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  5. "Wo kommen Sie her?"

"Wo kommen Sie her?"

Translation:Where do you come from?

February 1, 2013



What about Woher kommen Sie? Isn't that more accepted than the splitting of Woher?


"woher" is considered better style, but the split version is very common in spoken German.


Thanks, I was confused about this.


Where do you go? Where do you come from, Cotton Eyed Joe


"Where are you from" is a natural English equivalent.


Unless it's asking 'where did you just come from' and not 'where (in the world) do you come from'. Like if your roommate just walks in the door, you wouldn't say 'where are you from?'


why not "wo kommen Sie hier?"


In German, there's a distinction between "where" in the sense of location, and of direction. It's the difference between the questions "Wo" (Where... is something located/did something happen?) and "Woher/wohin" (from where/whence, or to where... is something moving, or in what direction is it happening?) In English "here" can mean either location or direction, but in German, "hier" is only a location, not a direction. The question "Where are you from" implies motion (You used to be somewhere else, now you're here, you moved!) While "hier" by itself only expresses location (to express direction, you'd need "hierher", for instance, meaning in the direction of here), "her" always implies a direction. ("Kommen Sie hierher, bitte!")
Because of this location/direction conflict, "Wo kommen Sie hier" doesn't make sense.


Oh wow. If I had made the relationship between woher and wo ... her earlier I would've gotten this right. But now I understand the differences between her and hier, thanks!


Thanks. This is helpful. should it then be "wohin kommen Sie her"?


Here are some sentences which may help to clarify.

"Wo sind Sie?" (where are you?) LOCATION

"Wohin gehen Sie?" or "Wo gehen Sie hin?" (Where are you going to, from here?) DIRECTION=away from here

"Wo kommen Sie her?" or "Woher kommen Sie?" (From where did you come here?) DIRECTION=toward here

You can say either "Wohin gehst du?" or "Wo gehst du hin?", and also "Woher kommst du?" or "Wo kommst Du her?"


super! thx for these examples


Thi is really helpful. Very clear and concise. Thanks!


very helpful, thank you!


This Location/Direction distinction shows up a lot in German. For instance, it's also what makes the difference between: "Ich hänge das Bild an die Wand." (DIRECTION=Akkusativ, the picture's not presently on the wall, I'm going to hang it "onto" the wall, motion, so Accusative.)
versus "Das Bild hängt an der Wand." (LOCATION=Dativ. The picture is there already, is staying there, no change from "not on the wall" to "on the wall", so Dative.) This is for the so-called "Wechselpräpositionen": an, auf, hinter, in neben, über, unter, vor, zwischen (trying singing that list to "Twinkle, twinkle, little star!.. :] )


Although a little outdated, "whence come you" is an acceptable translation for this. (As long as you're willing to accept Elizabethan English).

Seems legit because in many ways Elizabethan English resembles modern German.


Duolingo doesn't accept it though. I say report it, because I like the word "whence," which means exactly the same thing as "woher."


Do you alway use "her" in a question and "aus" in a response or statement?

e.g. Wo kommen Sie her? - Ich komme aus Deutschland / Österreich / Papua Neuguinea (or where ever)


Could this also be "Where do they come from?"


In this case, no, because of the difference between the formal Sie and the sie form used for plural use. So for example, because the sentence is Wo kommen Sie her, the capital S forces the formal You for the sentence. If it was Wo kommen sie her, then the 'sie' would be plural and refer to 'they.'


Oh, right. I keep forgetting about that capital "S."


Why 'where come you from' is wrong?


Because it's incorrect English. It's 'where do you come from?'

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