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German Subordinating Conjunctions Posted by on May 30, 2018 in Grammar, Language

Guten Tag! Today I’m bringing you a simple post on German subordinating conjunctions. If even the name of this makes you yawn, don’t worry – I’m going to keep it simple! German subordinating conjunctions are basically ‘joining words’ such as because, although, and before. In this post I’ll explain what these kinds of joining words do, list some of the common German ones so you can learn them, and give example sentences for each, so you can use them.

What are subordinating conjunctions?

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German subordinating conjunctions are words that link two clauses together in a sentence. The first clause is the main one, and the second clause is the ‘subordinate’ clause. The subordinate clause is like a follow-up or a back-up for the main clause.

In English, an example might be: I am happy because I passed my exam. ‘I am happy’ is the main clause, and ‘I passed my exam’ is the subordinate clause. You can say you are happy, and you can say you passed your exam, but a subordinate conjunction links the two by making them connected: You are happy because you passed your exam. Here are some examples of German subordinating conjunctions:

German subordinating conjunctions

Bevor – before
Lass mich fertig schreiben, bevor ich es vergesse.
Let me finish writing, before I forget it.

Bis – until
Ich werde es tun, bis es mir nicht mehr gefällt.
I will do it until I don’t like it anymore.

Dass – that
Ich weiß, dass er morgen Geburtstag hat.
I know that it’s his birthday tomorrow.

Nachdem – after
Wir gehen, nachdem wir gegessen haben.
We will go after we have eaten.

Ob – whether/if
Ich weiß nicht, ob ich mit dir mitgehen will.
I don’t know whether/if I want to go with you.

Obwohl – although/even though
Er mag Katzen, obwohl er keine hat.
He likes cats, although/even though he doesn’t have any.

Solange – as long as
Du kannst bleiben, solange du willst.
You can stay as long as you want.

Weil – because
Ich bin grantig, weil ich keinen Kaffee habe.
I am grumpy because I don’t have any coffee.

Warum – why
Ich weiß nicht, warum sie böse ist.
I don’t know why she is angry.

Breaking down the subordinating conjunctions

When a subordinating conjunction is used, the verb goes to the end:

Ich weiß nicht, warum sie böse ist.
I don’t know why she is angry.

The subordinating conjunction can also sometimes be placed at the beginning of a sentence:

Warum sie böse ist, weiß ich nicht.
Why she is angry, I don’t know.

There is usually a comma before a subordinating conjunction:

Ich weiß nicht , warum sie böse ist.

Each sentence with a subordinating conjunction could be split into two, smaller sentences. It is the conjunction that joins them and makes them make sense:

Ich weiß nicht – I don’t know
Sie ist
böse – She is angry

Ich weiß nicht, warum sie böse ist – I don’t know why she is angry.

 

I hope this makes sense!

Let me know if there are any subjects you’d like me to cover, grammar-related or otherwise. And check out the grammar tag to see what’s in the archives already! 🙂

Bis bald!

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About the Author:Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze. I'm half English and half German. I write here because I'm passionate about my languages and my roots. I also work as a translator & group fitness instructor.


Comments:

  1. Barbara:

    I enjoy every post. Love your ideas. Vielen Dank Barbara

    • Constanze:

      @Barbara You’re welcome, Barbara! 🙂

  2. Irene:

    Sorry, just a little correction. You said a comma comes after the sunbordinate conjunction, however, it appears to be coming before the conjunction, not after. 🙂

    • Constanze:

      @Irene Thank you for pointing that out! I did mean to write ‘before’! I’ve updated the post. 🙂

  3. Constanze:

    Hi Matthew, I couldn’t say, I’m afraid – I’m British, not American! 🙂