The meaning of “zwar”

Hello everyone,

and welcome to our German Word of the Day and today we’ll have a look at the meaning of:

zwar

 

And just as it can happen in a real German class, so it can happen here:  an unannounced quiz… hooray. But unless you’re a tuna you won’t be graded… badum tish.
So… Which if the following origin stories of zwar is correct:

  1. it comes from the Polish word zwał that means pile
  2. it is a mumbled, contracted version of zu wahre which means something like to the truth
  3. it is the short version of this sentence German adolescent boys say all the time “zu wenig Arsch” (“not enough butt”)

Have you picked your mate… I mean made your pick? Cool.
Then let’s jump right in and find out all about this useful little word :)

So, here is what the German zwar does:

zwar sets up a but.

Not more, not less.
And the right origin story is number two.
Back some centuries ago, zwar indeed used to be two words: zi wāre.
zi
was pretty much the same as zu and wāre, an ancestor of our wahr (true), meant something like “that which is true“… or simply truth.
So the combination meant something like to the truth or more abstract to speak the truth and people back then used zi wāre to underline that their statements were true. Here is an English example I manipula… I.. I mean found:

  • “He that once loves with a true desire never can depart,
    For Cupid is the king of every heart, zi wāre.”, John Doe said.
    (from a song by D. Coupland I have on my J-Pod Tou… wait, I feel like I’m mixing up something…)

And by the way…German has the word  fürwahr and that one is actually still has that meaning  today, even though it’s rare. zi ware, however, changed. First the sound.
Germans apparently used it a lot -which is not surprising given we’re roughly talking about the era of knights here, with all their ideals of honor and honesty. And so zi ware was quickly contracted and became a new word zwar.

  • “Ihr habt den Drachen erschlagen? Mir scheint, Ihr lügt.”
    “Neyn zwar, ich habe die Bestie getötet.”
  • “Thou hast killed the dragon? Thou art lying (thuo lyst), it doth seem.” (thanks to Briguy for the awesome ancient English)
    “Nay, I swear/it’s true/truth is, the beast is dead.”

And then, slowly, a change in meaning started happening. Zwar became more and more associated with a follow up but. How did that happen?
Well, picture an Earl or Duke  giving a speech from his balcony.

  • “Oh meine geliebten Bauern, ich weiß wohl, wie hart eure Arbeit
    Tag für Tag ist. Ihr verdient zwar eine Belohnung…”
  • “Oh my beloved pawns, I know well, how hard is your labor day
    after day. You forsooth/truely deserve a reward…”

And everyone was like “Oh, nice, what a kind-hearted prince” and hopes were high. And then Duke continued…

  • “… aber ach, geben werde ich euch keine.”
  • “… but oh, I shall give you none.”

And everyone was like “oh what a let down…” and the Duke goes like “Gotcha again suckers hahaha… “.
Now, of course zwar didn’t evolve because the royalty liked to mock their peasants. But the example can help us understand what might have been the reason for the shift of zwar.
You see, disappointing someone, denying them something can be hard. And we often tend to try softening it with some praise before it. Like…

  • You’ve done done such a great job… but we’ll have to lay you off.

We have the reaffirmed portion in the first part, followed up by a but. Like… the reaffirmation is “code” for what’s to come. You can already kind of tell.
And that’s what might have happened to zwar. People started using it a lot in context where they followed it up with a but and over time, people just got used to it and started EXPECTING a but to follow. And that’s where we are today. Zwar does affirm the first part, the part it is in, but it also clearly signals an upcoming but. And just to make sure…

Today, zwar does NOT work without aber (but) following.

So if you put zwar into your sentence you HAVE TO say aber… people are waiting for it and if it doesn’t come that it is really really confusing. Examples:

  • Das Kleid ist zwar teuer, aber ich kaufe es trotzdem.
  • The dress is expensive but I’ll get it anyway.
  • Ich muss zwar noch ein bisschen arbeiten, aber heute abend habe ich Zeit.
  • Well, I do have a little work left but as for tonight I am free.

And as you can see, I did NOT translate zwar because it really isn’t doing much except setting up the aber,  thus giving it more… aber-ness, I guess.
All the translations with indeed or whatever else dictionaries are suggesting are adding a flavor to the sentence that just isn’t there in German.
So would the sentences be the same without zwar?
Well, as far as meaning is concerned, I would say yes. Zwar is not a coloring particle. It doesn’t add a whole new feel to a sentence as doch or schon do.
It does change the tone a bit. Without it, the sentences would sound a little robotic in my ears. Zwar just makes for a better but-experience. Just like in good movies… you have a setup and a pay-off. An out-of-the-blue-but can be nice, too, but an introduced one often feels more smooth. Not sure, if I am making sense :)
Here’s another example.

  • Ich habe zwar keine Lust, aber ich gehe trotzdem mit meiner Freundin in die Oper.
  • I don’t want to,but I still go with my girlfriend to the opera.

Cool.
So now we know what zwar means. Or better… what it does. What we don’t know yet is where to actually put it.

Where “zwar” goes in a sentence

and the answer is, as often, when it comes to German word order.

It depends!

Yes, it’s in yellow so it is even more annoying .
So… zwar can actually go in a lot of places but basically it comes before the main statement of the sentence; the core, the part that you will contradict with aber

  • Ich muss heute meinem Bruder bei seinen Hausaufgaben helfen aber danach habe ich Zeit.
  • I have to help my brother with his homework today but after that I will have time.

Now here are the possible versions:

  • Zwar muss ich heute meinem Bruder bei seinen…. yes, this is possible, too, but it sounds a bit scripted
  • Ich muss zwar heute meinem Bruder…. here, the whole chunk is what is going on
  • Ich muss heute zwar meinem Bruder … is possible but a bit weird
  • Ich muss heute meinem Bruder zwar bei den… is possible… here only the “help with homework” part is the core, while heute and Bruder feel like optional side information.

All those are acceptable and express pretty much the same thing… at least to me that is. The second option is the best if it is just a general statement. Now what about this:

  • Ich muss heute meinem Bruder bei seinen Hausaufgaben zwar helfen…

This is really really odd and only very precise intonation can make that sound correct. The thing the aber-part contradicts here is really only the helfen so all the rest of the info (brother, today, homework) will remain untouched. A possible aber-part would be this:

  • Ich muss heute meinem Bruder bei seinen Hausaufgaben zwar helfen aber ich muss sie nicht für ihn machen.
  • I have to help my brother with his homework today, yes, but I don’t have to do it FOR him.

So helfen is contradicted to machen.
This is incredibly specific compared with the general time example. So… once again we have seen, that word order kind of evades rules in German.
The best advice I can give you is this…bring your zwar as early as possible but don’t use position 1 because that would sound as if you’re stage acting. This is no 100% guarantee… just a rule of thumb.

All right.
Now before we wrap up we need to talk about the other zwar. What? There is another zwar…as in … a different one?? Yes, of course there is.

Und zwar

It is called und zwar, the translation in a dictionary is namely, and I have absolutely NOOOOO clue why the combination of und and zwar would means that.
As a matter of fact…  I took German as a native language when I was in childhood and still I  learned NO EARLIER than a few months ago that it is spelled that way. I am serious. I though it was spelled unzwar, with the same un- in there as in, say, ungesund (unhealthy)… and that made soooooo much sense to me.
But anyway, so und zwar can translate to namely, but I think the best way to think about it is as a “:”, a colon… just a spoken one :)

  • Thomas trifft sich mit ein paar Freunden, und zwar mit Marie, Stefan und Kolja.
  • Thomas meets a few friends, : /namely Marie, Stephan and Kolja.

Here it introduces a list but it also works without a list…

  • Ich habe ein Problem, und zwar habe ich meinen Schlüssel zu Hause vergessen und jetzt blah blah blah…
  • I have a problem, :/you see /which is as follows, I forgot my keys at home and now yada yada yada…

Here, it kind of creates a pause before a somewhat longer story sets in. But it doesn’t even need to be long.

  • Ich will was Japanisches essen und zwar am liebsten Sushi.
  • I want to eat Japanese and Sushi would be my favorite.

Here, it kind of connects the two parts.Without und zwar it would be a little disjointed and staccato. But I don’t think that there is a need to always translate it. So that’s what it has in common with plain zwar… what matters is that you convey the essence somehow, you don’t always need to manifest it as a “translated word”.

And I think with this bit of translator wisdom, we’ll wrap it up here :).
Most important to remember is not to ever use zwar without a follow-up aber. Why not? Because it is REALLY unsatisfying… like… not getting the kiss after the first date or, 2 weeks later, having the parents of your love interest come home and you are upstairs passionately, hey by the way … it is still freaking cold in Berlin. See… that’s how disappointing it is if the aber is missing after zwar
So… that was our Word of the Day zwar.
If you have any questions or suggestions just leave me a comment.
I hope you liked it and see you next time.

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coleussanctus
coleussanctus
2 months ago

I had a question that’s actually about “wieder,” but I didn’t find a better place to put it. It’s this sentence:

Wir dienen ja nur den Meisterwerken, sonst gar nichts. Dass man dabei auch noch bekannt wird und die Leute das mögen, ist wieder was sehr schönes, aber das ist nur ein Nebeneffekt, gell, für uns.

My best guess is that it’s basically setting up a comparison, kind of like
“zwar…aber” (or maybe “schon…aber”, but I’m really not sure if that’s a good comparison). I hadn’t seen it used like this before, so I just wanted to ask what it’s doing here.

Maia
Maia
1 year ago

I feel that this “zwar” is similar to a “do”/”indeed” in english.
I DO deserve a break, but….
What do you think? Are they truly similar?

Bala..
Bala..
6 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

!

kbas
kbas
1 year ago

Dieser Artikel war eine grosse Hilfe! Nachdem ich ihn las, jedes Mal, wenn ich ein “zwar” sah, merkte ich wie entweder später kam ein “aber” oder wurde von einem “und” vorangegangen. Aber heute, als ich ein Wetterblog gelesen habe, habe ich ein “zwar” gefunden das nicht in die Regel passt, und jetzt bin ich total verwirrt.

Der Satz ist: “Dieser war zwar auch am Sonntag – wie gestern an dieser Stelle beschrieben – ein unsteter Gast.”

Ich verstehe dieses “zwar” als ähnlich zum “und zwar” was meinst du? (Also, scheint es, dass “nämlich” hier auch passen könnte, oder?)

Lisa
Lisa
1 year ago

Hi! I love the way you explain stuff, and I‘ve read so much of your work. You’re my go-to site when trying to understand translations.

A suggestion: I once had „und zwar“ explained to me as „more specifically“.

This makes so much more sense to me than your explanation and works in all of your examples. You say the general part, followed by “und zwar” and then give more specifics.

  • Thomas trifft sich mit ein paar Freunden, und zwar mit Marie, Stefan und Kolja.
  • Thomas meets a few friends, : /namely Marie, Stephan and Kolja.

To me, it fits better to say
Thomas meets a few friends, more specifically M, S and K.

Chris
Chris
1 year ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Yes, I think it does. You are being more specific in the topic you are going to talk about. The connotations of “more specifically” and “to tell the truth” are pretty close in that the specifics of the sentence reveal the truth. I think “more specifically” sounds more natural for conversational English. Your example and the helpful addition from Zim the Fox:

Ich habe ein Problem, und zwar habe ich meinen Schlüssel zu Hause vergessen.
I have a problem, (and) well, to tell the truth, I forgot my keys at my home.
I have a problem; more specifically, I forgot my keys at home.

Anyway, I love your site. Soooo helpful as I scrape decades of rust off of my German. I came to this particular entry for “zwar” based on this Spiegel article:
Zwar war Şahin im Gespräch mit dem SPIEGEL vor wenigen Wochen optimistisch, eine hohe Wirksamkeit zu erreichen. Doch von einem derart hohen Wert gingen wenige Beobachter aus. 
Reading through the comments was key to realizing that the “but” could be in another sentence–here the “Doch” in the next sentence.

Thanks again!

JamieMiller
JamieMiller
9 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ich bin 11 Monate zu spät gekommen, um meinen Senf dazuzugeben, trotzdem möchte ich sagen: “namely” bedeutet doch normalerweise “specifically”. Als englischer Muttersprachler verstehe ich nicht, warum “(more) specifically” eine bessere Übersetzung wäre als “namely”.

Naja, selten bedeutet “namely” etwas wie “especially” statt “specifically”. Ich weiß nicht, ob “und zwar” In diesem Fall gut passt.

z.B.:
“We showed strong quarterly results in all divisions, but namely energy and political consulting”.

Andere Abteilungen waren auch erfolgreich, nicht nur die genannten.

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/namely

: vielen Dank für noch einen weiteren tollen Artikel!

JamieMiller
JamieMiller
9 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ah, perhaps I was unclear. I think you may have interpreted “but namely” as “except specifically”. But this is not an außer-but, more of an emphasis-but. It doesn’t really add much to the meaning, and could be removed. “but namely” = “but especially” = “namely” = “especially” here. One could just as easily say “We showed strong quarterly results in all divisions, but namely especially (in) energy and political consulting.”

Also, nicht außer, sondern besonders/insbesondere.

Perhaps this “but” could’ve benefited from a zwar in the main clause, now that I think about it. “We showed zwar strong quarterly results in all divisions, aber namely (especially) energy and political consulting.”

JamieMiller
JamieMiller
9 months ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Ah, ok, so stronger contrast is required for zwar…aber, not simply the presence of an “aber”-ish word. That makes sense.

But just in case I need to shatter and rebuild my entire worldview… is that need for a stronger constrast also true of “aber” more generally? “But” is such an empty word, I use it even when describing varying intensities of the same thing.
z.B.:
“I like fruit in general, but I really like grapefruit.”
“Ich esse gern Obst im Allgemeinen, aber Grapefruit esse ich besonders gern/sehr gern/am liebsten.”

^Is that an illegal conjunctive aber? Am I going ins Grammatikgefängnis? Because I have used MANY such conjunctive abers.

Anna Redding
Anna Redding
2 years ago

You spelled “expensive” wrong.  Du hast “expansive” gesagt. ;)

chango
chango
2 years ago

sometimes comments section is even more informative than the article itself. man, this blog shines like a pearl among tons of other language learning sites. this is what language learning actually is! most of people think if they understand the daily spoken language it is just enough. well at least for me that is not enough. because the language is much more deep, sophisticated and therefore there is so much more one can get from it. it is sometimes intimidating and sometimes surprising but it is enjoyable all the time. thank you for dedicating such a huge amount of effort and time of your life just to show the beauty of this language.
if you are still going on with this(the date at the bottom of the page says 2011-2019 and we are in the march 2020 so…)- i hope you do- i would like to request an add on to the comments page.A “date” add-on! there is no date for the comments. one can not know when was this topic hot or is it too old an article?! i dont know if there are technical hindrances but i guess it should not be that hard. and lastly pardon my english i am not native obviously.

Gabriele
Gabriele
2 years ago

this site is hilariously informative and entertaining. Ich muss unbedingt öfter mal hier hereinschauen.

Avery
Avery
2 years ago

One translation that I read seems to make sense to me, and thats “even though” or “even so”. Using your examples:

Das Kleid ist zwar teuer, aber ich kaufe es trotzdem.
Its saying, even thought the dress is expensive, i am buying it anyways

or

Ich muss zwar noch ein bisschen arbeiten, aber heute abend habe ich Zeit
Even though i have work to do, i have some time to do.

So it seems that you use it when you are saying a reason you my not be able to do the action that follows the “but”, but you are going to do that even with the reason.

Pax
Pax
3 years ago

Hallo, Emmanuel.
Da ich gerade deinen Artikel über ‘ein-‘ und ‘auffallen’ gelsen habe, beginne ich den Satz wie folgt, um zu prüfen, ob ich das mitgekriegt habe (Da kommt die eigentliche Frage):

Mir ist aufgefallen, das im gesporochenen Deutschem nicht so oft die Satzstruktur mit “obwohl” vorkommt. Ich tendiere, sie zu nutzen, weil ich ans englischen “although” gewöhnt bin, höre ich jedoch das deutsche “obwohl” nicht allzu häufig. Und jetz, nachdem ich den obigen Artikel gelesen habe, ist mir eingefallen (kann ich “einfallen” auch als “it occured to me” verwenden?), dass vielleicht die “zwar… aber…” Struktur die bevorzugte Option beim Sprechen ist. Was hälts du davon?

(Von da an schreibe ich Kommentare auf Deutsch /for exercise’s sake – keinen blassen Schimmer, wie ich das übersetzen soll/. Wenn dir einige grobere Felehr auffalen, zögere nicht, mich zu korriegieren – ich nehme es nicht übel).

Pax
Pax
3 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Danke, danke, danke! :D
Diese kompliezierte Sätze sind beim Sprechen meine Achillesferse. Ich habe Englisch als (ein?) Jugendlicher gelernt und es fällt mir leicht, es zu sprechen (man kann sagen, dass ich “höre”, was ich sage). Mit Deutsch habe ich im Gegensatz erst mit 35 angefangen, und obwohl :) ich schaffe es, richtige Sätze zu bilden (mehr oder weniger), fühlt es sich roboterhaft an – ich muss mir jeweils überlegen, bevor ich etwas sage, und trotzdem kommen die Sätze immer lang und kompliziert aus. Es ist schon 5 Jahre her und ich frage mich, ob ich je anfange, zu hören, was ich eigentlich sage.

Jedenfalls, ich habe eine Frage hinsichtlich deiner Antwort. Es geht um “Deutschem” (ursprünglich meinte ich “Deutschen”, ich habe mich verschrieben, Verziehung!). Das ist mir sehr wichtig, da ich Englisch lehrer bin. Gibt’s eine Regel, wann man in Bezug auf die Sprache “Deutsch” und “Deutschen” benutzen soll? Zuvor habe ich gedacht, dass ich immer das Letztere brauche, z.B.: “Im gesprochenen Deutschen haben wir das und das…”. Dieses “Deutschem” klingt mir jedoch sehr komisch, ich habe es aber trotzdem :) benutzt. Aber jetzt, da du das korrigiert hast, lässt es mich hoffen, das ich vielleicht mit dem “Deutschen” Schluss machen kann. Was sagst du?

Pax
Pax
3 years ago
Reply to  Pax

“DeutschEN” – ich meinte “DeutschEN”. Entschuldigung :) Please, make it go away :)

Onox
Onox
3 years ago

Thank you for this very helpful article ! There is a problem with the downloadable PDF, though (other pages are probably also affected) : some characters are displayed as question marks. I think that it’s an encoding issue : your web pages use UTF-8, and I guess that you use a program to generate the PDFs from them ? In that case, you probably didn’t choose the right setting because when I check the “Fonts” tab in the PDF properties, I see that the “WinAnsi” coding is used. Would it be possible to fix that ?

Supernova
6 years ago

This is one helpful blog. And not only because of the “zwar…aber” explanation (which is why I got here) but on the sentence structure I just saw in the comments. Mind-blown.

Supernova
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Thanks! I’ll definitely check it out.

killipedia
6 years ago

what the….? I always thought that und zwar meant “and therefore” since my teacher kept using it that way. For instance “Wir haben wenig Zeit, und zwar müssen Sie die Aufgabe alleine machen”.

MY WHOLE LIFE IS A LIEE!!!

killipedia
6 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

Nope not in that class anymore, he was from Morocco, but he grew up in Leipzig, Germany.

Emily Martin
6 years ago

As for “old” or “ancient” English, that’s Beowulf. I think you meant to say Middle English. And the oldest-sounding form to my ears would be, “methinks thou lyest”. Maybe “it seemeth to me thou lyest” but that’s clunky. Thanks to the present progressive finally taking shape, the Viking “-ing” form (vs. -end) and the host of new tenses and constructions coming from the occupying Normans, you could also have all sorts of tenses recognizable today: not only simple present “thou lyest” but also thou art lying, thou dost lie,thou hast told a lie, thou wouldst that I believe thy lying tongue….etc etc

Xu
Xu
4 years ago
Reply to  Emily Martin

I think it’s not even as old as middle English. “Thou hast” sounds like early modern English to me. Circa 16th century. But it’s been years since I studied the English language so I could be wrong.

The rule of thumb for English is, if you can understand it even a bit, it’s definitely not old (ancient) English. If you could guess the meaning of a couple of words then it’s likely middle English. If it reads wierd but you understand the sentences, it’s early modern English (think Shakespeare).

Kirsten Marie
6 years ago

Well, this is amazing! Thank you so much. It seems to be a hard concept for my German friends to explain, so that you for doing it so concisely (and with audio).

Zim the Fox
6 years ago

I think “und zwar” makes perfect sense. If zwar comes from “zu wahre” or “to the truth” then you could think of “und zwar” as “and, well, to tell the truth…”

Ich habe ein Problem, und zwar habe ich meinen Schlüssel zu Hause vergessen.
I have a problem, (and) well, to tell the truth, I forgot my keys at my home.

Thanks for this post! :D

Fed
Fed
7 years ago

“As you can see, I did not translate zwar because it really isn’t doing much except setting up aber thus giving it more… aber-ness I guess”

Hi! I would actually argue, that you can (and do) translate “zwar” into English, und zwar (couldn’t help it)) by stressing the “be” or the “have” verb, or by adding a “do”. Going to borrow some of your own examples here:
The dress is expensive, but I’ll get it anyway. (Here you could put the accent on “is” to foreshadow the “but” part – and that’s exactly what “zwar” does)
Well, I do have a little work left, but tonight I am free. (And here you actually add the “do” with the same exact purpose, so in this case “do” is the translation of “zwar”)

P.S. I sort of felt sorry for the poor little “zwar”, because online translators do tend to simply ignore it, so I just wanted point out that there is a place for it in english)

Oh, and i love your blog!)

demoneyes136
demoneyes136
5 years ago
Reply to  Fed

@Fed >”Hi! I would actually argue, that you can (and do) translate “zwar” into English, und zwar (couldn’t help it)) by stressing the “be” or the “have” verb, or by adding a “do”. ”

Actually I think there are two elements to “zwar” – one is the affirmation that the statement containing it is true, and the other is that there is a “but” on the way. Now you can achieve both effects in English with the likes of “admittedly” or “I’ll admit” or “indeed”, but as you say we very often don’t bother and simply affirm the truth of something by emphasis on the verb or by adding a “do”.

However I don’t think that adds the “there is a but on the way”, at least where the first part of the sentence could otherwise happily stand on its own. I think the “I haven’t finished yet” comes from intonation. With one intonation you could say “I *do* love you.” and stop. It’s just an affirmation. Or with a different intonation on “you” it flags that the sentence is not finished – “I *do* love you … but no, I really do have a headache tonight.”

I’m trying to work out what difference if any there is in vibe between “The dress *is* expensive, but I’m going to buy it anyway.” and “The dress is ex*pen*sive, I’ll admit, but I’m going to buy it anyway”. Or whether they both translate equally well just as “zwar”. And suspect they probably do – the “I’ll admit” is just a way of saying the same thing but with a bit more “filler”. (Very German!)

At which point it also occurs to me to wonder which German particle you’d use to affirm truth without implying a “but” is on the way. An emphasised “wohl”? Or a “ja”?

Caroline
Caroline
4 years ago
Reply to  demoneyes136

The conversation you guys are having here is really enlightening for me. So thanks! I wanted to chime in (many moons later) that in
> “I *do* love you.” <
It's true that the speaker might not use a "but" or add some other opposing or contradicting information later, but when this is used standalone, it's often probably the case that the person they'e talking to is the one they're contradicting.
ex:
bob: You don't love me! *cry*
alice: Oh Bob, I DO love you! [but you just don't believe it]

If you say this without an opposing argument somewhere in the conversation, then it would (probably?) have to be a statement of agreement or affirmation.
ex:
bob: I'm taking you to IHOP! (read: i-hop. That's a restaurant chain, the International House of Pancakes. I'm not sure if they really are international.)
alice: Well I DO love pancakes!

It seems to me that the first example lines up better with a translation of zwar, but they're probably not a perfect match for all uses of "do + verb."

Anonymous
Anonymous
7 years ago

Ich habe zwar heir besucht, um einen artikel über kehren zu finden und habe gar nichts gefund aber dann habe Ich etwas ganz anders bekommt. Ich sehe dieses wort jeden tag und bin sehr froh, dass es endlich klar ist. Danke sehr und mach weiter so.

Sam Hardman
7 years ago

I’ve just come across this use of zwar form the German wikipedia page on the European anthem: –

“Es gibt zwar verschiedene Textvorschläge in unterschiedlichen Sprachen, die zum Teil auch auf Veranstaltungen von Chören vorgetragen wurden.”

There is no ‘aber’, or ‘doch’, in this sentence and there is no ‘und zwar’ either. Could you explain what zwar does here? It’s a little confusing!

Sam Hardman
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

That does help, thank you! I was thinking it had to all be contained within one sentence but now I know better :)

Al
Al
8 years ago

I haven’t read all the comments, but it seems to me people are missing that the sentence structure found in “Aber ach, geben werde ich euch keine” exists in English also.

An example I just used at work in an email:

“Attached are the minutes from the meeting.”

It seems to serve exactly the same function as the German version – bringing the important verb to the beginning.

APC
APC
8 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

It’s also possible in English to say, “I like Berlin, but live there I would not.” It sounds a bit comedic, but I’ve heard it this way.

berlingrabers
7 years ago
Reply to  Emanuel

It is zwar possible if you’re Yoda, aber I don’t know if I’d try it as a human non-Jedi…

You do very occasionally hear that kind of word-order tweaking, but it definitely sounds very strange, maybe a little archaic and poetic at best.

Jnny
Jnny
8 years ago

Ich komme zwar aus Deutschland, stieß aber gerade auf der Suche nach einer Übersetzung von “zwar” auf deine Seite und bin entzückt, wie schön du das hier erklärst! :) Danke.