Basic German Question Words

Learning a new language involves understanding its basic structures and question words. In German, like in English, question words are essential for asking questions and obtaining information. Let’s dive into some of the basic German question words and their uses to help you start forming questions for everyday conversations.

Wer? translates to “who” in English and is used to inquire about people.
Wer ist das? (Who is that?)

Was? means “what.” This question word is employed to ask about objects, concepts, and actions.
Was machst du? (What are you doing?)

Wo? translates to “where.” It is used to ask about the location of something or someone.
Wo wohnst du? (Where do you live?)

Wohin? means “where to” and it is used to ask for the destination of movement or direction.
Wohin gehst du? (Where are you going to?)

Woher? translates to “where from.” This word is used to inquire about the origin of someone or something.
Woher kommst du? (Where do you come from?)

Warum? means “why.” It asks for reasons or causes behind an action or situation.
Warum lernst du Deutsch? (Why are you learning German?)

Wann? translates to “when.” Use this word to ask about the time or date when something occurs.
Wann beginnt der Film? (When does the movie start?)

Wie? means “how.” This question word can be used to inquire about manner, condition, or quality.
Wie geht es dir? (How are you?)

Wie viel? stands for “how much” and is used for uncountable quantities.
Wie viel kostet das? (How much does it cost?)

Wie viele? translates to “how many” and is used when asking about countable quantities.
Wie viele Geschwister hast du? (How many siblings do you have?)

Welcher/Welche/Welches? is the equivalent of “which” in English, but unlike English, it changes according to the gender and case of the noun it accompanies.
Welches Buch liest du? (Which book are you reading?)
Welche Farbe magst du? (Which color do you like?)
Welcher Tag ist heute? (Which day is today?)

Wessen? means “whose” and asks about possession or ownership.
Wessen Stift ist das? (Whose pen is this?)

By mastering these basic German question words, you’ll be on your way to engaging in more meaningful and inquisitive conversations. Like any other aspect of language learning, practice makes perfect. Use these question words to start forming your own questions in German, and you’ll be asking “Wo ist die Bibliothek?” (Where is the library?) in no time!

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