I found the following sentence in the book "150 short stories for Begginers": "Wir helfen uns während des Unterrichts gegenseitig." I understand that "während" governs dative case, so shouldn´t it be "während dem Untericht" instead? In this sentence, looks like the author used genitive instead... but genitive case wouldn´t help the sentence make any sense either.. can you help clarify?


1 Answer 1


You understood wrong. The preposition während requires genitive. But most German dialects never adopted genitive for a lot of its uses in Standard German and so dative is common in speech.

  • 1
    German Wiktionary says "Das Wort während ist recht jung. Von Beginn an wurde die Präposition sowohl mit dem Genitiv als auch mit dem Dativ verwendet. Heute gilt der Genitiv als hochsprachlich korrekt und der Dativ als umgangssprachlich, doch war das nicht immer so: So verwenden etwa Goethe und Lessing während ganz selbstverständlich auch mit Dativ." I gather it's a "Yes, it's technically correct but no one I know actually talks that way" situation.
    – RDBury
    Commented Oct 25, 2023 at 20:10
  • @RDBury: I think Wiktionary is not entirely correct: the word "während" looks like originally being the Partizip Praesens of the Verb "währen", which is approximately a synonym for "andauern". for instance "Die Liebe währet ewiglich" (I. Kunath). Since "währen" is not particularily young at all, its inflected form shouldn't be either, no?
    – bakunin
    Commented Oct 30, 2023 at 13:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.