"When I do not cook, I do not eat."
Translation:Wenn ich nicht koche, esse ich nicht.
It still is! I'll show you how it's built up:
ich esse nicht - totally normal, verb second
ich esse am Sonntag nicht - adding in 'time information', verb still second
am Sonntag esse ich nicht - same as the previous sentence, but with the subject and time information swapped around for emphasis. The verb is still second, still conjugated to the subject
But what about when the 'time information' isn't a specific time, but a condition? Like "when I don't cook". Well, first notice that in English "when I don't cook..." is an incomplete sentence - this is called a subclause, or Nebensatz in German. Within Nebensätze, the verb actually comes at the end: wenn ich nicht koche.... This is in contrast to the usual verb order for this piece of information, which would otherwise be ich koche nicht. It's the word wenn that triggers the Nebensatz, if you were wondering. So now let's add that 'time information' into our previous sentence instead of am Sonntag:
wenn ich nicht koche esse ich nicht - looking good! But it's a bit confusing with all those verbs mixed around. That's why German requires commas on either side of a Nebensatz as appropriate:
wenn ich nicht koche, esse ich nicht
Because wenn is a subordinating conjunction, starting a subordinate clause, so the verb koche has to be at the end of the clause wenn ich nicht koche.
German is not a code for English -- words don't always have a single translation that covers exactly the same range of meanings as the English word.
"when" can be wenn, wann, als depending on the usage.
- wann when it's a question
- wenn when referring to the future, the (general) present, or repeated events in the past
- als when referring to a single event in the past
Here, it's a general present sense, so "when" gets translated by wenn.
Great explanation. I was familiar with all of the words but mixed up usage frequently. This clear depiction will help me keep them straight.
It depens on what you mean with “a sentence like this”.
als is used for individual events in the past (or for a time period in the past viewed as a single time).
So Als ich nicht gekocht habe, habe ich nicht gegessen. works for “When I did not cook, I did not eat.” when referring to one time or one time period.
But not for “whenever”, whether referring to the past or to the future or to hypothetical situations l