Questions in German (Ja-Nein Fragen, W-Fragen)

In this topic, you will learn questions in German that are called “yes or no questions” (ja oder nein Fragen) and “Wh-questions” (W-Fragen).

Questions in German

In German, the basic sentence structure is formed is shown below:

subject + verb + object

As you know, the subject is doing the action, and the object is affected by it.

Der Mann ist krank.
The man is sick.

Ja-Nein Fragen (Yes-No Questions)

To make a question, the verb is moved to the beginning of the sentence, and add a question mark at the end:

Ist der Mann krank?
Is the man sick?

Yes-No questions are the most common type of question, and these questions can usually reply to this type of question with a simple “yes” or “no”.

Ist der Mann krank? -Ja.
Is the man sick? – Yes.

Ist die Frau hier? – Nein.
Is the woman here? – No.

Of course, if you want to be more engaging and conversational, you can also repeat the question in your response by changing the word order back to the basic structure, with the verb coming after the subject.

Ist der Mann krank? – Ja, der Mann ist krank
Is the man sick? – Yes, the man is sick.

Ist die Frau hier? – Nein, die Frau ist nicht hier.
Is the woman here? – No, the woman is not here.

W-Fragen (Wh-Questions)

Interrogative pronouns, also known as wh-questions (W-Fragen), are words used to ask a question. They typically begin with “wh-” in English.

The German interrogative pronouns are shown in Table 1.1:

woherwhere from
wohinwhere to
wiehow, what like
Table 1.1 – W- Fragen in German

-Was machst du hier?
What are you doing here?
-Warum stellst du so viele Fragen?
Why are you asking so many questions?
-Wer bist du? 
Who are you?
-Wen suchst du?
Whom are you searching for?
-Wo ist der Bahnhof?
Where is the train station?
-Woher kommen Sie?
Where are you from?
-Wohin gehen Sie heute?
Where are you going today?
-Wie geht es Ihnen?
How are you?
-Wann fahren Sie nach Köln?
When are you going to Köln?

❗ “Welche” gives the meaning of “which.” Welche declines according to gender, number (plural), and case in German.

The declensions of “welche” are shown in Table 1.2:

Table 1.2 – Declension of welche


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