The interrogative pronouns wer / was

HA15

 

Pronouns wer und was can be used as interrogative pronouns. They are inflected as follows.

 

 
person
non-person
nominative
wer
was
genitive
wessen
wessen
dative
wem
(was)
accusative
wen
was

 

 

They can only function as pronouns and not as articles. The pronoun wer refers only to a person, while was to anything but a person. As shown in the table below, wer and was are not determined by gender or number.

 

Examples  

Wer will mitkommen?

Was bist du von Beruf?
Wem hat das Essen nicht geschmeckt? Was hast du ihm gesagt?
Wen treffen wie heute Abend? Wessen erinnert er sich noch?
person non-person

 


 

 

In the table above, the dative case form of was is placed within brackets because it is only used in everyday language.

 

Examples  

Was stimmst du nicht zu?

Dieser Meinung.
Was entsprechen die Vorschläge der Bank? Unseren Bedürfnissen.
question response in dative

 


 

 

Genitive forms can be used as attributive adjectives before a noun and indicate the possessor.

 

Examples  
Wessen Idee war das? Das war meine Idee.
Wessen erstgeborenes Kind wird heute 18? Pauls Kind.
interrogative pronoun in the genitive case indication of the possessor