15

We may use "warum", "weshalb" or "weswegen" in seemingly the same way in questions as we can use "deshalb" or "deswegen" in answers.

Warum stellst Du diese Frage?
Weshalb stellst Du diese Frage?
Weswegen stellst Du diese Frage?

Ich frage darum, weil mich eine Antwort interessiert.
Ich frage deshalb, weil mich die Antwort interessiert.
Ich frage deswegen, weil mich die Antwort interessiert.

Is there a different usage or meaning of one or the other? How comes that some of the words associated can also be used without a question, e.g.:

Mich interessiert die Antwort, weshalb ich diese Frage stelle.

  • 4
    "Wieso? Weshalb? Warum? Wer nicht fragt bleibt dumm!" is the theme from Sesamstraße, the german version of Sesame Street. – starblue Aug 8 '11 at 18:22
10

There is no difference in meaning between the three options. Google Ngrams Viewer shows that warum is the most commonly used word in questions:

ngrams warum weshalb weswegen

Among the "answer" words, "deshalb" is the most used term. The usage of darum/deshalb/deswegen:

ngrams darum deshalb deswegen

6

I hope you get my point, because i think my english is not the best (but I'm trying)
In my opinion the words "warum, weshalb, weswegen" have slightly different meanings.

Warum

Q: Warum stellst du diese Frage? (Why do you ask this question?)
R: Weil mich die Antwort interessiert. (Because I'm interested in your answer.)

Q: Warum weint das Baby? (Why does the baby cry?)
R: Weil es Hunger hat. (Because it is hungry)

In both cases you ask for "Grund (reason) oder Motiv (motif)" for a fact.

Weswegen/Weshalb

Q: Weswegen stellt du diese Frage? (What's the reason for your question?)
R: Weil ich mich mit dir unterhalten möchte. (Because I want to talk to you)

Q: Weswegen weint das Baby? (What's the reason for the baby crying?)
R: Weil es die Mutter aufmerksam machen will. (Because his mother should pay attention)

Here you are asking for a "Zweck (purpose)".

Darum/Deshalb/Deswegen are synonyms, they developed in different ages and different places, you can use them how you like it.

Your example "Mich interessiert die Antwort, weshalb ich diese Frage stelle." is not a direct question (always with a question mark), it's an indirect question including the answer. So I would say, it's no question, it's an statement.

I hope this helps.

  • Aren't "What's the reason" and "why" just the same? – splattne Aug 8 '11 at 9:50
  • I thought "What's the reason" underlines the purpose-character. In general you can use both, and as I said, there are slightly* differences, but you can use the words to distinguish the intention of the inquirer. – Daniel Aug 8 '11 at 9:55
  • I think "why" is just shorter. :) See definition of "why": merriam-webster.com/dictionary/why : for what cause, reason, or purpose – splattne Aug 8 '11 at 9:57
  • 1
    "daher" würde hier auch passen, oder? – Denis Aug 7 '15 at 9:18
  • Deine Erklärung ist meines Erachtens falsch. Du kannst warum, weshalb und weswegen synonym verwenden. Der Duden macht da keinen Unterschied zwischen den Fragewörtern. – clemens Dec 13 '17 at 15:27
2

I understand the different flavours of these words as attaching to the word roots.

weswegen/deswegen is concerning Wegen - paths (hence motives). The question and answer asks for a full explanation - "where have you come from and where are you going with this?"

weshalb/deshalb concerns division or categorization - (compare innerhalb/ausserhalb). The question asks what is the dividing line (logical reason) between choices.

warum/darum concerns "um" - everything and anything surrounding the question/answer. It is a lot more vague, and therefore less challenging as a question.

1

Warum ist kausal. Es wird nach dem Grund des Geschehens gefragt. Wieso ist modal. Es wird nach dem Ablauf gefragt. Wie ist das so gekommen?

  • 1) Es ging aber in der Frage gar nicht um "wieso", sondern um "weshalb" und "weswegen", die ebenfalls kausal sind.. – Annatar Dec 13 '17 at 10:47
  • 1
    2) "wie" + "so" ist in der Tat der Ursprung des Wortes "wieso", aber heutzutage wird es kausal und nicht modal benutzt. – Annatar Dec 13 '17 at 10:49

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