German Language Stack Exchange is a bilingual question and answer site for speakers of all levels who want to share and increase their knowledge of the German language. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I’d like to know the differences between als and wenn when I want to talk about an specific time.

When should I use them?

In what situations would one of them be nonsense?

share|improve this question
up vote 23 down vote accepted
  • als
    is only used for single events in the past.

    Als ich noch jung war, …
    Als ich letztes Mal in Berlin war, …
    Als ich mich in deinen Vater verliebte, …
    Als es noch Dinosaurier gab, … (this could be a really long time)

  • wenn
    is used for repeated events in the past

    Immer wenn ich ihn besuchte, …
    Jedes Mal, wenn wir zusammen waren, …

  • For present and future always use wenn

share|improve this answer
But be careful when you use the phrase 'wann auch immer' ! Despite being 'temporal' this expression is using 'wann' instead of 'wenn' ;-) – mramosch Sep 15 '15 at 15:36


Gestern, als wir uns trafen.
Morgen, wenn wir uns wiedersehen.

Only use als to specify events in the past, and wenn for future events.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.