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Alles Wichtiges steht in der Frage da oben, aber ich kann es auch ein bisschen erläutern.

In English when I'm describing a period of time in the past I usually say either,

"At this time...", "During this time...", or "In this time..."

When I think about finding equivalents for these phrases in German "Während dieser Zeit..." and "In dieser Zeit..." seem to cover the last two respectively.

As far as the first phrase goes, I have often noticed "Zu dieser Zeit..." being used in a manner that seems to give a rough equivalent. Is this correct to assume? Are there any nuances of meaning that "Zu dieser Zeit..." has which aren't covered by "At this time..."?

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You are correct: "Zu dieser Zeit…” is a good translation of “At this time…” and covers most nuances of meaning.
Another possibility would be "Zu jener Zeit" (at that time)

  • Short "Zur Zeit" is also possible. Dont confuse it with "zurzeit" though ;) – Alex Dec 18 '18 at 10:42
  • @Ales The question was about describing periods of time in the past – PiedPiper Dec 18 '18 at 23:57

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