What "dabei" is for in the "sehen Sie dabei nicht ins Bildlexikon" sentence?

And what is its meaning here?

  • Did you have a look into a dictionary? Which possible meanings did you find? Which question is still open? We don't want to compete with dictionaries. Commented May 24, 2019 at 16:20

2 Answers 2


Presumably, there is a previous sentence like

Lösen Sie die folgende Aufgabe/Lesen Sie den folgenden Text. Sehen Sie dabei nicht ins Bildlexikon

Dabei refers to the previous sentence. It can be translated as

Read the following text. While doing so, do not look into the visual dictionary.


Those hier- and da-words are backreferencing adverbs made from a preposition.

Er telefoniert beim Fahren.

Er fährt. Er telefoniert dabei.

The preposition bei can take a nominalized infinitive. It's a description of a continous action happening during the action of the finite verb. Dabei serves the same purpose, but references a previous clause for the "backdrop" action.

Ergänzen Sie die fehlenden Wörter. Sehen Sie dabei nicht ins Bildlexikon.

So, this dabei references another action in a previous clause. For example solving a problem.

Sehen Sie beim Ergänzen der fehlenden Wörter nicht ins Bildlexikon.

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