Question-word questions



With question-word questions we ask information about an unknown part of the fact stated in the question.


Wann besucht uns Patrick?
Wo wohnst du?
Warum hätte ich das nicht sagen sollen?



Question-word questions have the following features:


question word first position
position of the finite verb second
mood indicative
Konjunktiv II
intonation descending
punctuation mark question mark


Question-word questions begin with the question words (wer, was, wann, wie, wo etc.).




Question words


In question-word questions, a question word is always in the first position. The following question words are used :


interrogative pronouns wer, was, welcher, was für ein
pronominal adverbs woran, womit, wofür, wonach etc.
interrogative adverbs wo, wann, wie, warum etc.




Interrogative pronouns


The pronoun wer is used for a person, while was only for non-persons.



Wer will mitkommen?

Peter. Was bist du von Beruf? Architekt.
  person   non-person




A pronominal adverb (wo+) can substitute a preposition and the interrogative pronoun was. Pronominal adverbs refer to inanimate things. For animate things, a preposition with the personal pronoun wer is used.


inanimate   animate
Worüber sprecht ihr? über wen sprecht ihr?
Womit fährst du? Mit wem fährst du?
Worum kümmert sie sich? Um wen kümmerst du dich?
pronominal adverbs (wo +) preposition + interrogative pronoun wer




The interrogative pronoun welcher is used to ask a question about an individual unit that is part of a set; was für ein is used to ask a question about the quality and properties of a thing.



Welches Hotel bietet das billigste Doppelzimmer?

Was für ein Hotel ist das?
Hotel A, B or C? Two-star, three-star or four-star hotel?




Interrogative adverbs are used to ask questions about time, cause, manner or place.



Wo wohnst du?

Wann fliegst du nach München?
Wie hast du es geschafft?