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What does the ADUSO rule mean in German?

The ADUSO rule is short for the following conjunctions:

  • aber
  • denn
  • und
  • sondern
  • oder

What do these conjunctions have in common?

They are called coordinating conjunctions, that is, they connect two main phrases.

These conjunctions occupy the so-called zero position of the phrase, I explain it below with some examples.

This type of conjunctions can also be used in other grammatical contexts.

The conjunctions aber, denn and sondern are always separated by commas when they have coordinating conjunctions function.

For example the word aber can also be used to reinforce a context:

Der Hund ist (aber) sehr groB

Examples of the ADUSO rule in German.


Main phrase                  Position 0      other main phrase


Klaus trinkt keine Cola,  aber           er trinkt Limonade

Klaus doesn’t drink Cola, but he drinks lemonade


Klaus trinkt keine Cola, sondern       er trinkt Limonade

Klaus doesn’t drink Cola, he drinks lemonade


Peter spielt Tennis          und             er spielt Basketball

Peter plays tennis and plays basketball


Stefanie schläft,             denn             sie ist müde

Stefanie sleeps because she’s tired


In the case that the verb or the subject of the two main sentences are identical, they can be omitted in the second main sentence, except for the conjunction “denn”.



Peter ist 10 Jahre alt, aber er wiegt schon 100 Kilo

The subject is identical, so you can omit “er” in the second main sentence

Peter ist 10 Jahre alt, aber wiegt schon 100 Kilo

Sabine hat eine Katze und hat einen Hund

The verb “haben” is identical in the two main sentences so it can be omitted:

Sabine hat eine Katze und einen Hund

This has been all about the ADUSO rule in German

Tobias Woelke

German teacher online