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?


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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  • 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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