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Can I use trotzdem instead of obwohl? For example:

  1. Trotzdem er krank war, ging er noch zur Arbeit.

  2. Obwohl er krank war, ging er noch zur Arbeit.

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obwohl and trotzdem don't really have similar enough meanings to compare. The first one says "Despite the fact he was sick, he still went to work" and the second one says "Although he was sickly/ailing, he still went to work" (I think you may be using kränklich, in a manner that assumes a meaning different than the one you intended). This sentences have similar meanings, but are not exact enough to compare, in my opinion. – thekeyofgb Dec 25 '13 at 5:02
up vote 7 down vote accepted

Agreeing with thekeyofgb's comment, it is not apparent that they are similar. But in used in their right place, they convey the same effect:

  1. Er war krank. Trotzdem ging er zur Arbeit.

  2. Obwohl er krank war, ging er zur Arbeit.

There is a third (at least) possibility trotz+(Genitiv) (with Dativ is used in Switzerland more often)

Trotz seiner Krankheit ging er zur Arbeit.


Er ging trotz seiner Krankheit zur Arbeit.

According to wiktionary the order you put the sentence in, is also allowed, but it is umgangssprachlich:

Trotzdem er krank war, ging er zur Arbeit. (umg. and pronounced [tʀɔʦˈdeːm])

I must say that I've never heard the trotzdem in this subjunctional use. The pronunciation remark, added by Emanuel, is that the second syllable should be stressed if trotzdem is intended with this meaning (opposite to [ˈtʀɔʦdeːm], the adverb.)

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If we use noch we need to explain why we use it. As it is now, we should better leave it out. – Takkat Dec 25 '13 at 8:57
@Takkat you're right. It's kind of redundant, I guess. – c.p. Dec 25 '13 at 9:07
@takkat i thought trotzdem was used in formal registers because Thomas Mann always used it in his writings. – DerPolyglott33 Dec 25 '13 at 9:12
@DerPolyglott33 both trotzdem, and obwohl are common but with trotzdem you need a reason to come before, with obwohl the reason comes after it. – Takkat Dec 25 '13 at 9:16
The difference between the normal "trotzdem" (adverb) and the verb last one "subord. Conj." is stress... TROTZdem vs. trotzDEM. If this stress is not made clearly, people will not understand the "trotzdem" to be the second one and the sentence will sound wrong and change the meaning. I have my doubts as to whether it is umgangssprachlich but that aside, I'd recommend adding the stress-part to the answer as it is really really crucial – Emanuel Dec 25 '13 at 15:34

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