Es waren zu viele Leute da

English Translation

There were too many people there.

How do we decide when to use “es war” instead of “es gab?”


Very good and difficult question!
That’s one of the things you never think about as a native speaker.

First of all, you don’t make a real mistake when you exchange one for the other.
The difference is really small and hard to pin down.

After going through examples in my mind, I tend to use “geben” in the sense of “exist”, mostly with uncountables, “sein” in the sense of “be present”.

“Es gab da zu viel Lärm.” vs. “Es waren zu viele Leute da.”

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That makes sense, thank you for the explanation!