1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. German conjunctions differenc…


German conjunctions differences

Hey, I just can't figure out when to use which word, can sombody explane it to me?

What is the difference between: Weil, denn, da, wenn ?

And what is the difference between: Aber, doch, sondern ?

Thank you very much!!

October 8, 2019



Hi Iris!

  1. Weil, denn, and da are synonymous and can be used interchangeably to say ‘because’ but keep in mind that weil, and da are followed by subordinate clauses while denn is followed by a main clause. That means that the word order is different in the clauses following these conjunctions.
    Wenn on the other hand means ‘when’ or ‘if’.

  2. Both aber, and doch mean ‘but’ and introduce a main clause. Doch belongs to a more formal register than aber which is the most frequently used word for ‘but’ in everyday conversations. Sondern means more something like ‘but instead’.


Thank you very much


You‘re welcome!


Da nicht für. :)


"Weil," "denn" and "da" are interchangeable in the meaning "because". "Da" has some other meanings too. So you actually could always use "da" instead of "weil", but not always "weil" instead of "da". "Wenn" however never has the meaning "because", it means "when" or "if"

Sodern means "but rather." "Aber" is just like English "but." It's used to restrict a fact we used in a main clause. "Doch" means something close to, "on the contrary..." Doch can have many different meanings. This YouTube video explains it well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVkKjyt-Qs8

Sorry if I explained it horribly! I'm sure that there are other Duolingo discussions that explain it better!


Thank you very much!

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.