The modal verbs dürfen (may) and sollen (should) in German

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The modal verbs dürfen (may) and sollen (should)


ich darf
du darfst
er/sie/es darf
wir dürfen
ihr dürft
sie/Sie dürfen


ich soll
du sollst
er/sie/es soll
wir sollen
ihr sollt
sie/Sie sollen

Dürfen (to be allowed, may) is used to give or refuse permission:

Hier darf geraucht werden.

You may smoke here.

Hier darf nicht getrunken werden.

You are not allowed to drink here.

Sollen (should, shall, to be supposed to) is used in the following situations:

  • recommendations and instructions;

Man soll seinen Freunden helfen.

One should help one's friends.

Du sollst mich nicht immer unterbrechen.

You shouldn't keep interrupting me.

  • suggestions;

Sollen wir ins Kino gehen?

Shall we go to the cinema?

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