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”, students often do not use it correctly. After reading this article, you will perfectly know how to build a sentence with it.
Giving reason in German
German offers many possibilities of providing 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, because of, on account of in English.
The problem with “wegen”
The reason why many people get confused when they need to build a sentence with “wegen” is that they mix up with other ways like “weil”. Now, this causal sentence connection is different. Hence, there are two main things that you need to take care of. While “weil” requires a whole new sentence to be added, “wegen” only asks for a noun and that’s it. There is no possibility to add an entire sentence after you use it because if you want to do so, you should need to use “weil”.
The second part which you need to take care of is the grammatical case that follows “wegen”. 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. This is why one can also use it in combination with Dative (which is now officially accepted by the Duden).
An example with 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.
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.
What you need to know
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 also to 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.
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