Understanding German Questions
German Questions can be asked with a question word or without any.
These are the most common German question words:
wer = who
wann = when
wo = where
wie = how
woher = where from
wohin = where to
was = what
German Question with a Question Word
The German question word is placed at the 1st position of the sentence and on the 2nd position you have the main verb (predicate). So the sentence construction is very similar to a normal main sentence.
Wie geht es dir? = How are you?
Wer bist du? = Who are you?
Wo seid ihr? = Where are you?
Woher kommst du? Where are you from?
Wohin gehst du? Where do you go to?
Was ist das für ein Geruch? What is this for a smell?
Wann gehst du nach Hause? When do you go home?
German Question without a Question Word
When you form a question without a question word, then the verb is placed at the 1st position.
Gehst du nach Hause? Are you going home?
Trinkst du gerne Tee? Do you like to drink tea?
Spielst du gerne Schach? Do you like to play chess?
German question with a modal verb
- If you would like to use a question word, then the modal verb comes at the 2nd position and the infinitive at the end of the sentence:
- Wie kann ich dir helfen? How can I help you?
- In case that you ask a question without a question word, the modal verb is placed at the 1st position and the infinitive at the last:
- Kann ich dir helfen? Can I help you?
Other not so common question words:
Mit wem = with whom
Mit wem gehst du ins Kino? With whom are you going in the cinema?
Wessen = whose
Wessen Auto ist das? Whose car is this?
Welche (declinated depending on case and gender) = which
Welche Musik magst du? Which music do you like?
Woran = of what
Woran denkst du? What are you thinking about? Of what are you thinking?
Wie oft = how often
Wie oft gehst du zum Yoga? How often do you go to Yoga?
Wie lange = how long
Wie lange dauert der Unterricht? How long does the lesson last?
Bis wann = until when
Bis wann musst du arbeiten? = How long (until when) do you have to work?