Using wo (where) with prepositions in German

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Using wo (where) with prepositions

Wo (where) is often combined with prepositions such as zu (to), bei (with), für (for), gegen (against), vor (before) or mit (with) to form a “what” question word.

-Wobei störe ich dich? -Beim Essen. (stören + bei)

-What am I interrupting? -Dinner. (Literally: “-During what am I interrupting you? -During dinner” - stören + bei = to interrupt + during.)

-Wofür brauchst du das? -Für den Urlaub. (brauchen + für)

-What do you need that for? -For the vacation (brauchen + für = to need + for)

-Womit bezahlen wir? -Mit deinem Geld. (bezahlen + mit)

-What do we pay with? -With your money (bezahlen + mit = to pay + with)

We insert an -r- if the preposition begins with a vowel: auf (on), aus (off), in (in), an (at), über (above) or um (around).

-Worauf warten wir? -Auf das Taxi. (warten + auf)

-What are we waiting for? -For the taxi. (warten + auf = to wait + for)

-Worin ist Magda gut? -In Mathematik. (gut sein + in)

-What is Magda good at? -At mathematics. (gut sein + in = to be good + at)

-Worüber habt ihr gesprochen? -Über Fußball. (sprechen + über)

-What did you talk about? -About football. (sprechen + über = to talk + about)

Notes

  • These combined words often appear in questions, but they do have other uses too.

Ich weiß nicht, wovor er Angst hat.

I don't know what he is afraid of.

Sag mir, worauf du Lust hast.

Tell me what you feel like doing.

  • In everyday spoken German, people often use was (what) instead of wo (where).

-Womit können wir das befestigen? Mit was können wir das befestigen?

What can we attach it with?

-Woran hast du dich verschluckt? An was hast du dich verschluckt?

What did you choke on?


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