Asking Questions in German

Okay, so suppose you are planning a trip. You'll probably find that there are a lot of questions you'll want to ask when you get where you're going. Unless your German is quite advanced, you will probably want to stick to the easy questions - the ones that can be answered with a simple yes or no.

There are other ways, besides the confused look on your face, to show that you're asking a question. This article will cover the following three ways:

  • Intonation
  • Addition of the tag nicht wahr
  • Inversion


One of the easiest ways to indicate you're asking a question is by simply raising your voice slightly at the end of the sentence. To do this, speak with a rising inflection:

  • Du denkst an die Reise?
    • Dew denkst An dee Ray-zuh
      • Are you thinking about the trip?

Adding A Tag

Another easy way of forming questions in German is by adding the tag nicht wahr ( niHt vahR ) to your statements. Nicht wahr means, "Isn't this true?"
  • Du denkst an die Reise, nicht wahr?
    • Dew denkst An dee Ray-zuh, niHt vahR
      • You think about the trip, don't you?


The final way of forming a question is by inversion . Inversion is what you do when you reverse the word order of the subject nouns or pronouns and the conjugated form of the verb. If you're up to the challenge of inversion, follow these rules:

Avoid inverting with ich . It's awkward and rarely done.

Only invert subject nouns or pronouns with conjugated verbs. Read the following examples and see if you get a feel for how inversion works:

  • Du gehst nach Hause.
    • Gehst dun ach Hause?
  • Er spricht Deutsch.
    • Spricht er Deutsch?
  • Wir reisen nach Berlin.
    • Reisen wir nach Berlin ?
  • Ihr eßt Sauerkraut.
    • Eßt ihr Sauerkraut?
  • Sie trinken Bier.
    • Trinken sie Bier?
  • Du fährst mit dem Zug.
    • Fährst du mit dem Zug?

Remember that whether you are using intonation, nicht wahr, or inversion, you are asking for exactly the same information: a yes or no answer.

Answering Questions

If you are someone who has learned to look on the bright side of life, you'll probably want to know how to answer "yes." To answer in the affirmative, use ja ( yah ), and then give your statement.

Or if your time is valuable and you are constantly being harangued to do things you have no interest in doing, you should probably learn to say "no." To answer negatively, use nein ( nayn ) at the beginning of the statement and then add nicht ( niHt ) at the end of the statement.

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