I know that when the two connected sentences have the same subject, I should use um .. zu and when the subject is different damit. I was just reading a text in a german "Lehrbuch" when I saw the following sentence:

"Wir haben in der Arbeit doch so ein Team-Seminar gemacht, damit wir wieder ein starkes Team werden."

Could someone explain me why in this case damit was used since the subject is the same? (wir)

  • 3
    Never heard about the rule, and actually it's nonsense. It's true that "um...zu" is less flexible than "damit" and you can't switch the subject, but why should you 'avoid' using "damit" when having the same subject? There's no good reason whatsoever.
    – Em1
    Oct 25, 2014 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


This sentence seems to be spoken German and in spoken German you don't analyse whether the subject is the same or not. As "um zu + infinitive" and "damit" both express purpose in spoken language can occur "damit" where the speaker would use "um zu" when he would write the sentence.

In spoken language not all rules you can find in DAF textbooks are strictly observed. Please take in consideration that when speaking the mind is primarily occupied with formulating an idea. You don't have the printed version of what you say before your eyes and you don't construct your utterances as in printed books. A lot of sentences are interrupted and unfinished and a new sentence is attempted.


I think the rule is more like "if the subjects are different, you can't use 'um ... zu', and you must use 'damit'". I can come up with multiple examples where the subjects are the same, and one could use either "damit" or "um ... zu".

In your example, "damit" is more natural. It emphasizes that it's a goal, and not a more or less natural consequence.

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