Two-Part Conjunctions in German

    This week’s 3 Minuten Deutsch video is about the conjunctions in German that have two parts. You can watch the video below to see some examples. You can see more information about each one of the conjunctions on the list below.

    entweder… oder – either… or

    This particular pair doesn’t effect word order in any way. If you start the sentence with “entweder”, however, you need to move the subject to the third position in the sentence. You can start the sentence with “entweder” or you can put it in the middle of the first clause. The second half, “oder”, starts the second clause and is separated by a comma, if the second clause could be a full sentence.

    Ich möchte entweder eine Cola oder ein Glas Milch. – I would like either a cola or a glass of milk.

    Beginner German with Herr Antrim

    Entweder gehe ich nach Hause, oder ich gehe ins Kino. – Either I am going home, or I am going to the movie theater.

    weder… noch – neither… nor

    This pair does change the word order a bit. The first clause can be started with “weder”, which means you have to put the subject after the verb, like you did with “entweder… oder”, but the second clause moves the verb to the first position after the conjunction instead of the second position like it was with “entweder… oder”.

    Sie will weder Diamanten noch Perlen. – She wants neither diamonds nor pearls.

    Weder hat er Geld, noch ist er hübsch. – Neither does he have money, nor is he handsome.

    sowohl… als auch – not only… but also

    Sowohl 2013 als auch 2016 bin ich mit Schülern nach Deutschland gereist. – Not only 2013 but also 2016 I traveled to Germany with students.

    Ich bin sowohl krank als auch müde. – I am not only sick, but also tired.

    nicht nur… sondern auch – not only… but also

    Mein Bruder ist nicht nur hässlich sondern auch glatzköpfig. – My brother is not only ugly, but also bald.

    Er hat mir nicht nur mein Geld genommen, sondern auch mein Handy. – He has not only taken my money, but also my phone.

    zwar… aber – it’s true… but

    This one take a bit of getting used to. It requires you to think about how to the two halves of the sentence are interacting with each other. One side must show that something is true, but the other end of the sentence shows something that happened in spite of that first half of the sentence being true.

    Zwar bin ich klug, aber ich mache auch manchmal Fehler. – It’s true that I am smart, but sometimes I too make mistakes.

    Mein Hund ist zwar jung, sie ist aber auch klug. – My dog is young, but she is also smart.

    je… desto – the… the

    This one has a weird translation. It is a bit difficult to explain, but it essentially uses a comparative form of an adverb after “je” and a comparative form of another adverb after “desto”. This happens in English, as well.

    Je mehr ich lese, desto klüger werde ich. – The more I read, the smarter I become.

    Je kälter wird das Wetter, desto mehr Kleidung ich trage. – The colder the weather becomes, the more clothing I wear.

    Herr Antrim

    Herr Antrim is a German teacher with over 10 years of teaching experience. In 2011 he started his successful YouTube Channel "Learn German with Herr Antrim". In 2015 he created this website to enhance the German language lessons he was providing on YouTube. He is now the author of his own e-book, "Beginner German with Herr Antrim". He has also been featured on numerous blogs and other sites.