How to Use “Wo”, “Woher” and “Wohin” Question Words

Hallo, Deutschlerner! Welcome to another lesson about question words. Today you will learn how to use the three “where” question words in German “wo”, “woher” and “wohin”. 

wo vs wohin vs woher - A2 German Grammar

If you are really wanting to put your German learning on track, consider joining Herr Antrim’s Deutschlerner Club! For just $14.99 per month you will get access to his full A1 and A2 courses plus new materials as he creates them. You will go from knowing zero German to being able to have a short conversation in a short few weeks. Before you know it, you will be conversational in German on a variety of important topics, all while mastering German grammar.

Wo – Where (Static Location)

Each of the words on our list for today mean “where”. Their use all comes down to location, destination and origin. If you are asking about the location of something without a reference to a destination or origin, you need “wo”. Here are a few examples of it in action. 

Wo ist die Bibliothek? –
Where is the library?

Wo hast du deine Brille gelassen? –
Where did you leave your glasses?

Wo wohnst du? –
Where do you live?

Wo befindet sich der Bahnhof? –
Where is the train station?

Wo kann ich hier parken? –
Where can I park here?

Woher – From Where (Previous Location)

By contrast “wohin” and “woher” imply a direction. “Woher” implies that there was a prior location. In English, it is best translated along with the preposition “from”. 

Woher kommst du? –
Where are you from?

Woher hast du dieses Buch? –
Where did you get this book from?

Woher weißt du das? –
How do you know that? (Where do you know that from?)

Woher kommt das Geräusch? –
Where is the sound coming from?

Woher stammt dieser Wein? –
Where does this wine come from?

When to Put “her” at the End of the Sentence

One problem that comes up is that English speakers have a tendency to put “from” at the end of the sentence. This can also be done in German, but technically it is because “her” can also be a separable prefix for verbs. For example: herkommen and herhaben. 

Wo kommst du her? –
Where are you from? 

Wo hast du das Rezept her? –
From where did you get the recipe? 

For more examples of “her” as a separable prefix, you can check out my lesson about separable prefixes linked here. 

Wohin – To Where (Future Location)

The question word “wohin” is the polar opposite of “woher”. It inquires about the direction in which someone or something is headed. It is best translated as “where to”. Here are a few examples of that:

Wohin gehst du? –
Where are you going?

Wohin fliegt das Flugzeug? –
Where is the plane flying to?

Wohin führt diese Straße? –
Where does this road lead to?

Wohin legst du deine Jacke? –
Where are you putting your jacket?

Wohin reist du diesen Sommer? –
Where are you traveling this summer?

When to Put “hin” at the End of the Sentence

Just like “woher”, you can split “wohin” sometimes. This is, of course, reserved for verbs that have the prefix “hin”. For example: hinführen and hinfahren 

Wo führt dieser Weg hin? –
To where does this path lead? 

Wo fährst du in den Sommerferien hin? –
Where are you driving on summer vacation? 

To summarize, “wo” is used to ask about a location, “woher” is used to ask about the origin, and “wohin” is used to ask about the destination or direction.

If you are really wanting to put your German learning on track, consider joining Herr Antrim’s Deutschlerner Club! For just $14.99 per month you will get access to his full A1 and A2 courses plus new materials as he creates them. You will go from knowing zero German to being able to have a short conversation in a short few weeks. Before you know it, you will be conversational in German on a variety of important topics, all while mastering German grammar.

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