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Using während

The German word während means "during" or "while." If you have learned this word, you likely also learned that it is a preposition used with the genitive case. In fact, this is not always the case. But there are two common structures for the implementation of this word, so let's look at some examples.


The genitive case is required when während is used with a noun that expresses a period of time. 


Und wie ist das passiert? Während des Trainings?

And how did it happen? During the training?

Caption 33, Jenny und Alena - Handball

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Während der vierzigtägigen Fastenzeit

During the forty day fasting period,

durften sie nur eingeschränkt essen.

hey were only allowed to eat limited amounts.

Caption 18, Deutsches Bier - 500 Jahre Reinheitsgebot

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However, there are instances where it is correct to use the dative (See the link provided in "Further Learning"). Moreover, it is not uncommon to also hear the dative case used with während in colloquial spoken German. The dative case may be used with nominalized verbs, for example: 


Und jetzt geb ich während dem [Umgangssprache] Rühren nach und nach die Eier mit dazu.

And now I'll gradually add the eggs while stirring.

Caption 14, Sallys Tortenwelt und Kochwelt - Apfelkuchen mit Marzipan und Mandelsplittern

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Während is also implemented as a subordinating conjunction that connects a subordinate clause to a main clause. In this case, remember that the conjugated verb will be at the end of the subordinate clause.


Während ich weg bin, musst du das Haus fegen,

"While I am away, you must sweep the house,

Feuerholz hacken und den Kessel mit Wasser füllen!“

cut firewood and fill the kettle with water!"

Captions 22-23, Märchen - Sagenhaft - Der Zauberlehrling

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So, während ich die Tafel putze,

So while I clean the blackboard,

überlegt euch mal Verben mit Präpositionen.

think about verbs with prepositions.

Caption 5, Deutschkurs in Blaubeuren - Relativsätze mit Präpositionen

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Danach sterben sie,

Afterwards they die,

während überall sonst endgültig der Bergfrühling einzieht.

while everywhere else the mountain spring finally moves in for good.

Caption 14, Alpenseen - Kühle Schönheiten

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Further Learning
To learn about instances in which the dative is used rather than the genitive, refer to the "Usage Notes" at the bottom of this page. You can review the declensions for the genitive and dative cases here. Then write your own sentences with the word während, or search for more examples on Yabla German.

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