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Easy ways to ask questions in German Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Grammar, Language, Practice

In order to be able to ask questions in German it is not necessary that you know a particular sentence structure for questions. There are several easy ways to start off your question formation.

 

I. Intonation

One way of asking questions in German easily is intonation. Just like in English, and probably in many other languages too, you can simply indicate that you are asking a question by raising your voice slightly at the end of a sentence (statement), instead of lowering it.

Compare:

Du denkst and die Reise. – You are thinking about the trip.

Du denkst and die Reise? – Are you thinking about the trip?

 

II. The tag “nicht wahr”

Another way of forming questions in German is by adding the tag nicht wahr to your statement – which equals English “do you?”, “doesn’t it”, “are you”, etc.

1. Du denkst an die Reise, nicht wahr? – You are thinking about the trip, aren’t you?

2. Du bist nicht müde, nicht wahr? – You are not tired, are you?

3. Du magst Kaffee, nicht wahr? – You like coffee, don’t you?

4. Du magst keine Äpfel, nicht wahr? – You don’t like apples, do you?

 

III. Inversion

A third and easy way to form questions on German is inversion. All you have to do is to reverse the word order of the subject noun or pronoun and the conjugated form of the verb. In English inversion is used all the time, e.g. with the addition of the auxiliary verb do/does.

Compare:

They (do) eat pie. -> Do they eat pie?

She (does) like/s apples. -> Does she like apples?

 

Here are some German sentences:

1a) Du gehst nach Hause. – You are going home.

1b) Gehst du nach Hause? – Are you going home?

 

2a) Sie spricht Deutsch. – She speaks German.

2b) Spricht sie Deutsch? – Does she speak German?

 

3a) Sie fahren nach Hamburg. – They are going to Hamburg.

3b) Fahren sie nach Hamburg? – Are they going to Hamburg?

 

4a) Er trink Bier. – He is drinking beer.

4b) Trinkt er Bier? – Is he drinking beer?

 

Exercise:

Now it is your turn. See whether you can use inversion to provide the questions for the following statements. Good luck! 🙂

1)   Das Ticket kostet 250 Euro. (The ticket costs 250 Euros.)

2)   Das ist der Terminal für internationale Flüge. (This is the terminal for international flights.)

3)   Die Flugnummer steht auf dem Ticket. (The flight number is indicated on the ticket.)

4)   Es gibt Toiletten auf dieser Etage. (There are bathrooms on this floor.)

5)   Der Flug dauert zwei Stunden. (The flight is two hours long.)

6)   Das Abendessen ist mitinbegriffen. (The evening meal is included.)

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About the Author:Sandra Rösner

Hello everybody! I studied English and American Studies, Communication Science, and Political Science at the University of Greifswald. Since I have been learning English as a second language myself for almost 20 years now I know how difficult it is to learn a language other than your native one. Thus, I am always willing to keep my explanations about German grammar comprehensible and short. Further, I am inclined to encourage you to speak German in every situation. Regards, Sandra


Comments:

  1. Simone:

    Hi Sandra,

    Great website, but there is a spelling mistake. It should be “Du denkst an die Reise” not “Du denkst and die Reise” 🙂