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I want to say

So, I still don’t understand this. Why did you do it that way?

I think the two most appropriate words for so are the German so and also. But I’m not sure about the word ordering.

(a1) So, ich verstehe dies noch nicht. Warum hast du es in dieser Weise gemacht?

(a2) So verstehe ich dies noch nicht. …

(b1) Also, ich verstehe dies noch nicht. …

(b2) Also verstehe ich dies noch nicht. …

Which ones are correct?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted
  1. As a conjunction or as an adverb, so is sometimes translated as so in German. In your case, however, it's an interjection, which is used after a short pause; here to pick up the topic again in order to pose a further question.
    As a interjection it is always translated as also (which is never translated as also from German to English).

  2. In German it's not that common to say dies and jenes as you would use this and that in English. You should simply say das.

  3. As this is a normal main clause, the word order is still: subject (=Ich), predicate (=versteh nicht), object (=das/dies). Of course, nicht moves to the end of the sentence as you already did.

Also, ich versteh' das noch nicht. Warum hast du das auf diese Art und Weise gemacht?

If you want to stress the object you can change the word order. You put the object in the first place and switch subject and verb:

Also, das versteh ich nicht.

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My translations for

"So, I still don't understand this. Why did you do it that way?"

are

"Also, ich verstehe das immer noch nicht. Warum hast du das so gemacht?"

"Also, das verstehe ich immer noch nicht. Warum hast du das so gemacht?"

My apologies for the "so" in the second sentence, it's not meant to muddy the waters. As Em1 said, you'd pick the second version to emphasize that a particular problem is hard; the first one expresses a personal lack of understanding.

However, I have known people start similar sentences with "So, ..." or "Na, ..." rather than "Also, ...". There are regional, personal, and situational preferences at play.

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(b2) is correct for „also“ with the meaning of “hence”. (b1) is nearer to your English sentence. (a1) would not be said at all, (a2) has the same meaning as „Ich verstehe das so noch nicht.“ That is not what you want.

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Can’t agree with (a1) not being said at all, see the last paragraph of divby0’s answer. –  Jan Jun 7 at 22:15

Also means so and it doesn't change the word order, however words such as weil and wenn do. E.g. Also ich mache Karten.

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1  
That's not generally true. In some cases, also can be used as an independent part of the sentence (and then needs to be surrounded by commas). Normally however, it does change the word order: Also mache ich Karten (whatever that is supposed to mean). –  chirlu Jun 7 at 9:50

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