German Concessive clauses: Understanding Obwohl, Trotzdem and Trotz in German Grammar

German Concessive clauses: Understanding Obwohl, Trotzdem and Trotz in German Grammar

This article helps you to learn German concessive clauses, focusing on the terms: “obwohl” "trotz" and “trotzdem”. If you're keen on elevating your German grammar skills, understanding these concessive elements is important. We will explore the usage and sentence structure with many examples to understand this topic easily.

What Are Concessive Clauses in German Grammar?

  • Concessive clauses are essential in German grammar, they express a contrast or contradiction. They often use words like “obwohl”, or “trotzdem”.
  • They are used in the spoken and written language, which makes this topic relevant.

The Role of “Obwohl”: Understanding Its Use and Significance

  • “Obwohl”, a common subordinating conjunction, introduces a subordinate clause that presents a contrasting or opposing idea to the main clause. Obwohl can be replaced by the two words "obgleich" and "obschon", which are very rarely used in the spoken language.
  • Its correct usage is vital for clear communication, as it sets the stage for expressing contradictory information.
  • Forming a sentence with obwohl, means that the verb comes at the end of the sentence. The obwohl subordinate clause can be the 1st or 2nd sentence. 


  • Obwohl es regnet, geht der Junge in den Park. Although it is raining, the boy goes to the park.
  • Tom bleibt Zuhause, obwohl die Sonne scheint. Tom stays at home even though the sun is shining.

“Trotzdem” Unveiled: How Does It Differ from “Obwohl”?

  • Unlike “obwohl”, “trotzdem” functions as an adverb and appears in the main clause. The word "dennoch" can be used instead even tho it is less common. 
  • The word "trotzdem" is counted as a position in a sentence and can be placed at the 1st or 3rd position.


  • Tina würde gerne einen anderen Kurs besuchen, trotzdem macht sie es nicht. Tina would like to attend another course, but she doesn't. 
  • Der Händler will der Frau etwas umsonst geben, sie will es trotzdem nicht. The shopkeeper wants to give the woman something for free, but she still doesn't want it.
  • Der Schüler bekommt eine gute Note, dennoch freut er sich nicht. The student gets a good grade, but is not happy.

Difference between Trotzdem and Obwohl

  • You need to use trotzdem with a main sentence (2nd) and obwohl as a conjunction with a subordinate sentence (1st or 2nd). 


  • Obwohl Peter morgen eine Klausur hat, lernt er nicht. Although Peter has an exam tomorrow, he's not studying.
  • Peter hat morgen eine Klausur, trotzdem lernt er nicht. Peter has an exam tomorrow, but he's not studying.

“Trotz” sentences

  • The structure is a bit different and more difficult because you only have one main clause using  a genitive.


  • Trotz des schlechten Wetters geht der Junge in den Park. Despite the bad weather, the boy goes to the park.

Expanding Vocabulary: Synonyms and Alternatives to 

“Obwohl” and “Trotzdem”

Exploring synonyms and alternatives to these terms can enrich one's vocabulary and offer different ways to express concession.

This part introduces useful conjunctions and adverbs for varied expression.

  • "Obwohl" can be replaced by "obgleich" and "obschon".
  • "Trotzdem" is interchangeable with "dennoch"

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Using Concessive Clauses

  • Common errors include incorrect word order
  • And misunderstanding the differences between 'obwohl' and 'trotzdem'.

Conclusion: Key Takeaways

  • Concessive Clauses: Vital for German communication.
  • 'Obwohl': Introduces subordinate clauses with contrasting ideas.
  • 'Trotzdem': Expresses a contrast with a main sentence.
  • Expanding Vocabulary: Learn synonyms and alternatives.


What is the sentence structure? 

  • Obwohl is used as subordinate clause, that means that the verb stands at the end of the sentence. 
  • Trotzdem comes with the 2nd main sentence. 

Is there a Quiz to practice? 

Yes, you can find a Quiz for trotzdem or obwohl: here.

Is there a difference between dennoch and trotzdem? 

  • These two words are interchangeable. 

What should I know to learn these rules easily?

  • To understand the rules in an easy way, it makes sense to focus at the beginning on the rules of “obwohl” and “trotzdem”.

Do the German cases have an impact of this grammar topic? 

  • The cases in German are in general one of the most important grammar topics, but they never play a role for concessive clauses.

Article by Niko

Published 28 Jan 2024