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  5. "We worked, while they slept."

"We worked, while they slept."

Translation:Wir arbeiteten, während sie schliefen.

April 16, 2018



I am a bit confused about the intended meaning here. I was asked to translate the English sentence "We worked, while they slept" with a comma after worked. The comma suggests "however, but, while on the other hand" which indicates wohingegen, indes, jedoch. "We worked while they slept" (no comma) suggests during, at the same time as; which indicates während. Am I understanding this right?


The comma in the English sentence is simply wrong. A German speaker carrying over a German construction.


I don't think a comma implies any of that, but that is beside the point. I'm pretty sure the comma is wrong in both English and German.


Is the verb always placed on the last part of sentence when using "während"?


The word während can be either a preposition or a conjunction. When it works as a conjunction, as it does here, it is a subordinating conjunction (it causes the main verb to go to the end).

Example as a preposition:
Wir schliefen während des Fluges = "We slept during the flight"

Example as a conjunction:
Wir schliefen, während sie arbeiteten = "We slept while they worked"

Some things to note:

  • To be used as a preposition, it needs to act on a noun ("during [something]"). It is actually a genitive preposition.
  • To be used as a conjunction, it needs to act on a verb phrase ("while [something happens]").


"We worked while they were sleeping."


I feel like I will never understand subordinating vs. coordinating conjunctions and when the verb goes at the end. Can someone please explain it as simply as possible?


How would this sentence look like in perfect tense?


Wir haben gearbeitet, während sie geschlafen haben.


Why not Wir arbeiteten, indem sie schliefen?


Shouldn't both verbs be in the past?

Wir arbeiteten, während sie haben geschliefen.


Schliefen is in the past


I wrote 'We worked, whilst they slept' and this was marked incorrectly, but while/whilst are interchangeable in this context.


Du kannst "Während sie schliefen, arbeiteten wir" schreiben?

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