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Möchten vs. Mögen: Explaining The Difference In German

Beginners in German sometimes mix up the two words möchten und mögen. If you are also confused about the difference between them, keep reading below.



In German, the two verbs "möchten" and "mögen" are both related to expressing preferences, but they are used in different ways.


Mögen (to like) is a modal verb and is actually the base form of möchten. It is used to express preferences, both likes and dislikes. However, it should only be used with nouns. Let's look at some examples.


Ich mag Wein.

(I like wine)


Er mag Kaffee.

(He likes coffee)


Möchten (would like) is the conditional form of mögen. It is used to express a polite request or to communicate a desire for something. Unlike mögen, möchten normally requires a main verb in the infinitive form to convey what someone would like to do.


Ich möchte ein Glas Wein trinken.

(I would like to drink a glass of wine)


Er möchte eine Tasse Kaffee trinken.

(He would like to drink a cup of coffee)


So, in summary, "möchten" is specifically used for making polite requests or expressing desires, while "mögen" is used to express general likes or preferences. The choice between them depends on the context and what you would like to convey.


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