German Question Words

This post sets out the key German question words. By the end of reading this post, you should be aware of the main German question words.

If you have any questions (or want to chat about learning German with me), feel free to get in contact!

This post focuses mainly on question words in the nominative case. Some question words change in other cases (e.g. the accusative, dative, genetive). I will explain this further in a future post.

Below are the main question words with some simple examples.

How to say ‘What?’ in German

  • Was = What?
  • Example: Was ist das? = What is that?

How to say ‘How?’ in German

  • Wie? = How?
  • Example: Wie alt bist du?  = How old are you? (informal singular ‘you’)

How to say ‘When?’ in German

  • Wann? = When?
  • Example: Wann kommst du an? = When do you arrive? (informal singular ‘you’)

How to say ‘Which?’ in German

  •  Welcher*? = Which (one)? (referring to a masculine singular noun)
  • Welches*?  = Which (one)? (referring to a neuter singular noun)
  • Welche*?  = Which (one)? (referring to a feminine noun)
  • Welche*? = Which (ones)? (referring to a plural noun)

Examples:

  • Welcher Mann wohnt dort? = Which man lives there? (‘Mann’ (man) is masculine & singular)
  • Welches Buch ist das? = Which book is that? (‘Buch’ (book) is neuter & singular)
  • Welche Frau ist hier? = Which woman is here? (‘Frau’ (woman) is feminine & singular)
  • Welche Bücher liest du? = Which books do you read? (‘Bücher’ (books) is plural)

* ‘Welcher?’, ‘Welches?’ and ‘Welche?’ may change in other cases (accusative/ dative/genitive), but we will discuss this and cases at a future date.

How to say ‘How much?’ in German

  • Wie viel? = How much?
  • Example: Wie viel kostet das? = How much does it cost?

How to say ‘How many?’

  • Wie viele? = How many?
  • Example: Wie viele Hunde hast du? = How many dogs do you have?

How to say ‘Why?’

  • Warum? = Why?
  • e.g. Warum bist du in England? = Why are you in England?

How to say ‘How come?’

  • Wieso? = How come?
  • Example: Wieso ist er in Irland? = How come he is in Ireland?

How to say ‘Where?’

  • Wo? = Where?
  • Example: Wo wohnst du? = Where do you live?

How to say ‘Where….to?’

  • Wohin? = Where to?
  • Example: Wohin gehst du? = Where do you go (to)?

How to say ‘Where ….from?’

  • Woher? = Where from?
  • Example: Woher kommst du? = Where do you come from?

How to say ‘Who/Whom, etc.?’

  • Wer? = Who? (nominative) – Subject
  • Example: Wer bist du? = Who are you?

[Note: In German ‘Wer?’ changes to ‘Wen?’ and ‘Wem?’ in certain circumstances. We will discuss the differences in a post in the future].

How to say ‘Whose?’

  • Wessen? = Whose?
  • Example: Wessen Buch ist das? = Whose book is that?

How to say ‘What kind of….?’

  • Was für….? = What kind of….?
  • Example: Was für ein Auto hast du? = What kind of car do you have?

[Note that ü = ue. This is a sound we do not really have in English, so is difficult to explain here].

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How to pronounce German question words

The main points on pronunciation relevant here:

  • In German ‘w‘is pronunced like ‘v‘ in English (e.g. Was? is pronunced like Vas?)
  • In German ‘v‘ is pronunced like a ‘f‘ (Wie viel? is pronunced Vie fiel?)
  • e‘ at the end of a word is pronunced like ‘er‘ in English (Welche? is pronunced Welcher?)
  • BUT when a word ends in ‘ie‘, it is pronunced as ‘ie‘ (Wie? is pronunced Vie?)

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Further Information

Feel free to contact me:

  • If you have any questions about German question words
  • Alternatively feel free to contact me about my German tuition services. (You can also see more information about my tuition services here).