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"Where are you from?"

Translation:Woher kommst du?

May 23, 2017

92 Comments


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

Isn't this section for formal you? Why is du here?


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

You could also write this sentence formally, as Woher kommen Sie? and Duolingo would accept it. Sometimes these miscategorised sentences appear in various lessons - it's part of the way Duolingo is partly put together by a computer program and partly by real people.


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

Couldn't the real people fix it? I mean I got this as a multiple choice question in a "testing out of the level" session, it was flipping annoying to have to check the obviously wrong pronoun, whilst being fairly but not totally sure that the other two answers both had the wrong verb


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Doctor-John

Frankly, I think it's better to mix some older material in with the new. That way we have to keep thinking instead of running on autopilot. And I'm also doing a "testing out of level."

I answered the question with "Wo kommen Sie aus?" = Where are you from? = Where do you come from? = What country do you come from? I assumed this would correspond to the possible answer "Ich komme aus Deutschland." From one of mizinamo's comments below this inference was wrong. The corresponding question is actually "Woher kommen Sie?" or "Woher kommt ihr?" or "Woher kommst du?" I am now down to one heart.

P.S. Duo asked the same question again. I got it right and tested out of level 4. :)


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

Oh okay, thank you for replying!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John567531

Actually, this lesson is on "Welches" and "wo", not formal you.


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

Why is "Woher bist du?" not accepted?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jpsaini.91

I answered the same . I think in 'woher kommst du' 'kommst' is redundant, the 'her' of 'woher' already covered the 'from' part. But it does not matter what I think. If I want to learn a language I have to learn as it comes, in all its forms with all its flaws.


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

Woher requires a verb of motion:

Woher kommst du/ Woher kommt ihr/ Woher kommen Sie?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/davidayala122135

Its corrected, now's accepted


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/EmilyLarse4

I had 'woher kommen ...' given to me. This is the first time that the formal Sie has been shown. You can't just spring it on people in the middle of a lesson on questions. Just a short intro as in.. 'Hey, this exists', would be fine. The formal you section is still 8 lessons down. I'm not that far into it.


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

Exactly , the hover over options are also helpless. I don't always do lessons in order and don't always want to read and understand hints, sometimes I just like diving in and this doesn't help .


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

If you decide not to read the grammar notes, and you don’t do lessons in order, then you really can’t blame Duo, can you?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KB122333

Why is "Woher bist du" wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sternchen.2306

İt's not wrong. You should report it. There is no other way to ask. You can use both. Where are you from... Woher kommst du/kommt ihr? Or woher bist du/seid ihr?

"Woher kommst du" sounds a little better, but "woher bist du" is definitely not wrong.


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

Not wrong? Are you sure? "Woher" implies movement. Wouldn't the verb "sein" be incompatible with that?


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

woher is simply "where from" or "from where". It can imply movement, but not necessarily. In this case, it is used to question one's origins. Although, kommt absolutely implies movement whereas bist does not.

I'm not really sure there is a real difference in meaning between these two, it seems subtle. But, to me (nonnative) one is more general while the other seems more specific to one's origins:

Woher kommt ihr? - "Where are you coming from?", "Where do you come from?"

"Ich komme von der Arbeit. Aber sie kommt von der Schule."
"Ich komme aus Amerika und sie is aus England." or, "Wir kommen aus der Cinima."


Woher bist du? - "Where are you from?"

"Ich bin aus Amerika." or "Ich bin aus Berlin."
Or, you can say, "Ich bin von meiner Mutter" if you want to be a smartass.

I'm not sure that this is helpful, but this is my take.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Felix670603

I tried "Woher sind Sie?" and it marked wrong. Shouldn't it be accepted?


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

Not really, from my limited understanding of German that'd be more like saying "Where are you?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sternchen.2306

It's not wrong, it's correct. Maybe not 100% grammatically correct (?), but the People in Austria would definitely ask this way.

"Where are you" means "Wo bist du".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VinC9099

"Wo sind Sie aus?" I Thought this was valid, asking where the person is from rather than asking where the person comes from, or do i need to use kommen instead of sein

Or have i completely misunderstood the meaning of "Woher kommen Sie?" and these sentences does not mean the same


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

No, that doesn't work.

Nor does Woraus sind Sie? (which would sound as if you're asking what they're made of -- marzipan, perhaps?).

Woher kommen Sie? is the normal way to ask this question of where someone is from. (Or, alternatively, Wo kommen Sie her?)


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sternchen.2306

"Wo kommen Sie hier?" - is not correct. It doesn't work. It has to be "Wo kommst du her/Wo kommen Sie her?" or "Von wo bist du/Von wo sind Sie?" (a bit colloquial).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ron697223

Is Woher sind Sie incorrect for this translation?


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

Indeed, it is incorrect.


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

It gave me the correct/corrected answer of "Wo kommen Sie her?" (not "hier", as your last example above. I don't know if both are correct [her/hier] but thought I'd share what Duolingo replied) when I put in "Wo kommen Sie aus?"


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

I believe Woher (and other wo words) gets split in the questions in such a way, that Wo is the question word in the beginning of the sentence and the remaining part (her in this case) is at the end.


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

'Wo kommen Sie hier'? or 'Wo kommen Sie her'?


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

'Wo kommen Sie hier'? or 'Wo kommen Sie her'?

her is correct.

I've corrected my comment now - thanks!


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VinC9099

Side note: "Wovon kommen Sie?" is also marked wrong


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

Yes, that doesn't work in German, either.


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

Could someone clarify for me? "Wir kommen aus Deutschland" the verb is kommen (or auskommen?) But it would not be "Wo kommen Sie aus?" because aus is understood and woher is a directional/preposition?


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

Wir kommen aus Deutschland - the verb is kommen

Wo kommen Sie aus? - you're right: we do not say that

Woher kommen Sie? Wo kommen Sie her? are used instead.

woher means "from where?"

So it doesn't specifically ask "from out of where?" -- that would be woraus?. But Woraus kommen Sie? would sound like "What do you come out of?", as if it would be an egg or something like that.

In the end, it might be convention -- aus Deutschland sounds just fine to me in a way that woraus? does not.


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

What is the difference between wo and woher?


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

wo? "where?" asks about a location.

woher? "from where? where from? whence?" asks about an origin or a place where movement started.

wohin? "where (to)? whither?" asks about a destination.


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

Why it is "sie" instead of "ihnen"?


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

Sie (capitalised!) is the nominative form and is used when it's the subject of a verb such as kommen.

Ihnen (also capitalised!) is the dative case; you might have come across it in a context such as Wie geht es Ihnen? "How are you?", where the grammatical subject in the German sentence is es -- the two phrases do not translate literally.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sternchen.2306

"Woher kommst du" should be accepted, too! It's a correct answer. Where are you from could mean both: "Woher kommt ihr" and "woher kommst du".


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jay283618

I wrote 'Woher sind sie' and they marked it wrong despite it being the English. If they want you to put 'woher kommen Sie' why don't they put Where do you come from? in the question?


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

I think "Woher sind sie" would translate closer to "Where from are you?" which (in English) could be acceptable as a form of "Where are you from," but it doesn't sound very good. As a matter of fact, it may actually be improper English, too. I mean, just try to use it in conversation:

"Mr. Higgins, where from are you?" (Interesting note: Grammarly marked "where from" as incorrect English on this example.)

No, it doesn't sound right, to me either. When I hear this phrase, my brain hears a bit of Old English influence in it.
"Woher kommt ihr", "Woher kommst du", and "Woher kommen Sie" all remind me of: "Where commeth ye [from]?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jay283618

Sorry, EdTyrone, I think you misunderstood my question. I am English and I understand that the word order isn't the same in German. Woher kommen Sie? means 'where do you come from?' but 'where are you from?' would be woher sind sie' yet they had marked it as wrong despite it being the question form in English. Note: From where....? would be the more formal accepted form in English, 'where from....? could never be accepted.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShanePatri14

Woher translates literally to the english word whither, which implies motion from a point. I think woher might similarly imply motion.


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

I think woher might similarly imply motion.

That's right.

Woher kommst du? is literally "Where do you come from?" -- the motion "come" originates in a certain place that we are asking about.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShanePatri14

Why not "sie aus" ?


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

Why not "sie aus" ?

In the question, we use Woher ...? or Wo ... her? -- not aus.


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

The version of the question I got was Wohen kommen __? It said the answer is Sie. Now, while that might be the formal version or something, it isn't something I've encountered there, so this is a poorly framed question. I put ihr, but I guess that would be kommt ihr, so this question doesn't make sense at this phase.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/David634390

I had this as a "drag the refrigerator magnets" thing, and the available words were:

woher kommen sie ihnen

Note how there are no capitals. This format doesn't have them. So the formal "Sie" looks like ordinary "sie" which is "she" or "they." And formal Sie apparently won't be taught until much later. Thanks, Duolingo!


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

“Drag the refrigerator magnets...!” That’s a great, and amusing, way to think of that particular activity... I had to laugh. Have a Lingot.


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

Woher kommen Sie is given as the correct answer but there is no capitalized 'Sie' choice in the bubbles.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Pronkman666

Why isnt "Wo kommen Sie" a correct answer?


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

For the same reason that "Where do you come?" is not a correct sentence.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sarah0741

would 'woher du?' work at all? since woher means 'where from'


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

No -- the verb is missing. "Where you from?" is not possible -- it has to be "Where are you from?" with a verb, and in German would usually be Woher kommst du? with the verb kommen (literally: to come).


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

Why it's not "Woher kommst du?" How I can figure out, that it's plural "you"instead of singular?


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

Why it's not "Woher kommst du?"

That's another accepted translation.


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

Why is "wo kommst du?" not an acceptable translation for "Where are you from?"?


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

Because wo is "where?" and not "from where?" = woher


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ben269502

Is this wrong - "Aus wo kommen Sie"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sternchen.2306

"Aus wo" doesn't work in German. It's always "woher" oder "von wo" (f.e. Country) or "woraus" (f.e. buildig).


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/V-for-vendetta

Why is the answer: "Woher bist Du." wrong?


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Girlcatlove1524

It's not technically wrong, I just believe they generally use the verb 'kommen' rather than 'sein'


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sternchen.2306

I've been thinking what we normally use... And it would be "Woher kommst du?". But like we said before, "woher bist du?" is not wrong.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/William109450

Must I use the verb kommen? Can I not say "Woher bist du?


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

Must I use the verb kommen?

It's certainly the overwhelmingly most common way to express this concept.


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

why not "woher kommst du?"


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/John567531

Mizinamo, "Where are you from?" The answer at the end of the exercise was, "Woher kommt ihr?" Ihr was not one of the blocked word choices, but Sie was. Got it right for once. However, the hint came up with a complete sentence. "Woher kommt her." Her? is this a typo, or some new word???


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

the hint came up with a complete sentence. "Woher kommt her."

Do you have a screenshot of that?

The only full-sentence hints I see are Woher kommst du? and Wo kommst du her?. Neither of those has kommt (without the -s-) and both of them have du in them.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marie948

Can we also say "Wo kommen sie her?"


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

Unfortunately not.
That would mean "Where do they come from?".

However, as mentioned on numerous occasions in this discussion,
"Wo kommen Sie her?" is a possible alternative.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marie948

Oh yeah! I meant to write: "Wo kommt ihr her?" Just confirming we can separate Wo...her and wo...in


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

*wo...hin
And yes, we can :)


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

I wrote Woher kommen Sie and it was marked incorrect. Duolingo is too picky many times.


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

Well, according to these comments "Woher kommen Sie?" is an accepted answer.

Do you have a screenshot of it being rejected?


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

I answered “Woher kommen Sie?” yesterday and it was accepted just fine.

So there may have been a typo or something else, not the answer per se.


https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vardhan.negi

What is difference between woher and wohir?


[deactivated user]

    wohir is NOT a german word Woher means "From Where" Woher kommst du" Where are you from, or literally "From where come you"


    https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ron697223

    Perhaps you meant "wohin", which means "where to" as in "Wohin gehst du" or "Wo gehst du hin". Where are you going (to).


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

    "woher bist du aus" would this work or am I missing something?


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

    "woher bist du aus" would this work

    No. Woher kommst du? or Wo kommst du her?.

    Not with aus. And usually with kommst rather than bist.

    The answer to Wo kommst du her? will often include aus (e.g. ich komme aus Berlin / aus Deutschland) but the question itself does not; we say woher and not woraus.


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

    I have been for the last hour working on the SIE form [YOU], which is formal version of DU [YOU]. And now -out of the blue- in the sentence "Where do you come from?" you want me to use DU instead of SIE !!! That's clearly a nasty TRAP!! What's wrong with "WOHER KOMMEN SIE" ???


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

    That's also possible.


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

    Wo kommst du aus?


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

    Wo kommst du aus?

    That is not correct German.

    And if you were to correct it to Woraus kommst du?, it wouldn't mean "Where do you come from?" (origin) but "Where are you coming out of?" (out of a box? out of a suitcase?).

    For origin, ask Wo kommst du her? or Woher kommst du?, even though the answer will usually use aus.


    [deactivated user]

      Woher kommen SIE is FORMAL. To be used with people you do not know, and being polite with them Woher kommst DU is FAMILIAR; to be used with people you know well..


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

      What do you mean?

      First you say that du is "not informal" and then you say that du is (familiar and) "informal".


      [deactivated user]

        There I cleaned it up for you Mizinamo. しょうがな Shō ga nai It's like the difference in Japanese between wakarimasen and wakaranai. Wakarimasen is polite. Wakaranai (without N) is used between friends and among family members. Sie and Ihnen is polite, DU is used among friends and certain family members based upon their choice.


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

        Actually, yes, it is.

        du => second person, informal, singular. ihr => second person, informal, plural. Sie => second person, formal, singular and plural.

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