Easy Learning German

Co-ordinating conjunctions with two parts - Easy Learning Grammar German

  • German, like English, also has conjunctions which have more than one part. Here are the most common ones:
  • sowohl … als (auch) both … andThe verb is plural, whether the individual subjects are singular or plural.
Sowohl sein Vater als auch seine Mutter haben sich darüber gefreut.Both his father and mother were pleased about it.
Sowohl unser Lehrkörper als auch unsere Schüler haben teilgenommen.Both our staff and pupils took part.
  • weder … noch neither … norWith this conjunction, the verb is plural unless both subjects are singular, as shown below.
Weder die Lehrer noch die Schüler haben recht.Neither the teachers nor the pupils are right.
Weder du noch ich würde es schaffen.Neither you nor I would be able to do it.
  • When weder … noch is used to link clauses, the subject and verb are swapped round in BOTH clauses.
Weder mag ich ihn noch respektiere ich ihn.I neither like nor respect him.
  • nicht nur … sondern auch not only … but alsoThe verb agrees in number with the subject nearest to it.
Nicht nur sie, sondern auch ich habe es gehört.They weren’t the only ones to hear it – I heard it too.
  • When nicht nur … sondern auch is used to link clauses, the subject and verb are only swapped round in the first clause, not the second, BUT if nicht nur does not begin the clause, word order is normal.
  • Nicht nur ist sie geschickt, sondern
    auch intelligent.
  • OR
Sie ist nicht nur geschickt, sondern auch intelligent.She is not only skilful but also intelligent.
  • entweder … oder either … orThe verb agrees in number with the subject nearest to it. When entweder … oder is used to link clauses, the subject and verb are only swapped round in the first clause, not the second.
Entweder du oder Karla muss es getan haben.It must have been either you or Karla.
Entweder komme ich vorbei, oder ich rufe dich an.I’ll either drop in or I’ll give you a ring.
Key points
  • A conjunction is a word that links two words or clauses of a similar type, or two parts of a sentence.
  • Aber, denn, oder, sondern and und are the most important co-ordinating conjunctions.
  • Single-word co-ordinating conjunctions do not change the order of the subject and the verb in the clause.

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