1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Wohin schwimmt er?"

"Wohin schwimmt er?"

Translation:Where is he swimming to?

February 15, 2013

111 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olimo

Can't we ask in English "Where does he swim?" implying direction?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/heshmati

As far as I know, "wohin" refers to the destination; so it may be like you see someone swimming and then you ask, "Wohin ..." = Where to

But regarding your question, you need to simply use "wo". It's a little bit subtle, the difference between "wohin" & "wo".

Hope it helped. :)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Will709432

But where is he swimming to, would be bad grammar in English because of the prep on the end of the sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olimo

I know what the German sentence means and I perfectly understand the difference between "wo" and "wohin" (there are different words for that in Russian, too, and I am Russian).

I am asking about English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JosephOlstad

In the majority of contexts, "Where does he swim?" refers to the location or body of water in which someone swims. "Where does he swim to" speaks of destination. However, if I was standing on the shore with a friend, watching a girl swim out into the middle of the lake, and my friend asked, "Where does she swim?" I would intuitively know he must be asking where is she swimming to, since it would be obvious she is in the lake and I would say, "To the other side" or "To a boat in the middle". Still, it would be better to ask, "Where is she swimming to?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SueNicholls

The question "where does he swim" only sound correct in English if you are asking about where someone swims on a regular basis. In English, you've got to use the word "to" somewhere in there "to where does he swim, drive, go" or "where does he swim/drive/go to" if you want to sound like a natural native speaker, for those of you perfecting your English.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Splodgeit0

It is better to use 'is' and not 'does' 'Where does he swim to' would also imply it is a regular occurance, and not necessarily present tense. 'Where is he swimming to' would mean which place is he swimming to right now.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeanniKistler

Never end an English sentence with a preposition. "To where is she swimming?" would be proper.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

That is an entirely arbitrary rule made up by some 18th century grammar elitists who felt that if something is impossible in such cultivated languages as Latin and French it must be universally wrong, including for English (the rule against splitting infinitives has the same origin by the way). In reality there is no objective basis for it whatsoever. People have been ending sentences in prepositions for hundreds and hundreds of years. There would be more justification in demanding people use “thou” for singular addressees again rather than “you” for example; that change is much, much more recent.

Another question of course is that of style. People are taught the nonsense rule about the prepositions, so they end up associating it with inferior style. And yes people, should be warned about that. But something being regarded as bad style is not the same as flat-out wrong.

In this case, Where is he swimming should be accepted as an answer when translating into English. The reason the preposition is in the basic solution is almost certainly because of the reverse task: The course wants to test people on wohin. But English “where is he swimming” is ambiguous: Is it asking about the location where “he” is swimming (e.g. “in the lake”) or about his destination (e.g. “towards the island”)? So the learner could use either wohin or wo and might not even know that these two concepts used different words in German.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tuuky

I see where you're coming from, but it is a little ambiguous in English. Where does he swim (or "where is he swimming" rather)? "He swims at Mirror Lake" or "he's swimming down the river" could both be valid answers, but only one fits the translation, right?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olimo

No, one sentence can have a few correct translations.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/notstarboard

"Where does he swim?" means, to me, "in which place does he (usually) swim?" - "where does he swim to?" is asking about the swimmer's destination. I don't think there's any way "where does he swim" can mean the same thing as "where does he swim to".

"Where is he swimming?" would be a clunky, ambiguous way of saying "where is he swimming to?", but that's about it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jay649282

I personally use where does he swim and where is he swimming. Though, it might be a midwestern thing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MagisterTJL

Technically, the word should be whither


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SueNicholls

Yes, that's a great English word no longer in common usage. If you want to sound like you're in a Shakespeare play, go ahead and use it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/titowizard

Wither doth he swimeth, milord?!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2mhnkzrc

No, no: you can't use "swimmeth" with "doth." You need either "whither swimmeth he" or "whither doth he swim."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CA-93

"Whither does he swim?" would sound better than ending a sentence on a preposition.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeanniKistler

Whither dost he swim?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

“Doth.” “Dost” is the “thou” form ;)

Although I believe back then you wouldn’t actually have needed do-support. You probably could add it the same way you can say “he did swim” today – to stress the verb – but normally people would probably have said: Whither swimmeth he?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hipp5

To me your translation would imply 'location' in English. "Where does he swim"? --> "He swims at the lake/pool/river/etc." I think I would use "wo" in this case.

I would interpret "wohin" as 'direction'. "Where is he swimming to?" --> "He is swimming to the dock/boat/the shore/etc."

The difference is subtle but I think it's there. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MsLagerkvist2

I agree, as an English speaker. "Where does he swim?", "Where does he go?", Where does he drive?", can all imply direction as well as location.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VirgilJSchmidt

Yes, in English it can, but that is because we allow it. Properly English requires a preposition before the question word to distinguish the request for destination (to where) vs. "at which location" (where). Someone could technically ask. "Where do you swim" and one is asking at which location, where as (as discussed) "To where do you swim" indicates one asks for a destination.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Splodgeit0

I disagree... If somebody says "where does he swim" it does not mean "where is he swimming to" they are two different questions


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MsLagerkvist2

I think it depends on how much we allow for casual English usage in translations.

But you are right that "Where does he swim" could mean "Does he swim in the pool, the ocean, etc" and "Where does he swim to" could not mean that.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mizzoth

I used, "Where is he swimming to?" and got it right.

In English it's technically wrong to end a sentence with a preoposition, but this is an old rule with a weak basis to begin with and only grammar teachers really care about it.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Will709432

It's not an old rule and still very much in use in any kind of professional writing.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/killerman64

no, there needs direction in that sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/terongi

English has the word "Whither" which means "Where to?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jackhilger

I guess, but it is an archaic word. Neither I nor anyone I know has ever used it seriously. But it is a good word when your translating.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JonKScott

Reminds me of "hither, thither, and yon" or "here, there, and everywhere".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/a.wembridge

YES! And an excellent word it is, too. There's only one problem; I forget exactly what it means every time I encounter it given that it pops up so infrequently.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EricWoodsw

Too bad Duo doesn't like it. Time travellers will not do well in Duolingo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Hall_Dave

grrr...again and again i'm not hearing the difference between "er" & "ihr"....how can I know?.. i suspect this is a common question but I have to ask it!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/beefbroccoli

I hear "er" more as "err" in English, with a short e, whereas "ihr" is like "eel" except with an r at the end.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MisterJackson

I'm glad you asked this because I keep tripping up on it too, though I imagine it's something you get an ear for as you learn more.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ellinata

It is improper to end a sentence with "to." We do it but it is not proper English


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PatriciaJH

That rule -- never end a sentence a preposition -- is now considered an outdated and inappropriate attempt to force English to conform to Latin. (I first heard it was wrong at the same time I learned it ever existed... sometime in mid 1970s. So this is one of those lies with long legs.)

See: http://grammar.about.com/od/pq/g/prepositionstrandingterm.htm


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SueNicholls

Yes, I agree. I don't think this usage should be on a site teaching language.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/kraegchen

But here's the issue... So many people end sentences with prepositions (both correctly and incorrectly; we can't forget about the all important phrasal verbs) that using the "proper" translation as the be all and end all would be pointless. Furthermore, those using this German learning program are assumed to know English.

How often on a daily basis do you hear, "To where are you swimming?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VirgilJSchmidt

"know English" is relative. :~)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anmolkabra

I still cannot get the clear difference and use of 'wo' and 'wohin'. Duolingo uses them quite frequently but yes, they are a bit confusing. Somebody help!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/canusis

Wo: at a specific place. Wo schwimmt er? The answer might be in a pool or lake. Wohin: implies direction toward a place. Wohin schwimmt er? You probably know where he is currently swimming or beginning his swim, and you are asking (to) where he is going.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/anthony62490

In surprised no one else has asked this one. How are 'Wohin' and 'Woher' used differently? Since Wohin suggests a destination, I assume Woher is asking for an origin point (as in 'Woher kommen sie?')?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jami.saich

Wohin = Where to

Woher = Where from


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fezzent

where has he swimming???


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Fezzent

thats the correct suggestion Duolingo gave me


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/olimo

There is no need to post Duolingo mistakes in discussions, just report them. Discussions are intended to help each other to understand a foreign language's nuances.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SueNicholls

Olimo, don't you think Faisal is asking whether or not the English is correct? To answer your question Faisal, no, "where has he swimming" is not correct in English.

"Where does he swim?" would imply where he might go on a regular basis, as in "he swims at the club on Tuesdays." "Where is he swimming? would more likely refer to where is he swimming right now, at this time, as in "He's at the club swimming right now"

If my friend jumped in a lake and was swimming out to a dock, or someone wondered to where he was swimming, they might correctly say "To where is he swimming." This in correct, but the problem is that now it sounds a bit stiff and old fashioned. So most English speakers just say "where's he swimming to."


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FaroukRizki

Can someone explain why "Where is he going to swim" marked as wrong? Danke!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/FaroukRizki

Never mind.

Wo means "where", woher means "where ... from" and wohin means "where ... to"

So, "wohin schwimmt er" literally translates to "where does he swim to?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jami.saich

"Wohin geht er zu Schwimmen", will be translation for "Where is he going to swim".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

No it won’t. It will be either:

  • “Wohin schwimmt er?” or “Wohin wird er schwimmen?“ (if “going to” just indicates future tense), or
  • “Wohin geht er (um zu) schwimmen?” (if “going to” refers to an actual movement for the purpose of swimming at the destination)

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marianna304517

As a native English speaker, I have been taught to refrain from ending a sentence in a preposition. The word to, as I understand it, is a preposition. It would be better to ask this question differently in order to achieve proper English usage.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

I’m pretty sure this is one of those weird rules that exist only for one reason: It isn’t allowed in Latin, so it shouldn’t be in our language either (not splitting infinitives is another of these). A preposition at the end is definitely permitted in English; it’s just not regarded as very elegant style because of that odd rule. Also, if it is left out the sentence becomes ambiguous: “Where is he swimming” can mean either the same as above, or it could mean “at what place is he swimming” (i.e. asking for a position rather than a direction, and this interpretation is not possible with German wohin). Nevertheless, “where is he swimming” should definitely be accepted as an answer.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Midi185011

I tried "whither" just for fun. Marked wrong! Where is he swimming to is poor English, although used frequently. Where does he swim is the most used, I think.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marcel--l

Why is "Where is he swimming towards" wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shadynastyx

Not sure why you were down voted... But strictly speaking, you would say, "what is he swimming towards." However, no native speaker would be confused by your example. It would just sound very odd.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/lenardhuang

Any advice on distinguishing er and ihr? I find it's really painful.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aceofspades4

Ihr should sound more like "ear" and Er should sound more like "air". www.forvo.com is a great website for hearing native speakers saying different words. I've posted links below where you can hear Ihr and Er.

http://www.forvo.com/word/ihr/#de

http://www.forvo.com/word/er/#de

Now, this might not be as distinguishable when said by a computerized voice, and as a result you're might still find yourself losing some hearts.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kiranmech

What is the difference between Wohin and Woher


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/reconnoisance

Wohin =Where to

Wohin geht sie? Where is she going to?

Woher=Where from

Wo kommst du her? Where do you come from?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DiegoMaria15

If i'm not wrong one word implies motion and the the other no really! WO = Wo ist meine Frau? ... [Where is my wife?] WOHIN = Wohin gehest du? ... [Where are you going?]


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shadynastyx

Splodgeit03 has the right of it. I scrolled down before echoing the answer, but the distinction would be made in English by the use of "is". "Where does she swim?" would mean what location does shw swim usually. "Where is she swimming?" would very clearly inquire her destination.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bob_Dean

NO: Where is she swimming does not involve destination. It simply means Where is she swimming right now. To indicate destination you must use the word to. I like whither meaning where to?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BRyeO12

so, in the tips & notes it says that you can both pied-pipe the preposition: ‘Wohin schwimmt er?’ and leave it in-situ: ‘Wo schwimmt er hin?’ Is ‘Wohin schwimmt er?’ considered formal/prescriptive (like the English ‘To where is he swimming?’ while ‘Wo schwimmt er hin?’ would be more informal (like the English ‘Where is he swimming to?’ ? or are they both accepted in both formal/prescriptive and casual situations?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/iainsona

Okay ... I know it's somewhat archaic English but shouldn't "Whither is he swimming?" be okay?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ecampbell728

Can someone please explain the differences between "Wohin and Woher" and where the endings -her and -hin are coming from? I was also confused with Kind and Kinder. The ending -er.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kiranmech

Wohin is used when you are asking questions like where....to? Woher in questions like where ....from? For example:- Wohin gehen wir? Where are we going (to)? Woher kommen Sie? Where do you come (from)?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/buttercup192719

Audio: i hear: wohin schwimmt ihr


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/imeiprezime

Is H in "woHin" pronounced or not?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

Yes it is.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/padmaja572925

i want to know the difference between wohin, woher etc etc


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

wohin is the direction “(to) where”. So “where” as in: “Where are you going? Where does this road lead?” Not the position “where” as in “Where is he? Where did you find the chocolate?” The position “where” is wo in German.

woher is “from where”.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/2mhnkzrc

Whither swimmeth he?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Nweech

where swims he to?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

I’m afraid that isn’t correct English (at least not in any modern dialect I have ever encountered). You need to add a supporting “do” in questions unless there is already another auxiliary or modal.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RobertHJMa

'Where he swims" surely is accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

That is not an acceptable word order as a full sentence – at least not in any dialect of English that I know about. Even if it was, it would also be rather ambiguous: Are you asking about the destination which he is swimming to? Or about the place in which he is swimming around? The German sentence only has the former meaning because wohin means “to where” (think about it as the antiquated word “whither” if that helps you). If you were asking about a position you would use wo.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Chris930725

How was I supposed to know from the poor recording that it was er not ihr. More care is needed with the pronounciation or more leeway with the marking.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

What I hear (from the male voice) is unambiguously er, not ihr. I know the distinction between long /e/ and long /i/ is a bit difficult for native speakers of English because it doesn’t have this distinction. However unless you got the female voice and it is a lot worse than the male one (which I doubt; at least I’ve never heard it pronounce long /e/ ambiguously), I’m afraid the issue probably lies with your ears needing more training rather than bad pronunciation.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/redeyedmonster

I typed "where to is he swimming" and got it right, however this clearly doesn't make sense in English....wagwan?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Viola264602

can wohin convey past tense?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

Wohin doesn’t have a tense at all; it just means “where (= to what place)”


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Viola264602

is 'where did he swim to?' correct then? if not, how is this written in German?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AbunPang
Mod
  • 426

“Where did he swim to” would need the verb “to swim” to be in past tense, just like you do in the normal positive clause in English: “He swam to the island” (in the question the past tense is transferred to the auxiliary “do” in English, but in German we don’t have that, so the past tense stays on the main verb): Wohin schwamm er? Or actually, because simple past tense is very rare in colloquial German, what you more likely get is perfect tense: Wohin ist er geschwommen? (literally “where to is he swum”)

As you can see, just like English “to swim”, German schwimmen is irregular and changes its stem vowel in the past and participle forms.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AdellaHofstetter

Lived here in Washington for 35 years, nobody says "where are you swimming to".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bethany547769

"Where to is he swimming?" Was counted as incorrect. Why do i have to say "where is he swimming to?" Seems kind of picky.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Evelynne55466

Yr translation does not make sense in english. You cannot finuish a sentence with a pronoun. You shld know this!!!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JeanniKistler

Where is he swimming to is just bad English grammar. NEVER end a sentence with a preposition! It would be "Where is he swimming?" Or "To where is he swimming?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marius878731

Are we checking the English here or German? English is not my mother language


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/walaamfarid

i still don't know the difference between " wo" and "wohin " any help ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/aceofspades4

This will probably become more clear when we learn hin vs her. Wohin is a contraction of where and forth (basically). The hin relates to motion or direction away from the speaker. So for now, in our beginning stages of German, it might be easier to ask yourself if you want to know where something is (Wo) or where it's going (Wohin).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Emorol

Okay, this is irritating. When i put where does he swim?, it said it was wrong and said where do he swim? I put where do he swim? just now and got it wrong. X.x


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sam_i_am0

how is this wrong-where he swimming


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jburhite

Apparently this is a debatable translation. As a native American English speaker I would say that contextually, destination could be implied.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jami.saich

Wo = Where

Wohin = Where to

Woher = Where from


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ijbrito

Wo = dónde ; Wohin = a dónde


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RafaelHart4

"Where is he swimming to?" is not the right sequence in english language. It would problably be more correct to ask: Where to is he swimming?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Gwenyth77

Can "Wohin" also mean "Whereabouts?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ada21

It is also correct "Wohin schwimmt ihr" ?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/claudiafar3

I am displeased by being forced to use a preposition at the end of a sentence. "To where is he swimming?" should be correct, because "where does he swim to?" sure isn't!

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