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Questions in german

Questions are slightly different in German but like in English there are different ways of asking the same question.

Interrogatives

When asking a question remember to keep the verb as the second idea in your sentence. Visit the Verb second Revision Bite to learn more.

In some cases this is the case in English but not always – look at the word-for-word English versions.

  • Der Film beginnt but Wann beginnt der Film? When begins the film?
  • Ich muß warten but Warum muß ich warten? Why must I wait?
  • Das Schloss ist (hier) but Wo ist das Schloss? Where is the castle?

 

Useful vocabulary: interrogatives

Interrogative Translation
was What
welch-er, -e, -es Which
warum Why
wo Where
woher Where from
wohin Where to
wie How
wie alt How old
wie lange How long
wie oft How often
wieviel/wie viele How much/many
wann When
um wieviel Uhr At what time
wer Who
wen Whom
wessen Whose

Asking questions without interrogatives

You can ask a question without an interrogative by placing the verb at the front.

 

Avoid interrogatives by placing verb at the front

Verb in use Verb at front Translation
Du kannst tanzen Kannst du tanzen? Can you dance?
Sie ist deine Freundin Ist sie deine Freundin? Is she your girlfriend?
Du hast einen Kuli Hast du einen Kuli? Have you a pen?
Er besucht seine Oma Besucht er seine Oma? Does he visit his granny? (Visits he his granny?)
Du gehst schwimmen Gehst du schwimmen? Do you go swimming? (Go you swimming?)

 

Common mistakes made by English speakers

  • Mixing up wo (where) and wer (who).
  • Making questions with an over-complicated structure (like English).

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