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  • Writer's pictureSarah

How to use double conjunctions or multipart conjunctions: zwar ... aber!

Lilli: Ich bin zwar in Deutschland geboren, aber Irland ist mein Zuhause. I was born in Germany, but Ireland is my home.

Zwar ... aber expresses a restriction: First, you make a statement that triggers a certain assumption. Then you qualify this statement.

If Lilli says that she is from Germany, you assume that she considers Germany her home. Then she says something that doesn't necessarily fit that assumption: Ireland is her home, not Germany. The word zwar can also be omitted, but the qualification is then less emphasized.

Zwar ... aber is an example of so-called double conjunctions or multipart conjunctions. These are conjunctions that consist of at least two parts. Such conjunctions with parts separated from each other connect sentences or parts of sentences of the same rank.


When double conjunctions connect two sentences, each sentence usually has its own subject and verb.

Mari wohnt in Irland. Sie spricht viel Deutsch. Mari lives in Ireland. She speaks a lot of German.

Mari wohnt zwar in Irland, aber sie spricht viel Deutsch. Mari lives in Ireland, but she speaks a lot of German.

Sentence parts:

When double conjunctions join two clauses, they often have the same subject and/or verb.

Irland war für Lilli neu. Irland war für Lilli sehr interessant.

Irland war für Lilli zwar neu, aber sehr interessant.

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