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Lesson Transcript

Hallo, ich bin Laura. Hi everybody! I’m Laura.
Welcome to GermanPod101.com’s “Deutsch in 3 Minuten”. The fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn German.
In the last lesson, we learned how to ask "Where" questions in German.
This time, we are going to ask questions with the interrogative word "When?"
Let’s go! Los geht’s!
Imagine you want to ask when your roommate is coming back home. You will ask him Wann kommst du nach Hause zurück?
[slowly] Wann kommst du nach Hause zurück?
So let’s break down this answer.
First we had-
Wann, which is the basic translation of "When" in German.
Kommst is the verb "to come back", then zurückkommen in German is in the 2nd person present indicative. The first part zurück means “back” and comes at the end of the sentence.
Then du, which is the informal for "you".
And finally nach Hause which is literally "to home."
So, all together it is Wann kommst du nach Hause zurück?
"When will you come back home?"
So in German, "When" is generally translated as the word Wann. For example, if you want to ask "When were you born?" you will say Wann bist du geboren?
As in English, the interrogative word is placed in the 1st position, then the verb, and then the subject.
So let’s have a look at another example.
How can you say "When did you arrive?"
It is really simple since it is exactly the same pattern - Wann bist du angekommen?
First we have Wann, which is "When".
The second word is bist which is the verb sein in 2nd person present indicative tense.
Du is "you" in informal form.
And finally angekommen which is the past participle of the verb ankommen, "to arrive".
Have you noticed a difference between the sentences Wann kommst du nach Hause? and Wann bist du angekommen?
The first one is talking about a future action – "When are you coming back home?" Whereas the 2nd one is referring to the past "When did you arrive?"
The conclusion is that you can use the interrogative word Wann to talk about any moment, whether past or present.
If you want to ask a question about duration as in "Since when have you been a teacher?" Then you will have to say Seit wann bist du Lehrer?
Here you also use the present tense if the person is still a teacher but then it’s exactly the same as in English, because "since" is seit. So Seit wann means "Since when?"
Let’s see how to ask "Until when?" in German. It becomes-
So for example, if you want to ask a friend "Until when are you going to stay here?" It will be Bis wann wirst du hierbleiben?
But of course there are other ways to ask about time. You can be even more specific by asking about the year, the date or the hour.
For example, you can ask:
- "Which year did you start working?" will be
In welchem Jahr hast du angefangen zu arbeiten?
- "Which day is better for you?" will be Welcher Tag ist besser für dich?
- "What hour can we meet?" Um wieviel Uhr können wir uns treffen?
Now it’s time for Laura’s Insights.
To ask how long an action has been taking place in German, we could say Seit wann, but there is another very simple way to do it!
You just have to use the pattern Wie lange? As in Wie lange hast du gewartet? That is "How long have you been waiting?"
Ok, so in this lesson, we learned how to correctly use the interrogative German word for "When", Wann, but also its different variations.
Next lesson we’ll learn more about asking questions with "Who" in German.
I’ll be waiting for you in the next Deutsch in 3 Minuten.
Bis bald!