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

"Warum nicht?"

Translation:Why not?

April 30, 2013



what is the difference between warum and wieso?


Colloquially they are used interchangeably. However, if you wanna impress your German friends, this is what I've found (I didn't even know this myself as a native speaker) on the differences between Warum/Wieso/Weshalb:

Warum is asking for the reasons or motives

  • Warum freut sich die Frau? (Why is the woman rejoicing?)
  • Weil sie einen rosa Pinguin gewonnen hat. (Because she won a pink penguin)

Wieso is asking for the cause

  • Wieso fällt der Pinguin auf den Boden? (Why does the penguin fall on the floor)
  • Weil er der Schwerkraft ausgesetzt ist. (Because he is subject to gravity)

Weshalb is asking for the purpose/aim

  • Weshalb geht er auf Duolingo.com? (Why does he go on duolingo.com)
  • Weil er etwas lernen möchte. (Because he wants to learn something)

AS AN EXTRA BONUS, here is the German song from the Sesame Street, which features all three words: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPHi5xn_q5c



still confused.. What are the differences between reasons and causes? What would you use for "Why are you late for school?" "My bike was stolen" ---- (cause?) "I got up late" ---- (reason?)

I feel that weather it's asking for a reason, a cause or a purpose depends on the answer, not the question... such as "Why do you eat a hamburger for lunch?" "Because it tastes good" ---- (reason) "Because it's fast and I ran out of time" ----(purpose)


Roughly, a reason or a motive is a logical or psychological entity - like a justification, a premise, a propositional explanation etc. A cause is a nomological entity of the natural world - say, a physical or biological law, or a common-sense counterpart of that. "I fell because you pushed me" is a cause. "I fell because I wanted to test the carpet's softness" is a motive or reason. Nevertheless, the boundaries are not always so philosophically clear, as you could find out on Anscombe's, Wittgenstein's and Davidson's discussions about it.


Wouldn't be the purpose "to test the carpet's softness"?

  • 2176

From the Questions 2 - Tips and notes:

warum (why)

"Warum" (why) is also not declinable.

"Wieso", "Weshalb", and "Weswegen" can be used instead of "Warum." There's no difference in meaning.

For example, take "Warum ist das Auto so alt?" = "Wieso ist das Auto so alt?" = "Weshalb ist das Auto so alt?" = "Weswegen ist das Auto so alt?" (Why is the car so old?).


Not sure if this was also in the older version of the German tree. I don't remember seeing weswegen back then.


I try to think of it as an elaborate "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

(Warum) It is compelled to do so (Wieso) Because of an evil wizard's curse (Weshalb) To ultimately take over the world


Steven13579, are you saying that it is hard to know which word to use (Warum/Wieso/Weshalb) because they each provide more information about the answer than the question itself? For example, if I ask "Why were you late for school?" I may not know which word to use because I don't know whether you were late due to external reasons outside of your control (Wieso), internal motivations (Warum), or a specific purpose/aim (Weshalb).

If that is what you meant, I would say that it doesn't matter that you don't know why a particular event (being "late for school") happened. The way you ask the question would only reveal what you expect the reason to have been. So if I use "Warum" to ask why you were late for school, that would show that I think you had an internal reason/motivation for being late (such as "I woke up late."). And if I'm wrong, you could correct me by saying, "My bike was stolen." (external cause)


That Sesame Street link was gold:

Auf Deutsch:

Der, Die, Das. Wer, Wie, Was? Weiso, Weshalb, Warum? Wer nicht fragt bleibt dumm.

Auf Englisch:

The, the, the. Who, how, what? Why, why, why? Who does not ask stays dumb.

  • 1037

Reasons/motives can be easily confused with purpose/aims.

So warum and weshalb are easily mixed up then?


From the description, I think that weshalb is more like what for, not why.


They also have wofür, which is "what for" (literally wherefore)


Because "Wherefore art thou 'Romeo'" actually does make sense.


Wow, thanks for the explanation!

A follow-up question, though: When you ask for reasons or motives, don't you also inadvertently ask about the purpose and aim?


You can still use "warum" for, ""why does he go on duolingo?" *Motives


I need German Sesame Street! Danke for the idea!


Thanks, I was looking looking for some children show like Sesame Street.


You have no idea how much this helped me. Thank you!


sesamstrasse.de lets you watch whole episodes and more


Does this capture it? Weshalb geht er in den Laden? (Why is he going to the store?) Er geht in den Laden, um Brot zu kaufen (He is going to the store to buy bread)

Wieso geht er in den Laden? (Why does he go to the store?) Weil seine frau ihn gebeten hat? (because his wife asked him to)

Warum geht er in den Laden (Why is he going to the store?) Weil es seine Frau glücklich machen wird (Because it will make his wife happy)


When you learn another language, you have to start all over, even going back to Sesame Street.


Its one of those thing s you don't need to think about. Like in Punjabi too we have two words for "why", "kio" and "kato" for no reason !!


Warum? = Why? Wieso? = How so? (Cool how it's the same word for word)


'Deutsch - Warum nicht' it is a free Deutsch course at DW welle radio station. Check that out


Ooooh. I really enjoyed this. Didn't understand much yet, but it is different. Looking forward to going through more in the series.


Yeah, I listen to it too! I knew this one because of that.


Kid 1: Wohin gehen wir? Dad: Zu die Bibliothek! Kid 2: Ich dachte wir gehen auf die amusment Park! Mom: Nein, wir sind nicht! Kids: Warum nicht? (Starts crying) :(


I would say that "Warum and Wieso" can be used in whatever you wanna ask. For example: "Warum machst du das"? (Why are you doing that?) Wieso willst du dich nicht beruhigen? (Why don't you want to calm yourself down?) You can also use "Weshalb" in the same way. Like: "Weshalb brauchst du den Bleistift?" (Why do you need the pencil?) Just think about it


Can we use Warum Wieso Weshalb in any sentences without knowing what do they express?? For example can we use Wieso for the aim/purpose??


Does "Warum kein?" make any sense?


Hahah 'warum nicht' came just after ' ich trage keine Kleidung'


Can 'Warum' be used in non-question sentences such as 'Warum das Zimmer ist kalt ist da trage Ich keine Decke (Why the room is cold is because I am not wearing a blanket'?


Haha. I had "Die Antwort ist nein." before this.


Can I use only "Warum" for all conditions?


The normal speed phrase says only 'warum'! If you listen to the slow version, it has the 'nicht' added.


Is it bad if i use both? Warum and wieso?


Are we now being marked on punctuation? My answer ' why not ' was not acceptable!


The audio isn't coming through right


what happened to the chance to correct a misspelling?


They updated it lol.


The pronunciation of 'r' is a bit complicated in german. It's different for every word


Yes, Germans have very dry rs but sometimes roll them. I must say I quite agree with you, the pronounciation is silly! :D


What about was and warum difference?


Generally speaking, there should be more translations into than from German.

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