Finally, there are the interrogative pronouns, or “question words.” In German they’re sometimes called W-Wörter, since they all start with W. Most of them have a direct English equivalent:
But "where" is a little more complicated:
And "who" has a full set of case endings:
Wo can also be added to the beginning of many prepositions to make a question word. If the preposition starts with a vowel, an “r” is inserted between them to make the pronunciation easier:
|Wofür lebe ich?
What am I living for?
|Worüber sprichst du?
What are you talking about?
As you can see, we usually do this using “what” in modern English, but it used to be a more direct equivalent – think of “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore [why, what for] art thou Romeo?”
“Which” in German is welch— and is fully declined according to gender and case (see Section II).
As in English, the interrogative pronouns can also sometimes be used as relative pronouns. Unlike the standard relative pronouns in the previous subsection, they are not declined:
Der Ort, wo ich zur Schule ging, ist nicht weit von hier.
The place where I went to school is not far from here.
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