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use of the word ''answer'' in german

Hey guys,

have seen many words in german which mean ''answer'' but i have seen so many forms of this word. such as: - antwort - antworten - beantwort - beantworten

what do all these mean, and how much do they vary in meaning and use.


June 29, 2018


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antworten (infinitive), die Antwort (noun) - used with prepositional object: auf etwas antworten, die Antwort auf etwas. This verb is intransitive, ie. it does not take a direct object. The item that would be the direct object in English is expressed in the prepositional phrase with auf.

  • er antwortet seiner Mutter. He answers his mother.
  • er antwortet auf die Frage. He answers the question.
  • die Antwort auf die Frage lautet 5. The answer to the question is 5.

If you want to express the same thing with a direct object, you need to use “beantworten”:

  • er beantwortet die Frage. He answers the question
  • er beantwortet den Brief. He answers the letter.
  • die Beantwortung der Frage war schwieriger, als er gedacht hatte. Answering the question was more difficult than he had thought. (Noun + genitive)

There is no noun “Beantworte/die Bantworten”, only “Beantwortung”. Like all verbs, the infinitive can be nomalized as “das Beantworten”, which is singular, without any plural form. Maybe there was some confusion with the word “Wort”: das Wort, die Wörter (word, words). This can also have a different plural form woth a somewhat different meaning: die Worte, which refers to a speech, a toast, or something similar: zur Begrüßung sprach er ein paar freundliche Worte.


Thank you! I understand better now, I guess it's just my foreign brain but I thought beantworte was noun, I will change by post. What is weird is the sentences I was thinking of I used beantworten like the verb it is but still used it like a noun. Thanks again.

This explained things really well! Have a lingot!

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