Site Feedback

Resolved questions
sondern vs. aber


When to use aber or sondern.
My textbook does a poor job of communicating this idea to me.

Können Sie bitte mir erklaren? Danke!

For learning: German
Base language: English
Category: Other



    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.



    Sort by:

    Best Answer - Chosen by Voting
    In general they are both translated to "but". Only that "sondern" always means "something is wrong, and the other thing is right" you use it as a suggestion to tell someone that he is doing it wrong AND how to do it right. Or to describe something by telling "it is NOT ..., but ..." - "Es ist NICHT ... , sondern ... ". It is a strong denial.
    "sondern" often implies the idea of "instead of" for example:
    "Do not turn it left, but right!(Turn it right instead of left!)" "Drehe es nicht links herum sondern rechts herum!"

    "aber" is more general, it could be used for example like this:
    "It was raining, but it was still a nice day." - "Es hat geregnet, aber es war dennoch ein schöner Tag."
    And many other uses of "but". Except the ones you can rephrase with "instead of", in which case you need "sondern".

    I hope this was at least a little bit helpfull. :)

    Submit your answer

    Please enter between 2 and 2000 characters.

    If you copy this answer from another italki answer page, please state the URL of where you got your answer from.