When I write German for work, I continually try to use new words and phrases I am not yet comfortable with in order to break out of linguistic fossilization.

One construct is using "welches" which I hear and read often and know it sounds formal but do not use it confidently yet, is the following correct?

Sie hat uns die VPS Infos geschickt, welches Login noch nicht funktioniert.

  • 2
    If there is more than one login which could not work, I'd write: "..., welche Logins noch nicht funktionieren."
    – splattne
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 8:36
  • VPS-Infos vielleicht? Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 20:32
  • Oder: "Sie hat uns per VPS Infos geschickt, welcher Login noch nicht funktioniert". - je nach dem, was VPS nun überhaupt ist. Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 20:50

4 Answers 4


Note that there are three different "welches" in German:

  1. relative pronoun
    Der Login, welcher nicht funktioniert." ("The login which doesn't work.")
  2. interrog. pronoun
    "Welcher Login funktioniert nicht?" ("Which login doesn't work?")
    "Info darüber, welcher login nicht funktioniert." ("Info about which login (of several) does not work.")
  3. indefinite pronoun
    "Ich brauche mehr Info, kannst du mir welche geben?" "I need more Info, can you give me some?"

Your example is the second instance: "Info, which one of the logins doesn't work."

This should not be confused with the extremely formal use as relative pronoun (1.) "Der Login, welcher nicht funktioniert." ("The login which doesn't work.")
This sounds very stilted to (these) German ears... as though you are either trying to sound like Goethe or trying to mock the one you're talking to.

Before thinking about your question, it has never occurred to me that there can be such a difference in registers between uses of one word:

  1. relative pronoun formal, to the degree of stilted
  2. interrog. pronoun neutral
  3. indefinite pronoun tending to coll. (imo :))

Do any other German native speakers feel like that?

  • Yes, absolutely.
    – elena
    Commented Sep 27, 2011 at 11:52
  • Does not sound unnaturally stilted at all to me, just formal. I used it even at young age, because I don't want to repeat "das" unnecessarily often. But very well explained!
    – Ludi
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 12:57

Your example sounds perfectly right to me apart from a minor remark that it may be better to use plural if more than one login was meant (elena already pointed this out).

Always a good alternative to avoid "fossilization" is using a preposition. In case of "Informationen" these would be "zu" or "über":

Sie hat uns die VPS-Infos über die noch nicht funktionierenden Logins geschickt.
Sie hat uns die VPS-Infos zu den noch nicht funktionierenden Logins geschickt.


Is it in the sense of "there's one login that does not yet work, and she sent us the info which one it is"? Then it's correct.

Also, remember to hyphenate acronym-noun compunds:



A correct form of your sentence would be:

Sie hat uns die VPS Infos* geschickt, mit denen der Login noch nicht funktioniert.

*für die Anmeldung bei einem VPS-Server nötige Daten - Data necessary to log in to a VPS server.

The words "welches", "welchen" or "welche" are equivalents of "which", sound a little bit old fashioned and can always be replaced with the common words "das", "den" or "die".

  • As far as I understood the technical meaning of the sentence, somebody tries to login to a virtual server, which does not work - due to incorrect login-data. A use of "welches" in the sense of "which particular login" would not make sense. So, you are wrong.
    – The_Fritz
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 10:16
  • That is my understanding, yes. You log in to a server with login-information. If this information is incorrect, a login won't work. No offense to all network-technicians out there ;-)
    – The_Fritz
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 10:56
  • ok. I hope, it is comprehensible now. As this is not a technical forum, many people won't know, what a VPS-server is. I am not a technician either... (just a simple minded web designer)
    – The_Fritz
    Commented May 11, 2012 at 11:40

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.