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How to learn Questions in German Grammar

Dependant clauses, also called subordinate clauses, can't stand as independent clauses, they always depend on a main clause. Dependent and independent clauses are separated by a comma.

For dependent clauses, pay attention to the word order - the finite or conjugated verb is at the end of the sentence.

Example: Ich weiß nicht, ob sie mir hilft. I don't know if she will help me.

Questions are used to request information about something.
There are two different types of questions: closed questions, also called yes/no questions or decision questions in German, and open questions, also called W-questions or follow up questions in German. The structure of open and closed questions is different.

Learn how to ask open and closed questions in German grammar with the GermanMind Method, and do the exercises to test your knowledge.

Closed questions
Closed questions, also called decision questions, are questions that you can answer with "yes" or "no". In these questions, the finite verb is in the first position. The subject follows in the second position. The rest of the sentence (object, time, place, etc.) is in the same order as in a main clause.
Example: Hast du deine Schwester angerufen? Did you call your sister?

Open questions
Open questions are questions that use an interrogative pronoun or an interrogative word.

They are also called follow up questions and can' t be answered with "yes" or "no".
The question word occurs at the beginning of the sentence. After it comes the finite verb and then the rest of the sentence. The part of the sentence we are asking about is replaced by the question word.

Example: Wann rufst du deine Schwester an? When are you calling your sister?

Ich rufe sie morgen an. I will call her tomorrow.

Questions about the object with a preposition: the preposition is placed before the question word.


Mit wem gehst du ins Kino?

Für wen ist das Geschenk?

Questions about the subject: the finite verb takes the third person singular.


Wer hat dir das Buch gegeben?

Most common Question-Words

The chart below gives an overview of the most common question words in German and their usage with English translations and examples.

Most common Question-Words

Questions with Wo + Präposition: woran, wofür, womit
In English, we often use what with prepositions in questions. In standard German, we contract where and the preposition to form where nouns. We can also use prepositions with was (what), but this is very colloquial and loose.

Mit was kann ich den Hund füttern?
Womit kann den Hund füttern? What can I feed the dog with?


If the preposition starts with a vowel, we add an r between where and the preposition.

An was denkst du?
Woran denkst du? What are you thinking about?

Indirect questions
We use indirect questions in dependent clauses.
Ich weiß nicht, was ich sagen soll. I don't know what to say.


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