Mögen vs. Möchten

There was a bakery down the corner from where I stayed in Munich. German bread, which comes in different shapes, sizes and flavors, is very tasty. Standing in line every weekend waiting to order ‘Kaisersemmel’ or ‘Mischbrot’, I came across one phrase that people in line in front of me were constantly using. Later, when I started to learn German grammar, I realized how important this phrase is: “Ich möchte gern…

Since I introduced Modal Verbs in week 6, I thought this week, it might be appropriate to delve into the difference between mögen and möchten.

Mögen is used to express something “absolute” that you like. For eg. Ich mag Tennis. I like tennis.

Möchte is a derivate of the modal verb, mögen and is used to ask for something politely.

Literally, möchte is translated to “would like”. It could be used in the context of (1) would like to do something or (2) would like something.


Ich mag Schnitzel. I like Schnitzel

Ich möchte Schnitzel essen. I would like to eat Schnitzel.

The word ‘gern‘ is used with möchte to indicate politeness, without changing the meaning, and as was the case in the bakery, this combo is normally used when buying something.

Ich möchte gern zwei Stück Kaisersemmel. I would like two pieces of Kaiser semmel.

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