Habe...sagen wollen, wollte sagen

Hi There,

I hope someone can help me with this new topic that I don’t understand:

If “wollte sagen” translates into English as ‘wanted to say’,
then I’m OK with that. That makes sense and perhaps seems a bit English to me.

However, if ‘*habe…sagen wollen, *’ translates into English as:
had wanted to say’ then that is harder to understand but I will try and accept it (I’m getting used to doing that with German concepts :smiley:)

However, I really struggle with the translations for the next couple:
Ich habe lange warten müssen’ translates into English as:
I had had to wait a long time’ ??

‘Ich muss lange warten’ translate as ‘I must have waited a long time’?

Finally, ‘Du kannst das letzte Stück Kuchen haben’
Would that be either ‘You can have the last piece of cake’, or ’ You could have had the last piece of cake’?

Clearly I’m a bit confused.

Many thanks in advance for your help.



Hey Chris,

I will try to shed some light on the matter.

“habe sagen wollen” can be translated as “had wanted to say”. Doesn’t really exist in English but in German it is possible.

“Ich habe lange warten müssen” translates as “I had to wait a long time” Not as “had had to”.
“Ich muss lange warten” translates as “I must wait for a long time.” The sentence is not in past tense but in present tense.

“Du kannst das letzte Stück Kuchen haben” means “You can have the last piece of cake”. “Können” would be translated as “could”. Moreover, the sentence is in present thus no use for “have had”.

Hope it helped.


Thanks Noel, that really helped a lot.