In German, there are several options for showing a consequence in the form of a subordinate clause. After reading this article you will know them and how their proper usage.
Giving a consequence will always demand the use of a subordinate clause. One can only use a subordinate clause when there is the main clause. Normally one introduces it by using subordinating conjunctions (like the ones which we discuss in this article) which in German affect the structure of the sentence by changing the position of the verb. You already know this system from giving a reason in German.
Now, many students complain that they get lost in word order structure of German subordinate clauses but actually, there are not so many possibilities where the verb can move. I highly recommend you to study them in clusters which will make it easier for you to fall back on them when needed.
Remember a normal main clause sentence in German has the following structure: Subject + Verb + Object.
In this article, we will discuss two versions of a subordinate clause which look like this:
1. Conjunction + Subject + Object … + Verb.
2. Conjunction + Verb + Subject + Object
1. Option of sentence order
The following conjunctions all send the verb to the end of the sentence:
The German “sodass” is the equivalent of the English “so that” and when we use it, the verb goes to the end.
E.g.: Ich gehe arbeiten, sodass ich Geld verdiene.
“Damit” can be used as a conjunction when you would like to make a sentence with “so that” or “in order that”. Also this conjunction causes the verb to move to the end of the sentence.
E.g: Ich lerne Deutsch, damit ich mit Paul Deutsch sprechen kann.
Um … zu
“Um … zu” is very similar to “damit” but they have little differences which are already discussed in the article when to use “um … zu” and “damit”.
One can translate “um … zu” with “in order to” and its usage will also send the verb to the end of the sentence. Additionally, the verb stands in its infinitive form and one needs to add the “zu” prior to the verb.
E.g: Ich gehe in die Universität, um heute Nachmittag eine Präsentation zu halten.
2. Option of sentence order
Instead of sending the verb to the end of the sentence, it is also possible that it simply switches the position with the subject which will happen when you use the following conjunctions:
deshalb, deswegen & daher
“Deshalb”, “deswegen” and “daher” literally mean “therefore”, “as a result” or “that’s why” and Germans use them most widely.
E.g: Ich bin krank, deshalb / deswegen / daher bleibe ich zu Hause.
Another way to express the same as “deshalb” and “deswegen” is to use “folglich”. However, Germans do not use this one so often when people simply talk but rather when they write. Of cause, you can also use it while speaking but it might happen that you get a little weird look for that.
E.g: Ich bin krank, folglich bleibe ich zu Hause.
Now, you know how to use the 6 ways of showing a consequence in German and their two-sentence orders.