When studying German, students often ask themselves what the difference between “wegen” and “deswegen” is. This article will explain to you all you need to know so you can use both words correctly in the future.
“Wegen” and “deswegen”
Though both of the words follow a different sentence structure, which we will discuss in the following, one uses both to give a reason in German. The meaning of “wegen” is “because of” and the translation for “deswegen” is “because of this”. As you can already easily see, there is also a small difference in the two words in English.
When to use “wegen”
If you wish to use “wegen” in German, you need to take into consideration that a noun should follow it. We would do the same with the English “because of” as it cannot stand alone in a sentence because it is missing an object. Also, the noun that follows the causal preposition “wegen” always needs to be in the Genitive case but in modern German, many speakers mix it up and use the Dative case which technically is not correct.
Wegen des schlechten Wetters konnte ich nicht schwimmen gehen. / Ich konnte nicht schwimmen gehen wegen des schlechten Wetters.
Because of the bad weather, I couldn’t go swimming.
When to use “deswegen”
As we already discussed above, there needs to be an object after “wegen”. Now, there might be the case that you previously communicated the reason why something happened, and now you do not want to repeat it over again. Therefore, you can use “because of this” (this = what you already mentioned before). In German, we use the causal conjunction adverb “deswegen” to do so. Now, the “des” gives you the information that the noun which follows “wegen” has to be in the Genitiv case and that it replaces the object “des schlechten Wetters” which we had to add in “wegen”. This means that “deswegen” means the same as “wegen des + noun”.
Besides, you should be aware that the sentence which follows this conjunction follows the scheme: “deswegen” + Verb + subject…
Das Wetter war schlecht, deswegen konnte ich nicht schwimmen gehen.
The weather was bad because of this, I couldn’t go swimming.
Giving reason with “wegen” and “deswegen”
After reading this article, it should be clear when to use which one. You can always ask yourself, did I already speak about the reason previously? If so, then you can most likely use “deswegen”. This way you will not have to repeat the reason over and over again. If not, “wegen” might be the perfect choice for you.
If you would like to know more about giving reasons, you should check out my article “Denn, da, and weil – giving a reason in German“.
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