In German, there are many ways to give a reason but the shortest one might be the construction with “wegen”. Due to confusion with other conjunctions as “weil”, “wegen” often is not used correctly. After reading this article, you will perfectly know how to build a sentence with “wegen”.
German offers many possibilities of giving a reason. I already wrote about some of them in the article “How to give a reason in German”. The shortest way is to use a sentence with “wegen” which means: for, due to, because of, by reason of, on account of.
The reason why many people get confused when they need to build a sentence with “wegen” is that they mix up with other ways to give a reason, as for instance “weil”. Now, “wegen” is different and there are two main things that you need to take care of. While “weil” needs a whole new sentence to be added, “wegen” only needs a noun and that’s it. There is no possibility to add a whole sentence after “wegen” because for doing so, we have “weil”.
The second part which you need to take care of is the case that follows “wegen”. Actually it is used with the Genitive but as you might already know, this case slowly but steadily falls into oblivion within the German population. Mostly it is replaced by Dative and this is why one can also use “wegen” in combination with Dative (which is now officially accepted by the Duden).
An example of “wegen” and Genitive would be:
- Ich bleibe heute wegen des Wetters zu Hause.
- Ich bleibe heute zu Hause wegen des Wetters.
- Wegen des Wetters bleibe ich heute zu Hause.
- Der Vater fährt wegen seines Kindes zur Schule.
- Der Vater fährt zur Schule wegen seines Kindes.
- Wegen seines Kindes fährt der Vater zur Schule.
The same sentences with Dative would be:
- Ich bleibe heute wegen dem Wetter zu Hause.
- Ich bleibe heute zu Hause wegen dem Wetter.
- Wegen dem Wetter bleibe ich heute zu Hause.
- Der Vater fährt wegen seinem Kind zur Schule.
- Der Vater fährt zur Schule wegen seinem Kind.
- Wegen seinem Kind fährt der Vater zu Schule.
As you could see, you can play with the word order and the cases. In general, the usual German will use the Dative case while speaking with you but it is essential to also know that “wegen” was originally used with Genitive. And who knows, maybe this knowledge will help you out in a test one day.
After reading this article, you should be able to decide when to use “weil” or “wegen” and give reasons in the correct form.