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Ich skype mit meinen Freunden und zugleich surfe ich im Internet.

I am skyping with my friends and surfing the internet at the same time.

Can I also use gleichzeitig in this context? Or are they interchangeable? What is the difference between zugleich and gleichzeitig?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Zugleich and gleichzeitig mean the same thing, i.e. zur gleichen Zeit. There is no significant difference in my opinion.

Lately "zeitgleich" has been used a lot as well. Prescriptivists will tell you that this only means "with the same time", however (in a race, e.g., finishing ex aequo).

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Which one is often used? My friends always use gleichzeitig more than zugleich. – DerPolyglott33 Apr 30 '14 at 11:18
Well observed, @DerPolyglott33. "Gleichzeitig" is more common in spoken German. – elena Apr 30 '14 at 11:39
Good that you mentioned "zeitgleich", as this really is often confused with "gleichzeitig". – Em1 Apr 30 '14 at 11:47
Zugleich is something that you used when you instruct a group of people to do something at the same the. Like sailors putting a sail on a boat. Its in old movies about sailing or pirates. A translation of zugleich would be "all together N0W" – Matthias May 1 '14 at 19:42
It's not about doing things together. Just as you said, those appearances are in old movies that use marineers jargon. – Max Ried May 2 '14 at 8:53

The difference is strictly between levels of formality/register. Present-day spoken German is more likely to use "gleichzeitig" rather than "zugleich" (even though it's longer!).

"zugleich" might be somewhat more likely to convey a figurative rather than a temporal meaning, as in "while" (although) vs. "while" (simultaneously), but such nuances are usually subjective and subtle.

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That's what I thought.Thanks! – DerPolyglott33 Apr 30 '14 at 11:21
Personally I'd use either of them equally likely. Both are certainly correct. – Ingmar Apr 30 '14 at 11:23

Yes, they mean the same thing, though "zugleich" sounds more right for points in time while "gleichzeitig" can also be used for extended events.

source: native speaker

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If you want to use "gleichzeitig", you should write "Ich skype mit meinen Freunden und surfe gleichzeitig im Internet"

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How does this answer the question? – Em1 May 1 '14 at 11:34

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