte, würde ich auch gehen.
If I had more time, I would go too.

Wenn er ein Flugzeug hätte, würde er fliegen.
If he had an airplane, he would fly.

The most common irregular verb is werden:

Wenn ich ein Chef wäre, würde ich mehr Macht haben
If I were a boss, I would have more power.