Conjunctions link clauses

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Conjunctions such as und ‘and’, aber ‘but’, weil ‘because’ and während ‘while’, usually link clauses together. Here are a few examples:

Clause 1                         Conjunction          Clause 2
Das ist Peter                    und                    er ist 30 Jahre alt.
Maria kommt aus Bonn, aber                   sie lebt jetzt in Frankfurt.
Ich bleibe zu Hause,        weil                   ich müde bin.
Er kocht etwas,                während             sie schläft.

Two groups of conjunctions in German

Conjunctions in German can be divided into two main groups:

• Coordinating conjunctions such as und ‘and’, aber ‘but’ and oder ‘or’ usually connect two main clauses. A main clause is a clause that can stand on its own:
Das ist Peter. Er ist 30 Jahre alt. → Das ist Peter und er ist 30 Jahre alt.

A coordinating conjunction does not affect the word order in the clause that follows – the finite verb remains the second element.
• Subordinating conjunctions such as weil ‘because’, während ‘while’, dass ‘that’ normally link subordinate clauses and main clauses. A subordinate clause cannot stand on its own as it is dependent on a main clause.

Subordinate conjunctions do affect the word order and normally send the finite verb to the end of the clause:
Ich bleibe zu Hause, weil ich müde bin.

Here are the different kinds of conjunctions in more detail.