1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Wieso nicht?"

"Wieso nicht?"

Translation:Why not?

October 23, 2015



What's the difference between Wieso and warum?


"Wieso? ", is kind of like saying "How so?". Imagine a conversation between two people. Person A: "my boss is a terrible person." Peson B:"How so?" It's asking for a bit more of a description of why you say he's bad rather than "why?", which asks for the reason he is bad.

That is how I get it, I hope I've managed to explain my mental process, even though I think I haven't quite done as well at it as I had hoped.


Not only you explained very well,but you make me realise that is wie+so=how so!


Can someone tell me whether this is or isn't a false cognate?


I think it's true. In Dutch we have the word "Hoezo" which is an even clearer cognate (to both how so and wieso).


I think it is a true cognate, because it's close to why-not wie-so --> why is this so


I understand! You explained very good.

Danke sehr! ☺


Kudos , well explained Sir.


I guess, the "How come, not" could be a correct answer here then.


Not really. Simply "How come?" would be a more likely response.


Yeah, that´s my thing. Even with that guy´s good explanation of wieso, I had already noticed the cognate and it still doesn´t work for me if I´m just trying to figure out on my own which to use, warum or wieso... Alas, this is just #BeginnerProblems lol Good to know for now, and I´m sure I´ll pick up the pattern later with more reading/practice


"How so not?" sounds clunky in English. Can you just respond to Person A's statement with "Wieso?" instead?


In the example from GeorgStB, the response would indeed by "Wieso?"

But if the statement had involved a negative, then "Wieso nicht?" would be more appropriate.

"Ich werde dich heute nicht bezahlen." (I will not pay you today.)

"Wieso nicht?" (Why not?) or: "Warum nicht?"

Or even in such a situation:

"Komm, wir gehen schwimmen!" (Come, let's go swimming!)

"Klar, wieso nicht?" (Sure, why not?)


Your explanations are always very illustrative! Thanks a lot.


Thank you. Makes sense.


Correct me if I am wrong, I am not a native speaker, but I think of "wieso" as having slightly more of a "how" connotation, more like "Explain why to me?" whereas I think of "warum" as more a simple or general "why"? Like I would ask "wieso" if I wanted a longer or more extended explanation, or I would ask it to elicit someone to continue talking if I didn't fully understand something that someone said.


No difference. Both mean "why".


@SimoneBa, im Grund hast du Recht! Man könnte aber einen Unterschied finden: Warum ist für mich etwas mehr neutrales. Wieso impliziert manchmal, dass schon vorher eine Frage oder ein Kommentar erfolgt ist. Nur so als Idee!


can you explain in English please


"You're basically correct! But you could make a distinction: warum is a bit more neutral for me, while wieso sometimes implies that there had previously been a question or a comment. Just an idea!"


I agree with @SimoneBa , BTW - I think the two are the same.


So then does it matter which you use (wieso vs warum)? If there is a distinction, i am still unclear.


can one say "warum nicht"?


I don't want to argue but I want to learn and therefore I have to ask this.

It seems to me that "wieso" and "warum" are not exactly the same. I would translate "wieso?" as "how come?" and "why?" as "warum?".

For example if a teacher asks "why are there 365 days in the year?", then according to my current understanding it would be proper to use "warum", not "wieso".

And if the teacher asks "how come that you came late again?" then it would be proper to use "wieso", not "warum".


Wieso/warum hat das Jahr 365 Tage?; Wieso/warum kommst du wieder zu spät? - there is no difference. You can use either warum or wieso in both of these sentences.


Alles klar! Nimm bitte zwei lingots, ein für wieso und das andere für warum :)


Shouldn't "how come not?" be also accepted?


No. Just "How come?" although it is possible the true "dyed in the wool" purists might cringe on hearing it...


Generally if you want an explanation of a positive statement you say "how come" or just "why", and if you want an explanation of a negative statement you say "why not" rather than "how come not"


In the meaning"how", is there any difference between woher and wie?


woher? = from where

wie? = how

woher? as "how" can work in Woher weißt du das?, where "how do you know that" implies "from which source (= from where) do you have that knowledge", but woher? is not "how" in general.


Oh that's what Wiktionary didn't say on how.Having edited it. Danke!


Trusting Wiktionary can be tricky because anyone can edit it, regardless of how well they know the languages involved.


Duden is great, but it is written neither in English nor Simplified Chinese(My mother tongue). Any better suggestions on which website I shall go for a reference?


Here are some online dictionaries I sometimes use:

LEO and dict.cc are sometimes inaccurate or overly-broad as well, so they're best for people who already speak both languages fairly well and can spot the ones that are likely to be marginal or incorrect, but PONS is a commercial company and probably more reliable.


These comments and discussions are really helping clear some of my long held confusions. Only a few days back I started looking at them. I am enjoying it. Thanks a lot.


Is there any difference between "warum" and... I think the word was "wiehalbt" or (something similar)?


Wieso, weshalb, warum? All the same as far as I'm concerned. Ditto with the less frequent "weswegen".

Similarly also with "deshalb, darum, deswegen" for "that's why". (But there's no word "dieso".)


Yes, "weshalb". Okay.

Ich danke ihnen. ☺


I was under the impression that "warum" meant why, but it focuses more on an internal cause, while "wieso" meant why, but focuses on an external cause. I am not certain where "weshalb" and "weswegen" would fit in here. Is this correct, or am I completely imagining things.


Is it the case that "weshalb/deshalb" and "weswegen/deswegen" are pro evilly to be used by academics? In English academia produces its own subdialect of English, which differs slightly in word frequencies. Is there a similar phenomenon in German, and if so is this likely part of it?


I though Warum was why in German? Anyone else?

  • wieso
  • weshalb
  • warum
  • weswegen

You've got a choice of words for "why" in German :)

A bit like you have both "why" and "how come" in English. Or both "little" and "small" for what is simply "klein" in German.


Thank you very much!


Is" why not so" accepted..


If the meaning is closer to 'How so', why the translation 'why' for wieso is so popular/believed to be/agreed as the best translation? I mean, since there's already warum, it'll just confuse learners.


I don't think there's much of a difference between wieso - weshalb - warum in the minds of most German speakers, contrary to GeorgStB's assertion.

It's a bit like little/small or big/large in English - why use two words when you have one? Just because you can.


So why would just be Warum, right?


wieso, weshalb, warum, weswegen all mean "why, how come"; take your pick :)

wieso and warum are probably more common than the others, though.


Unfortunately How come is not accepted for wieso. Would be nice to have it.


Oh now we have to use another word instead of "warum"?

Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.