Kathyzworld who is she

Basic questions in German

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(Asking questions in German with interrogative pronouns)


How to ask questions in German?

Questions in German can be of two types:

  1. With an interrogative pronoun, e.g. What do you do? (What do you do? What are you doing?) They are also called W questions (W-questions), because all of the Interrogative pronouns and adverbs start with W.
  2. Without an interrogative pronoun, e.g. Are you a doctor? (Are you a doctor?) They are also called Yes or no questions (yes-no question), as their answer can be given in yes or no.

When a question is asked with an interrogative pronoun, the verb comes after the interrogative element in the sentence while in a question without an interrogative pronoun, the verb comes as the first element. In fact, in W questions (W questions in german), the verb is still the first element of a sentence because it is considered that all interrogative pronouns (W-pronouns) don't occupy any position i.e. their position is the sentence is 0. This lesson is covers questions with interrogative pronouns. From previous lessons, we know that the German present tense can have meanings of both, English present indefinite and present continues tenses.

Interrogative pronouns in German

German interrogative pronouns are:

W-questions examples

Please see the following explanations and examples of W questions.

1. What? (what?)

"What" is used when a question is about a thing in the nominative or accusative case.
Prominent words used in the below examples are explained after every topic.

What's this? (What is this?) - This is a plant. (This is a plant.)

What are you doing here? (What are you doing here?) - I'm not doing anything here. (I don't do anything here at all.)

What are you looking for? (What are you looking for?) - I'm looking for my glasses. (I am looking for my glasses.)

What is your brother eating (What is your brother eating?) - He's eating the pizza. (He is eating the pizza.)

What is she drinking? (What is she drinking?) - I think apple juice. (I think, apple juice.)

What is there? (What is there?) - This is my pen. (That is my pen.)

What does it say (What is there?) - This is my toothbrush. (That is my toothbrush.)

Words used in the above examples
do (to do), I do, you do, he / she / it does, we do, you do, you do, they do.
to look for, to search, I search, you are looking, he / she / it is looking, we are looking, you are looking, they are looking, they are looking.
to eat, I eat, you eat, he / she / it eats, we eat, you eat, you eat, they eat.
to drink, I drink, you drink, he / she / it drinks, we drink, you drink, they drink, they drink.
to lie (of something), lie on its side, be located), I lie, you lie, he / she / it lies, we lie, you lie, you lie, they lie.
to stand, be upstanding, I stand, you stand, he / she / it stands, we stand, you stand, you stand, they stand.
the plant, the glasses, not at all, the pizza, apple juice, the apple, the juice, the pen, the toothbrush, the tooth, the brush.

Difference between lying and standing

When something lies on a horizontal surface the question would be asked with the verb “haben”, e.g. what lies ...?
If something is in an upstanding (vertical) position, then the verb “Stand” would be used to ask about it, e.g. what is ...?

Use of "was" with modal verbs

Model verb remains in the second position in the question and its dependent infinitive is pushed at the end of the sentence.

What does this mean? (What does this mean?) This is an exercise. (It is an exercise.)

What shall we do now? (What shall we do now?) You should practice a lot now. (You should practice a lot now.)

What do you want to eat? (What do you want to eat?) I want to eat a pizza. (I want to eat a pizza.)

What does he want to drink? (What does he want to drink?) He just wants to drink apple juice. (He only wants to drink apple juice.)

What do I have to lie there? (What do I have to place there?) Please put my pen there. (Please place my pen there.)

to exercise, I practice, you practice, he / she / it practices, we practice, you practice, you practice, they practice.
the exercise (a lot, many, much).

Use of "was" as "something"

"What" is also used in the scene of "something". In that case, the verb is the first element in the sentence. A pronoun or a noun is the second element. If there is a time or place in such a question, it is placed at the end of the question. Please see the rearrangements of the above questions.

verbPronoun"Was" as compliment
SearchyouWhat?
Are you looking forsomething?
Do you look forsomething?


Are you doing something? (Do you do something? Are you doing something?)

Are you doing something here? (Do you do something here? Are you doing something here?)

Are you doing something important? (Do you do something important? Are you doing something important?)
important

In fact when "was" is used as something it is the short form of the word "something", which also means "something". The above sentence can also be asked with the word "something", For example:


Are you doing something? (Do you do something? Are you doing something?)

Are you doing something here? (Do you do something here? Are you doing something here?)

Are you making something important? (Do you do something important? Are you doing something important?)

Is your brother eating something? (Does your brother eat something? Is your brother eating something?)

2. Why ?, why? (why?)

“Why” and “why” are used to ask the reason for something. For example:

Why do you work in Berlin and not in Frankfurt? (Why do you work in Berlin and not in Frankfurt?) - I live next to Berlin. (I live near Berlin.)

Why doesn't he work today? (Why he does not work today? Why is he not working today?) - He's sick today. (He is ill today.)

Why are you late? (Why are you late? Why are you coming so late?) - My car is broken. (My car is broken.)

Why is the car so much red? (Why the car has so much red color?) - I like red color. (I like red color.)

Why do you ask? (Why do you ask? Why are you asking?) - Who does not ask remains stupid. (Who dont asks stays dump.)

Why do you ask so many questions? (Why are you asking so many questions? Why do you ask so many questions?) - I don't know. (I do not know.)

Words used in above examples
to work I work, you work, he / she / it works, we work, you work, you work, they work.
to ask I ask, you ask, he / she / it asks, we ask, you ask, they ask, they ask.
I stay, you stay, he / she / it stays, we stay, you stay, you stay, they stay.
today, too (too), too late (too late), much (much), so much (so much), the color (color), red (red), to ask a question.
to put (to put, to place, to lay) I put, you put, he / she / it puts, we put, you put, you put, they put.

Examples of "why" and "wieso" with modal verbs:

Why should i come tomorrow (Why should I come tomorrow?) - We have a lot of work tomorrow. (We have a lot of work tomorrow.)

Why shouldn't everyone come the day after tomorrow? (Why should not everyone come the day after tomorrow?) - The day after tomorrow is the holiday. (The day after tomorrow is the holiday.)

Why should he only come tonight? (Why should only he come tonight?) - Tonight we only need one person. (Tonight we only need one person.)

The doctor says, "why am I eating too much bread?" (The doctor says, "why am I eating too much bread?")

Why do I have to answer all the questions? (Why do I have to answer all questions?) - You can only answer two questions. (You can answer only two questions.)

Words used in above examples
tomorrow as adjective, morning as noun, day after tomorrow, holiday, festival, bread.
to come I come, you come, he / she / it comes, we come, you come, you come, they come.
to answer I answer, you answer, he / she / it answers, we answer, you answer, you answer, they answer.

3. Who? (who?)

“Who” is used when a question is asked about a person in the nominative case.

Who are you? (Who are you?) I'm a doctor. (I am a doctor.)

Who are you? (Who are you?) - I am your friend. (I am your friend.)

Who is looking for me? (Who is looking for me? Who looks for me?) - Your father is looking for you. (Your father is looking for you.)

Who always eats my bread? (Who always eats my bread?) - Maybe a mouse always eats your bread.

Who is there? (Who is standing there?) - There stands a police officer.

Use of "who" as whoever:

It is your own fault who does not come. (whoever does not come should blame himself.)

Who dont asks stays dump. (Whoever don’t asks stays dump.)

to remain, to blame oneself

Examples with model verbs

Who should come tomorrow (Who should come tomorrow?) - Everyone should come tomorrow. (Everyone should come tomorrow.)

Who else has to eat? (Who else has to eat?) - Thomas still has to eat. (Thomas has still to eat.)

"Noch" is giving the meaning of "else" and "still".

4. Who? (whom?)

"Whom" is the accusative form of "who". It's used to ask questions in the accusative.

Who do you ask? (Whom are you asking?) - I ask you. (I am asking you.)

Who are you looking for? (Whom are you searching for?) - I'm looking for my brother. (I'm looking for my brother.)

Who does he see (Whom does he see?) - He sees his father. (He looks / sees his father.)

Who are you hunting? (Whom are you chasing?) - I'm chasing a thief. (I am chasing a thief.)

Who you love? (Whom do you love?) - Why do you ask such questions? (Why do you ask such questions?)

Examples with modal verbs:

Who should I ask? (Whom should I ask?)

Who do you want to see (Whom you want to see?)

Who does he want to look for? (whom he wants to look for?)

Important words in above examples
see (to see) I see, you see, he / she / it sees, we see, you see, you see, they see.
hunt (to chase, to hunt) I hunt, you hunt, he / she / it hunts, we hunt, you hunt, they hunt, they hunt
to love (to love) I love, you love, he / she / it loves, we love, you love, you love, you love
to ask a question

5. Where? (Where?)

“Where” is the question about place.

Where do you live (Where do you live?) - I live in Berlin. (I live in Berlin.)

Where do you live (where do they live?) - You live in Frankfurt. (They live in Frankfurt.)

Where do they work? (Where do you work?) - I work in Munich. (I work in Munich.)

Where is your school? (Where is your school?) - My school is in the city center. (My school is in the city center.)

Where is the university (Where is the university?) - The university is straight ahead. (The university is straight ahead.)

Where is the train station? (Where is the train station?) - Turn left from here, then around the corner is the train station. (Go left from here, then around the corner is train station.)

Vocabulary from above examples
the school, the university, the train station, the city center, the city, the center, the pen, straight ahead,
to wait I wait, you wait, he / she / it is waiting, we are waiting, you are waiting, you are waiting, they are waiting.

Examples of "wo" with modal verbs

Where should i look for you (Where should I look for you?)

Where do I have to lay the pen? (Where should I place the pen?)

Where can i wait (Where can I wait?)

6. Where from? (where from?)

The interrogative pronoun “Wo” has many variations. The most important two are “where from” and “where to”. “Where from” is used when a question is asked about the origin of a person or thing.

Where are you from? (Where are you from? Polite form) - I'm from Canada. (I'm from Canada.)

Where are you from? (Where are you from? Familier form) - I come from Kaiserslautern. (I am from Kaiserslautern.)

Where is your wife from (Where is your wife from? Familier form) - She is from Spain. (She is from Spain.)

Where is your wife from (Where is your wife from? Polite form) - She comes from Italy. (She is from Italy.)

Where are these students from? (Where are these students from?) - They come from different countries. (They are from different countries.)

“Where from” has rare use with modal verbs. It is only used with modal verbs in specific situations. See the below conversation.

Where are you from? (Where are you from?)
I am from Japan. (I am from Japan.)
They don't look Japanese. (You don't look Japanese)
Then what do you think, where should I come from? (What do you think then, where should I come from?)

7. Where to? (Where to?)

“Wohin” comes in the question when the destination is asked.

Where are you going today? (Where are you going today?) - Nowhere, I'm just going home. (Nowhere, I'm just going home.)

Where does this train go? (Where does this train go? Where this train is going?) - This train goes to Berlin. (This train goes to Berlin.)

Where are you running to (Where are you going? Where are you running?) - after Uni. (to university.)

Where are you running to (Where are you running?) - I just jog. (I'm just jogging.)

Vocabulary from the above examples
to drive, to travel, I drive, you drive, he / she / it drives, we drive, you drive, they drive, they drive.
go (to go), I go, you go, he / she / it goes, we go, you go, you go, they go.
to go, to run, to walk, I run, you run, he / she / it runs, we run, you run, you run, they run.
to run, I run, you run, he / she / it runs, we run, you run, they run, they run.
Nowhere, so nowhere, after (to) a preposition that takes dative case.

Examples with modal verbs:

Where should I go today? (Where should I go today?)

Where do you have to go today (Where do you have to go today?)

8. How? (How?)

English questions that start with the interrogative pronoun “how” can be asked with “wie” in German normally. It's also used to ask someone's name or condition.

What's your name? (What is your name?) - My name is Thomas Hage. (My name is Thomas Hage.)

What's your name? (What is your name?) This way of asking name is not popular in German. - (My name is Monika Schiller.) My name is Monika Schiller.

How are you? (How are you?) It's normally asked in short form, "How are you?" or informally just "How are you?" - fine, and you? (fine and what about you?)

How are you going to Berlin? (How do you travel to Berlin?) - I'm going to Berlin by car. (I go to Berlin by car.)
After (to) and mit (with) are prepositions and take the dative case. We haven't used articles before "Bahn" and "Auto", not to confuse the users. Prepositions with dative are discussed in Level A2 or under the section Summary of German Grammer.

How much money do you need (How much money do you need?) - I only need ten euros. (I need only ten Euros.)

German has one word "viel" for "much" and "many". "Wie viel" gives meanings of "how much" and "wie viel" is used for "how many".

How many cars do you have? (How many cars do you have?) - I have ten cars. (I have ten cars.)

"How long" gives meanings of "how long".
How long will you stay in Berlin? (How long do you stay in Berlin?) - My stay in Berlin is not long. (My stay in berlin is not long.)

How old are they? (How old are you?) - I'm forty. (I am forty. (Years old.))

Vocabulary from above examples
old, forty, ten, the stay
to need i need, you need, he / she / it needs, we need, you need, you need, you need.
to stay, to remain I stay, you stay, he / she / it stays, we stay, you stay, you stay, they stay.

Examples with modal verbs

How should I write your name? (How should I write your name?) - Please write as you wish. (Please write as you like.)
Here, "how" is used as "as". Similarly "was" can be used as "what" in between the sentences i.e. Think what you want. (Think what you want.) Say what you want. (Speak what you want.)

How do you want to go to Berlin? (How do you want to travel to Berlin?)

How do you want to do that? (How do you want to do that?)

Vocabulary from above examples
To write, I write, you write, he / she / it writes, we write, you write, you write, they write.

9. When? (when?)

When are you going to Berlin? (When are you going to Berlin?)
When are you going back? (When are you traveling back?)
back

"When" is the general question of time. It is used when the question is about which day, which month, or year in general.
When a question is about the exact point of time, then another combination, "at what time"(at what time) is used.

What time are you going to Berlin? (At what time do you go to Berlin?, At what time you are leaving for Berlin?)
What time are you going back? (At what time do you return?)

10. Which one? (which?)

Which gives the meaning of which. Which declines according to gender, number, and case. We have already learned the rules of declension in nominative and accusative.
Here, as a reminder from the old lesson:
Articles, pronouns, or quantity indicators that show declension, rules of declension remain the same in all three.
In nominative the masculine takes ending "er", feminine takes suffix "e", neuter takes "es" and plural endings end in "e".
In accusative, the masculine ending changes to "en", and all the rest of the endings remain the same as in nominative.

NominativeAccusative
Masculine-he-en
Faminine-e-e
Neuter-it-it
Plural-e-e

Accroding to above explained rules, "which" declines as,

NominativeAccusative
MasculineWhich one
Which
FaminineWhich
Which
NeuterWhich one
Which one
PluralWhich
Which

Which car do you have (Which car do you have?) I have an Audi. (I have a Audi.)
What cars do you have? (Which cars do you have?) I have an Audi and a BMW. (I have one Audi and one BMW.)
Which house is yours (Which house is yours?) My house is around the corner. (There, around the corner is my house.)

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