Conjunctions consisting of more than one part


There are a few conjunctions which consist of more than one part. They can be divided into two main groups:

• Coordinating conjunctions such as entweder . . . oder ‘either . . . or’, sowohl . . . als (auch) ‘as well as’:
Ich fahre entweder in die Stadt oder ich bleibe zu Hause.
Either I’m going into town or I’m staying at home.
Sie studierte sowohl in Leipzig als auch in Cambridge.
She studied in Leipzig as well as in Cambridge.

In these structures the finite verb remains the second element.

• Subordinating conjunctions which introduce a subordinate clause where the finite verb is usually sent to the end. They include als ob ‘as if’, so dass ‘so that’, je . . . desto ‘the . . . the’:
Es sah so aus, als ob es regnen würde.
It looked as if it might rain.
Es war schon spät, so dass er ein Taxi nach Hause nehmen musste.
It was late so he had to take a taxi home.

When using je . . . desto, note that je introduces a subordinate clause while desto functions as a coordinating conjunction:
Je länger du in Madrid lebst, desto besser wirst du Spanisch sprechen.
The longer you stay in Madrid the better you will speak Spanish.