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Is there any difference in use and meaning of also and deshalb?

They look the same to me. Can we use them interchangeably?

Also finde ich das Auto gut.

Deshalb finde ich das Auto gut.

  • 2
    Welcome to German Language SE and thank you for your question. While I would consider your question answerable, you probably get better answers if you edit it to elaborate, what you understood so far, e.g., by stating what you found in a dictionary. – Wrzlprmft Aug 6 '16 at 7:04
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While also and deshalb are often interchangeable, fundamentally, there is a difference. Namely, also originally indicates conclusion, whereas deshalb indicates causality. Hence, we could list analogues as follows:

also : thus, hence (and interjections, such as "well")

deshalb: therefore, because of that,...

Consider the following examples:

Er trägt das rote Wappen, also ist er ein Lancaster. -- He wares the crimson coat of arms, hence he is a Lancaster.

the red coat has nothing to do with the reason he is a Lancaster.

Er wurde in Lancashire als Leibeigner geboren, deshalb dient er den Lancasters-- He was born a bondservant in Lancashire, therefore he serves the Lancasters.

A causal relationship can usually be framed as a conclusion, hence deshalb can usually be replaced by also, while the opposite is less commonly true and often a (small and common) act of sloppiness.

However, the sentence order:

Also finde ich das Auto gut.

is valid only for conclusions and in the order:

Also, ich finde das Auto gut.

also is always an interjection.

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In this example, the two are indeed interchangeable. Both express a relation of cause and effect, with 'deshalb' putting a bit more emphasis on the 'cause-and-effect' part.

The 'Also' sentence sounds a tad more informal and weaker, so I would hesitate to use 'also' in a mathematical proof where only very strict causation is expressed (either it does follow, or it does not follow -- no medium allowed). However, for anything not as strict as a written mathematical proof or a formal law text, you can use them interchangeably in this meaning.

However, while 'deshalb' can only be used for cause and effect, 'also' can also have different uses (dict.leo.org)

As a colloquial filler:

Also, das habe ich nicht gewusst!

Wow / Really / Well, I didn't know that!

Sie gibt mir also 30 Cent und ich soll davon ein Mittagessen kaufen.

So she gives me like 30 cents and I am supposed to buy lunch from that.

Or as emphasis:

Er hat also doch die Schokolade gegessen.

He did eat the chocolate after all.

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    Erm, my English isn't that well, but I wouldn't add "like" in the 30-Cent example. It feels to me like that "like" implies an approximation, but this is definitely not the meaning of "also" in the German sentence. If that, however, was your intended meaning, you could add "so" to the German sentence. "Sie gibt mir also so 30 Cent". Or does "like" have yet another meaning I'm unaware of that is used in combination with "so" to imply "hence, thus"? – Em1 Aug 8 '16 at 13:53
  • I'm only two years late responding, but yes, you are absolutely right. The use of "like" in this sentence is ambiguous because it can - correctly - be used in this way to indicate approximation. However, I suspect that this was not its intended use in the sentence above and it is, in fact, completely redundant. It's just fashionable at the moment to stick 'like' into every sentence as often as you possibly can. This adds nothing to the meaning and is best omitted. – Poppy2020 Jun 17 '18 at 11:07
  • also indeed has a meaning of "like", but it is archaic - See John 3/16: *Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt, ..." – tofro Jun 17 '18 at 15:49
  • @Em1, Poppy2020: There's no ambiguity here. "like" in this sentence is definitely an (annoying, at least to me) form of slang, commonly used by kids. It doesn't have the usual meaning of "like" at all -- it doesn't really mean anything, it just adds a kind of emphasis to the next phrase. It's not often written down, but when it is, it's usually written with a comma before and after, though. – j_random_hacker Dec 13 '18 at 16:54
  • @j_random_hacker If so, why is it highlighted in bold? I don't think that OP added this as a filler. – Em1 Dec 13 '18 at 20:08

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