The use of ' denn' v 'weil'
What are the rules in German for correctly using denn or weil, they both mean because?
Basically they're the same but:
1. Denn can only be used when the subordinate clause comes after the independent one
2. Unlike weil, denn doesn't change the word order
Ich gehe nicht zum Fußball, denn ich habe keine Zeit
Ich gehe nicht zum Fußball, weil ich keine Zeit habe OR Weil ich keine Zeit habe, gehe ich nicht zum Fußball
Just to throw a spanner in the works. One additional function denn serves that weil doesn't is as a modal particle. An example would be in the sentence:
„Wie geht's dir denn heute?“
Here, denn most certainly does not mean because, though, what it does mean, I can't readily tell you - modal particles are almost by definition hard to translate; because a modal particle's meaning is different to its definition in normal contexts. Modal particles typically soften requests or commands, or (unfortunately) pretty much the opposite; and show incredulity, shock, disbelief and/or anger. Basically, they don't change the meaning of the sentence they're in, but rather change the feeling or emphasis.
weil is always used to the describe a reason "weil ich lerne" - because i learn
denn can be used the same as weil "denn ich lerne" - because i learn
(it's more natural to use "weil" though)
but denn can also be used to enhance a question you ask. it does not translate but adds some emotion "was hast du denn"? - what's the matter? "bist du denn sauer?" - are you mad?
denn is also slightly more formal than weil. in poems for example you should see denn alot more. in everyday language weil is used faaar more