“Weil” and “Da” (Causal Clauses)

What are Causal Clauses?

Causal clauses are subordinate clauses that give the reason for or cause of something.

They start with the conjunctions "weil" or "da," which both mean "because."

The question words are: "Warum?" "Wieso?" "Weshalb?" "Aus welchem Grund?" "Weswegen?"

A: Warum bist du 1 Stunde zu spät?“

B: „Weil ich den Bus verpasst habe.“

"Weil" or "da"?


When to use "weil":

  • Warum hast du keine Übungen gemacht?“
  • „Ich habe keine Übungen gemacht, weil ich keine Lust habe.“
  • Wieso arbeitet Stefan heute nicht?“
  • „Stefan arbeitet nicht, weil er krank ist.“

When the main clause comes first, we usually use "weil."


When to use "da":

  • Warum hast du keine Übungen gemacht?“
  • Da ich keine Lust habe, habe ich keine Übungen gemacht.“
  • Wieso arbeitet Stefan heute nicht?“
  • Da er krank ist, arbeitet Stefan heute nicht.“

When the subordinate clause comes first, we usually use "da."

"Weil" and "da" have the exact same meaning and there is no difference in terms of grammar. You can use whichever you'd like in any situation. 

It's just a suggestion that you use "da" at the beginning of a sentence and "weil" in the middle since it's more common.

Leaving out the Main Clause

A subordinate clause starting with "weil" can also stand alone without a main clause, as long as it's obvious from the context what the other half of the sentence would be.

  • Warum bist du nicht in der Schule?“ - Weil die Schule heute ausfällt.“
  • Aus welchem Grund fährt er Bus?“ -  Weil sein Auto kaputt ist.“

Summary

  • Causal clauses are subordinate clauses which give the reason or cause of something.
  • The question words are: Warum? Wieso? Weshalb? Aus welchem Grund? Weswegen? (These all mean the same thing)
  • Causal clauses begin with "weil" or "da." There‘s no difference between "weil" and "da," but we normally use "da" when the subordinate clause comes before the main clause and "weil" when the main clause comes first.

Related Topics:

An overview of subordinate clauses.

Different subordinate conjunctions:: „dass“, „weil/da“, „obwohl“, „wenn/falls“, „so dass“, „indem“ und „als/wenn“.

Infinitive clauses (infinitive + zu) and infinitive constructions (um/anstatt/ohne … zu) are also subordinate clauses.

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