Easy Learning German

Interrogative pronouns - Easy Learning Grammar German

What is an interrogative pronoun?
This is one of the words who, whose, whom, what and which when they are used instead of a noun to ask questions, for example, What’s happening?; Who’s coming?

1 Wer? and was?

  • Wer and was only have a singular form.
CasePersonsThings
Nominativewer?was?
Accusativewen?was?
Genitivewessen?
Dativewem?
  • They can be used in direct questions.
Wer hat es gemacht?Who did it?
Mit wem bist du gekommen?Who did you come with?
Wo ist der Kugelschreiber, mit dem du es geschrieben hast?Where is the pen you wrote it with?
  • They can also be used in indirect questions.
Ich weiß nicht, wer es gemacht hat.I don’t know who did it.
Sie wollte wissen, mit wem sie fahren sollte.She wanted to know who she was to travel with.

2 Interrogative pronouns with prepositions

  • When used with prepositions, was usually becomes wo- and is combined with the preposition to form one word. Where the preposition begins with a vowel, wor- is used instead.
Wodurch ist es zerstört worden?How was it destroyed?
Worauf sollen wir sitzen? Es gibt keine Stühle.What should we sit on?
There aren’t any chairs.

3 Was für ein?, welcher?

  • These are used to mean what kind of …? and which one? and are declined like the definite article.
„Er hat jetzt ein Auto” –“He has a car now.” -
Was für eins hat er gekauft?““What kind (of one) did he buy?”
Welches hast du gewollt?Which one did you want?
  • For more information on Words declined like the definite article, see Articles.
  • They can refer to people or things and require the appropriate endings.
Für welchen (e.g. welchen Job, welchen Whisky etc) hat sie sich entschieden? OR:
Für welches (e.g. welches Haus, welches Buch etc) hat sie sich entschieden? OR:
Für welche (e.g. welche Person, welche Jacke etc) hat sie sich entschieden?
Which one did she choose?
Key points
  • The interrogative pronouns wer and was can be used for direct and indirect questions and only have a singular form.
  • When used with prepositions, was becomes wo-, or wor- when the preposition begins with a vowel.
  • Was für ein? and welcher? are used to mean what kind of …? and which one?

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