(a) Wie ist deine Adresse/Nummer?

(b) Was ist deine Adresse/Nummer?

I usually see version (a), rather than (b). Why is it that "wie" is used, even though the question corresponds to "what" rather than "how"? Is version (b) correct?

  • 2
    "Was" in german has not always the same semantic value of "which". The answer to "was ist deine Adresse?" can thus only be: "Meine Adresse ist eine Adresse" (or some longer definition of "Adresse").
    – persson
    Dec 28, 2014 at 17:26

1 Answer 1


A lot of what-questions in English correspond to wie-questions in German.

What is your name? - Wie ist Ihr Name?

What is her hair like? - Wie ist ihre Haarfarbe?

et cetera.

Version b is not correct. It is English translated word for word into German.

  • 2
    Version b) is used a lot though.
    – Emanuel
    Dec 28, 2014 at 19:48
  • 2
    Habe ich noch nicht bemerkt.Vielleicht regional. Oder Einfluß des Englischen? Was sagt der Sprachatlas?
    – rogermue
    Dec 29, 2014 at 4:07
  • 2
    Version b) klingt für mich komisch. Ich glaube @rogermue hat recht.
    – Karl
    Dec 29, 2014 at 7:29

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.