German Conjunctions: 7 Types of Conjunctions in German Grammar + Examples

German conjunctions are meaningful elements of the language that allow you to make complex sentences. Without these connectors, communication would be limited to simple statements.

YourGermanTeacher made a great introductory video about basic German conjunctions. It’s a great start!

In this blog post, you’ll learn about the 7 types of conjunctions in German: what are they, how and when you should use them, and we’ll also give you example sentences.

What are German conjunctions and connecting words?

Effortless Answers

German conjunctions are words that connect words, phrases, or clauses together in a sentence. They help us express more complex thoughts and ideas.

The 7 types of conjunctions in German are:

  1. Coordinating Conjunctions
  2. Subordinating Conjunctions
  3. Correlative Conjunctions
  4. Contrasting Conjunctions
  5. Concessive Conjunction
  6. Causal Conjunction
  7. Conditional Conjunctions

1. Coordinating conjunctions in German

Coordinating conjunctions in German are used to join two independent clauses or sentences of equal importance. They connect words, phrases, or clauses in a compound sentence.

GermanEnglish
undand
oderor
aberbut
dennfor/because

Examples with real-life sentences:

  1. Ich esse einen Apfel und eine Banane. [I eat an apple and a banana.]
    • Connects two noun phrases.
  2. Möchtest du Tee oder Kaffee? [Would you like tea or coffee?]
    • Presents a choice between two options.
  3. Ich war müde, aber ich habe die Arbeit fertiggestellt. [I was tired, but I finished the work.]
    • Connects two contrasting independent clauses.
  4. Denn es ist schon spät, sollten wir jetzt gehen. [For/Because it’s already late, we should leave now.]
    • Introduces a reason or explanation for the second clause.
german conjunctions and symbol

2. Subordinating conjunctions in German

Subordinating conjunctions introduce a dependent clause, which cannot stand alone as a complete sentence. They link the dependent clause to the main clause, thus creating a complex sentence.

GermanEnglish
dassthat
weilbecause
obwhether/if
wennif/when

Let’s check some examples:

  1. Ich weiß, dass du fleißig bist. [I know that you are diligent.]
    • Introduces a noun clause as the object of the main clause.
  2. Ich gehe nach Hause, weil es regnet. [I go home because it is raining.]
    • Introduces a reason or cause for the action in the main clause.
  3. Ich bin nicht sicher, ob ich heute Abend kommen kann. [I’m not sure whether I can come tonight.]
    • Introduces a dependent clause expressing doubt or uncertainty.
  4. Wenn das Wetter schön ist, gehen wir schwimmen. [If the weather is nice, we’ll go swimming.]
    • Introduces a condition or hypothesis for the main clause.

3. Learn German correlative conjunctions

Correlative conjunctions are pairs of conjunctions used to join two equal parts of a sentence. They express an alternative or addition.

GermanEnglish
entweder…odereither…or
nicht nur…sondern auchnot only…but also

A few example sentences::

  1. Entweder gehen wir ins Kino oder wir bleiben zu Hause. [Either we go to the cinema or we stay at home.]
    • Presents two mutually exclusive alternatives.
  2. Nicht nur meine Schwester, sondern auch mein Bruder spielt Gitarre. [Not only my sister but also my brother plays the guitar.]
    • Adds an additional element to the first part of the sentence.
  3. Entweder du räumst dein Zimmer auf oder du bekommst keine Erlaubnis auszugehen. [Either you clean your room or you won’t get permission to go out.]
    • Offers a choice between two options, with consequences for each.
  4. Diese Reise war nicht nur erholsam, sondern auch lehrreich. [This trip was not only relaxing but also educational.]
    • Emphasizes an additional aspect or quality beyond the initial statement.

4. Contrasting German conjunctions

Contrasting conjunctions in German are used to express a contrast, exception, or opposition between two parts of a sentence.

GermanEnglish
aberbut
sondernbut rather
dennochnevertheless
jedochhowever

You can use it like this:

  1. Er ist reich, aber unglücklich. [He is rich, but unhappy.]
    • Introduces a contrasting statement or situation.
  2. Ich wollte nicht ins Kino gehen, sondern lieber zu Hause bleiben. [I didn’t want to go to the cinema, but rather stay at home.]
    • Expresses a stronger contrast or correction of the previous statement.
  3. Das Wetter war schlecht, dennoch haben wir unseren Ausflug gemacht. [The weather was bad, nevertheless we went on our trip.]
    • Indicates that something happened despite an opposing circumstance.
  4. Die Prüfung war schwierig, jedoch hat sie gute Noten bekommen. [The exam was difficult, however she got good grades.]
    • Introduces a contrasting or unexpected situation.

5. Improve your German concessive conjunctions

Concessive conjunctions add a dependent clause that acknowledges something contrary to the main clause.

GermanEnglish
obwohlalthough
trotzdemnevertheless
selbst wenneven if

Examples from real-life situations:

  1. Obwohl es regnete, gingen wir spazieren. [Although it was raining, we went for a walk.]
    • Acknowledges an opposing circumstance or situation.
  2. Er hat die Prüfung nicht bestanden, trotzdem hat er weiter studiert. [He didn’t pass the exam, nevertheless he continued studying.]
    • Indicates that something happened despite an opposing circumstance.
  3. Selbst wenn du müde bist, musst du deine Hausaufgaben machen. [Even if you are tired, you have to do your homework.]
    • Expresses that something should happen regardless of a hypothetical situation.
  4. Obwohl sie krank war, kam sie zur Arbeit. [Although she was sick, she came to work.]
    • Concedes an opposing circumstance before stating the main clause.

6. Causal conjunctions in the German language

Causal conjunctions are used to express a cause, reason, or explanation for the main clause. Simple, right?

GermanEnglish
dennfor/because
dasince/as
deswegenthat’s why

For example:

  1. Ich bin müde, denn ich habe schlecht geschlafen. [I am tired because I slept badly.]
    • Provides the reason for being tired.
  2. Da es schon spät war, gingen wir nach Hause. [Since it was already late, we went home.]
    • Explains the cause for the action in the main clause.
  3. Es hat die ganze Nacht geregnet, deswegen ist der Boden nass. [It rained all night, that’s why the ground is wet.]
    • Gives the reason or explanation for the situation described in the main clause.
  4. Ich konnte nicht kommen, denn mein Auto hatte eine Panne. [I couldn’t come, for my car broke down.]
    • Introduces the cause or justification for the action in the main clause.

7. A guide to German conditional conjunctions

Conditional conjunctions introduce a dependent clause that expresses a condition or hypothesis for the main clause to be true.

german conjunctions illustrated with 2 way road
GermanEnglish
wennif
fallsin case
sofernprovided that

Examples with a few German sentences:

  1. Wenn es schön ist, gehen wir schwimmen. [If it’s nice, we’ll go swimming.]
    • States a condition for the action in the main clause to happen.
  2. Falls es regnet, nehmen wir einen Regenschirm mit. [In case it rains, we’ll take an umbrella.]
    • Expresses a hypothetical situation and a precautionary action.
  3. Sofern du deine Hausaufgaben machst, darfst du fernsehen. [Provided that you do your homework, you may watch TV.]
    • Sets a condition that must be met for the main clause to be valid.
  4. Wenn du früh aufstehst, kommst du pünktlich zur Schule. [If you get up early, you’ll arrive at school on time.]
    • Presents a condition and its consequence in the main clause.

Time to practice! – German conjunction exercises

It’s time to use conjunctions in German. Here’s a snippet from our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

Do you want to practice more? Click the button and see what we have in our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

Learn more about German conversational connectors with Conversation Based Chunking

You need German conjunctions to make complex German sentences. If you want to express even the tiniest of details, you should check this blog post and use the Conversation Based Chunking method to practice it.

What is it?

The Conversation Based Chunking method breaks down topics into smaller, interactive chunks with examples. These are the natural building blocks of the language that can effectively help you learn all of these conjunctions in German.

Click the button below and get your first package fo German Conversation Based Chunking Guide!

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