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"Trotz" is usually used as "despite", and "trotzdem" is "nevertheless", but:

  • What is the grammatical difference?

  • Where does the verb go for "trotz" and where does it go for "trotzdem"?

  • Do Germans use either of these when they speak or is it one of the two that you only use when you write?

  • Do you use a comma with these?

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Bit of a broad question, maybe split it up a bit? – Hackworth Jun 2 '12 at 8:07
up vote 7 down vote accepted

trotz is a preposition like the English despite:


Trotz ihrer Schmerzen konnte sie den Marathonlauf beenden.

Since commas aren't needed with prepositions you needn't set one even if the word order changes like in this sentence:

Thomas feuerte den Mitarbeiter trotz dessen großer Verdienste für die Firma.

trotzdem can be used as adverb or as conjunction (same meaning as obwohl - not used in Standard German anymore).

Example as adverb:

Obwohl ihm es sein Vater verboten hatte, sah sich Timmy den Horrorfilm trotzdem an.

In the sentence above "trotzdem" is redundant; normally it's used in single sentences. Example:

Der Vater warnte seinen Sohn vor dem Film. Timmy sah sich den Horrorfilm trotzdem an.

Example conjunction

Er fuhr mit dem Auto, trotzdem er wusste, dass es kaputt war.

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are you suppose to use genitive with trotz? – John Jun 2 '12 at 17:02
yes, Genitiv: trotz des starken Regens..., though in Southern Germany also Dativ; see… "Im Singular meist unflektiert, wenn das Nomen allein steht: trotz Regen" – splattne Jun 2 '12 at 18:31
I'd like to add that the conjunction-trotzdem has to be pronounced differently... it carries a string emphasis on -dem. The adverb has a stress on trotz- TROTZdem (adv.) trotzDEM (konj) ... Me personally I need the stress on DEM to be VERY strong in order to undestand the grammaticl structure right away... otherwise I would understand the adverb and later realize that it wasn't (based on sentence structure). – Emanuel Jun 2 '12 at 19:30
"Er fuhr mit dem Auto, trotzdem er wusste, dass es kaputt war." sounds a little cumbersome. "Obwohl er wusste" would be more appropriate. Although is a good translation for "obwohl" – AnyOneElse Aug 21 '13 at 13:13

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