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Get nosy: Information questions in German Posted by on Jun 8, 2012 in Language

When you learn a new language, you often might feel a bit insecure. You only know a limited number of words and you have only a sketchy understanding of grammar. You point to things and ask “Was ist das?” (vAs ist dAs? – What is that?) or ask “Was bedeutet das?” (vAs be-doy-tuht dAs? – What does that mean?). Somehow you resemble a child who is just learning his mother language. So, try to be a child again and ask as many questions as necessary. Even someone with a limited knowledge of a language can convey a broad range of meaning. With the questions or questions words below you can get detailed information about what you would like to know.

German

Pronunciation

English

mit wem mit vem with whom
um wieviel Uhr oom vee-feel ooR at what time
von wem fon vem of/about/from whom
wann vAn when
warum/wieso/weshalb va-Rum/vee-soh/ves-hAlp why
was vAs what
wer ver who
wie vee how
wie lange vee lAn-ge how long
wieviel vee-feel how much; how many
wo voh where
woher voh-heR from where
wohin voh-hin where (to)
womit/mit was voh-mit/mit vAs with what
worüber voh-Rüh-buhR about what
wovon/ von was voh-fon/ fon vAs of/about/from what
zu wem tsoo vem to whom

 

Keep in mind

The interrogative pronouns (question word) wen and wem are used with a preposition to refer only to persons. The interrogative was refers to things and ideas.

You can also ‘create’ question words with “wo-” in order to ask for objects. You simply add the prefix wo- to a preposition, e.g. wo+für = wofür (for what) or wo+mit = womit (with what). Alternatively, you can ask “für was” instead of “wofür” and “mit was” instead of “womit”. Both are synonyms each.

 

Example sentences:

A: Wofür ist das Geschenk? / Für was ist das Geschenk? (For what is the present for?)
B: Das ist für Doreens Geburtstag. (It is for Doreen’s birthday.)

 

A: Wofür lernst du? / Für was lernst du? (For what are you studying?)
B: Ich lerne für den Test nächste Woche. (I’m studying for the test next week.)

 

A: Womit kochst du das Essen? / Mit was kochst … (With what do you cook the meal?)
B: Ich koche das Essen mit diesen Zutaten. (I cook the meal with these ingredients.)

 

A: Womit bereitest du dich auf den Test vor? (With what do you prepare yourself for the test?)
B: Ich bereite mich mit diesem Buch auf den Test vor. (I prepare myself for the test with this book.)
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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. Diana Anggajaya:

    Ich danke Ihnen für die Informationen. Ich lerne gerade Deutsch. Deutsch finde ich schwer, aber es gibt viel spaß. :))