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Wo- / Da-Wörter


learning target


Aim of this section is to learn the meaning and use of wo- / da compounds.

German

English

Ich freue mich darauf.
Er träumt davon.
Worüber denkst du nach?

I'm looking forward to it.
He dreams about it.
What are you thinking about?



rules


Wo- / da compounds require some explanation because they don't exist in English.
In German, however, they play quite an important role and are often used.

Da compounds

Several months ago we spoke about pronouns (ich, du, er, sie, es...).
Pronouns can be used to avoid repetitions and make sentences shorter:

example:

  1. Cathy, Joy and Kristine sind Freunde. Cathy, Joy and Kristine gehen oft zusammen ins Kino.
    (Cathy, Joy and Kristine are friends. Cathy, Joy and Kristine often go together to the cinema.)
  2. Cathy, Joy and Kristine sind Freunde. Sie gehen oft zusammen ins Kino.
    (Cathy, Joy and Kristine are friends. They often go together to the cinema.)

In the first example I used twice "Cathy, Joy and Kristine". It sounds strange and makes the sentence unnecessary long.
In the second example I replaced the name of the three girls by "sie" (they).
You know who I mean with "sie" because I used the names in the sentence before already.

Da compounds have exactly the same purpose but they don't replace a person.
They replace an inanimate object. To be exact: da compounds replace the object which follows a preposition.


example 1:

  1. Ich kann den Schlüssel nicht finden. Ich suche nach dem Schlüssel.
    (I can't find the key. I'm looking for the key.)
  2. Ich kann den Schlüssel nicht finden. Ich suche danach.
    (I can't find the key. I'm looking for it.)

Because I don't want to write again "Schlüssel" I replace it by "danach".
"Danach" consists of the word "da" and the preposition "nach" which belongs to the verb "suchen" (to look for = suchen nach).


example 2:

  1. Ich vermisse unsere gemeinsame Zeit. Ich täume oft von unserer gemeinsamen Zeit.
    (I miss our common time. I often dream about our common time.)
  2. Ich vermisse unsere gemeinsame Zeit. Ich täume oft davon.
    (I miss our common time. I often dream about it.)

Because I don't want to write again "unsere gemeinsame Zeit" I replace it by "davon".
"Davon" consists of the word "da" and the preposition "von" which belongs to the verb "träumen" (to dream about = träumen von).

We can summarize so far:

  • "Da compounds" have the same function as pronouns but they just replace inanimate objects (if the inanimate objects follows a preposition).
  • They always consists of "da" and "preposition" which belongs to the verb.
  • If you want to translate a "da compound" into English split up the preposition and translate the "da" into "it". It's not completely correct but helps to understand the meaning for now.



example 3:

  1. Liebe ist ein schönes Thema. Wir sprechen oft über Liebe.
    (Love is a nice topic. We often speak about love.)
  2. Liebe ist ein schönes Thema. Wir sprechen oft darüber.
    (Love is a nice topic. We often speak about it.)

In this example the "da compound" consists of "da" + "r" + "preposition".
There is one additional rule we have to consider:

If the preposition starts with a vowel (a,e,u,o,) or an umlaut (ä,ü,ö) you have to put a "r" between "da" and the "preposition": da + r + preposition



Wo compounds

"Wo compounds" have the same function as "da compounds". They also replace the inanimate object following the preposition.
The difference is: "da compounds" are used in statements and "wo compounds" are used in questions.


example 1:

As you can see the example the "wo compound" is a kind of question word
which consists of "wo" and "preposition" which belongs to the verb (to look for = suchen nach).

If you try to translate a "wo compound" don't translate the "wo" into "where"
because here it has actually the meaning of "what".

example 2:


If the preposition starts with a vowel or an umlaut put a "r" between the "wo" and the "preposition".

example 3:



Wo - Da compounds vs. personal pronouns

I noticed that you still struggle to decide whether you
have to use a wo - da compound or a personal pronoun.
The following overview might help you:

 

inanimate objects

animate objects (people)

statements

da compound
da + (r) + preposition

preposition + pronoun

questions

wo compound
wo + (r) + preposition

preposition + question word


statements

example 1:

Ich freue mich darauf.

Ich freue mich auf sie.


example 2:

Ich denke daran.

Ich denke an ihn.



questions

example 1:

Worüber ärgerst du dich?

Über wen ärgerst du dich?


example 2:

Wovon träumst du?

Von wem träumst du?



 

exercises


Wo- / Da-Wörter 1

 

tom homework

 

Lösung

 

Wo- / Da-Wörter 2

 

tom homework

 

Lösung

 

Wo- / Da-Wörter 3

 

tom homework

 

Lösung

 


summary - documents for your folder


Wo- / Da-Wörter (theory, 4 pages)