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I would like to learn the grammar rules for using conjunctions like sodass, da, and darum in sentences such as these:

  • Sie hatte keine Zeit mehr anzurufen, sodass
  • Ich komme heute später, da
  • Ich muss heute lange arbeiten, darum

I have tried to look for websites that might answer my questions, but to no avail.

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Well in the first place, all these words have different meanings. Sodass means so that, darum means therefore and da means since, as or because.

So there are no rules, when to use which one. Maybe I can make it clear with comparing some examples with their english versions:

  1. Er stellte die Vase ans Fenster, sodass jeder sie sehen konnte.

    English version: He put the vase by the window so that everyone could see it.

  2. Ich komme heute später, da ich arbeiten muss.

    English version: I will come later today because I have to work.

  3. Ich muss heute lange arbeiten, darum kann ich nicht kommen.

    English version: I have to work longer today, therefore I will not come.

Bare in mind that I would split the two parts in sentence 3 into two separate sentences.

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Semantics

  • da expresses a causal relation and translates to english "since".

  • sodass expresses a causal relation, but describes an intention or telos. It translates to English "so" or "so, that".

  • darum translates to English "therefore".

Grammar

da and sodass are subordinating conjunctions. That means they introduce a subordinative clause, which has the finite verb in the last position:

Er stellt die Vase ins Fenster, sodass jeder[Subject] sie sieht[Finite Verb].

Jeder kann die Vase sehen, da sie[Subject] im Fenster steht[Finite Verb].

darum is not a conjunction, but a conjunctional adverb ("Konjunktionaladverb"). That means it is an adverb, which can take the place of a conjunction:

Darum ist er traurig.

Die Vase fällt herunter, darum ist[Finite Verb] er[Subject] traurig.

These are main clauses, which have the verb in second position.

However, darum can also be used just as an adverb:

Er[Subject] ist[Finite Verb] darum traurig.

It can take the place of a conjunction and introduces a main clause then. In this case, it pushes the subject of the main clause behind the verb, whose position is stable in second position.

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