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I've found the word stets in some statements and I've learned that it means always, just like immer.

What is the difference between stets and immer?

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Für mich gibt es keinen Unterschied in der Bedeuting von "immer" und "stets". –  Robert Jan 26 at 21:31
    
Duden says stets = immer, jederzeit so there can't be much of a difference. I was personally thinking a bit along stets = everytime vs. immer = all the time, but I doubt that this nuancing can really be backed by evidence. –  Hagen von Eitzen Jan 26 at 21:57
    
@Hagen i was thinking along the same lines, but i think i couldn't make my point clear in my answer:( –  Vogel612 Jan 27 at 0:28
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'stets' is just an old form of 'immer' –  falkb Jan 27 at 14:17
    
There is an adjective for "stets": "stetig". But nor for "immer". So you can be "ein stetiger Freund" or "ein stetiger Wind", but not the same for "immer". –  Hans Stricker Jan 27 at 20:50
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3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

stets:

as you mentioned it means: "always", personally I would prefer "whenever"
wiktionary gives two different meanings:

  1. zu jeder Zeit, immer
  2. bei jedem Anlass, jedes Mal, immer wieder

thus we can conclude, "stets" is more than immer about the instance of action.

Er war stets bemüht [...]
~Every time the writer saw him, he strived to [...]

immer:

again: "always", personally I believe as @Hagen von Eitzen said, one should translate as "all the time"
wiktionary here gives different meanings:

  1. zu jeder Zeit
  2. in häufig wiederkehrenden Intervallen
  3. immer wenn: jedesmal, wenn
  4. immer + Komparativ: weist auf eine sich zeitlich ändernde Intensität der Steigerung hin

from this we can conclude, that immer is primarily about some "period of time"

Er war immer bemüht [...]
~All the time he was striving to [...]

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Well, I've seen it in many places, for example messages on the door in WC... But it's in Bavaria... –  Lukasz Jan 26 at 20:06
    
@ŁukaszL. well bavaria is a different story.. also i come from Baden-Wuerttemberg. we are advanced there ;) –  Vogel612 Jan 26 at 20:12
    
Do you have anything to back up your personal feelings? –  Carsten Schultz Jan 27 at 13:08
    
@Carsten unfortunately not, but I have to admit, I didn't conduct further research –  Vogel612 Jan 27 at 13:09
    
So it is more elaborate but as well researched as the answer which you suggested to delete. –  Carsten Schultz Jan 27 at 15:04
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The normal word in spoken and written language is "immer". In written language you can find the variant "stets".

Frequent function words often have a variant to avoid repetition in written language. So in this case. If you use "stets" in spoken language it is a bit out of the normal.

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What about "stets zu Diensten"? Isn't it normal? Is it written language only? I don't think so. –  Em1 Jan 28 at 9:57
    
Yes, Stets zu Diensten is a fixed formula. It is a bit stiff and elevated style but it is used in spoken language in this form. –  rogermue Jan 28 at 10:04
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"Stets" has the connotation of "steadily" or "constantly." "Immer" is most often used as the translation for "always." They are similar in meaning, but not exactly the same.

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