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When to use different subordinating conj. that have the same meaning

I am curious to know  how to use these  conjuctions:

quand vs. lorsque - both meaning "when"

des que vs. aussitot que- both meaning "as soon as"

Are there situations where they are interchangable, or are they used only in specific situations?

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There's essentially not much in it. In the case of lorsque:

- lorsque is a bit more formal than quand

- lorsque tends to be used, rather than quand, in expressing "generalities", e.g. lorsqu'il s'agit de... = when it comes to...

 

In dès que and aussitôt que, I think there's basically no difference. Possibly aussitôt que "spells things out a bit more", whereas dès que is a bit more "short and elegant", but in terms of the actual time reference, I'm not aware of any commentators pointing to any particular difference. There are differences in the grammaticality/acceptability of related constructions (e.g. aussitôt habillé, il a pris le petit-déjeuner appears to be more accepted than dès qu'habillé, il a pris le petit-déjeuner (and note the que in one case but not the other), and dès habillé, il a pris le petit-déjeuner is simply ungrammatical as far as I'm aware).

I do know that lors'que is never used to frame a question. When did you first go to Paris? is Quand es-tu allé à Paris la 1ere fois?

I prefer lors'que in constructions such as It hurts when I laugh -- in fact I was taught originally that quand would be incorrect in such a sentence. Recently (in this forum, I think) that has been questioned.

 

Ups, yes absolutely, I forgot to mention that very important difference!

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