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Obwohl vs. Trotzdem: What Is The Difference in German?

Updated: Feb 13

Trotzdem and obwohl are similar in meaning, but belong to different grammatical categories and follow different word order rules in German. This post explains the difference and shows you how to use them.

Trotzdem translates as nonetheless or nevertheless, whereas obwohl translates as although. More importantly, obwohl is a subordinate clause conjunction that sends the conjugated verb to the end, while trotzdem is a main clause connector that is followed by the conjugated verb. In the examples below, the conjugated verbs are highlighted in red to show the difference.

Sie trägt keine Winterjacke, obwohl es sehr kalt ist.

(She doesn‘t wear a winter jacket, although it is very cold)

Er wiederholt nicht oft genug Vokabeln, obwohl er sein Deutsch verbessern will.

(He doesn‘t revise vocabulary often enough, although he would like to improve his German)

Es ist sehr kalt. Trotzdem trägt sie keine Winterjacke.

(It is very cold. Nonetheless, she doesn‘t wear a winter jacket)

Er will sein Deutsch verbessern. Trotzdem wiederholt er nicht oft genug Vokabeln.

(He wants to improve his German. Nonetheless, he doesn‘t revise vocabulary often enough)

As the examples show, you have to focus on the position of the conjugated verb when using the two words. The difference between weil and deshalb in German is very similar, as is the difference between nachdem and danach and bevor and vorher.

In separate blog posts, we explain the and other tricky subordinate conjunctions, such as als vs. wenn in German and um...zu vs. damit. So check out my posts and leave a comment. And if you found this post helpful, leave a like.



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