I have just started learning the basic German language. In an exercise, I had to fill in the blank in the following question with a question word:

W___ macht Tina?

I saw that macht means power/make and it does not make any sense to write a question which ends with make/power Tina?

  • 1
    Why doesn't it make sense a sentence ending in make Tina?
    – c.p.
    Feb 15, 2017 at 17:41
  • 4
    I voted to reopen this question. It is clearly not a translation request, but an honest effort to understand what the sentence can mean and why it can mean that, starting from a hypothesis (that "macht" is a noun) that is reasonable for a beginner. I can see other people making the same mistake, in which case tihs question will be of use to them.
    – sgf
    Jun 29, 2017 at 18:57

3 Answers 3


You are confusing a noun with a verb.

The verb machen means ‘to make’, ‘to do’, while the noun die Macht means ‘power’.

ich mache

du machst

er/sie/es macht

wir machen

ihr macht

sie/Sie machen

In your example, Tina is referring to she (sie) and because of this reason, the question is in the sense of “What does Tina do/make?”. In the question, you wrote in your question, the conjugated verb macht ‘[she] does’ is used instead of the noun Macht ‘power’.

  • 6
    Might be worthwhile to add, that it cannot be a noun, as it is not capitalised.
    – Gerhard
    Feb 15, 2017 at 7:19

machen also means "do". There's only one possibility of meaning since there's no objective:

Was macht Tina? - What is Tina doing?

  • 18
    Wie macht Tina? - "oink"
    – Takkat
    Feb 14, 2017 at 13:48
  • 11
    Wann macht Tina? Morgens, gleich nach dem Aufstehen...
    – tofro
    Feb 14, 2017 at 14:20
  • 12
    Wer macht Tina? Die Redaktion und einige freie Mitarbeiter. illuservice.de/zeitschriften/?id_item=26&illustrierte=tina
    – tofro
    Feb 14, 2017 at 14:22
  • 18
    Wohin macht Tina? Ins Katzenklo.
    – Carsten S
    Feb 14, 2017 at 15:58
  • 9
    Wieviel macht Tina? Die macht so Dreitausend im Monat.
    – tofro
    Feb 14, 2017 at 21:18

Was macht also has a colloquial meaning that could be rephrased as "What's new to tell about...?" This is a very handy phrase for German learners that can be applied to anything:

Und was macht Tina so? - Die hat ihr Studium geschmissen und gibt jetzt Surfkurse auf Fuerteventura.

Was macht deine Wohnungssuche? - Schwierig. Immer passt irgendwas nicht, meistens die Höhe der Miete.

Was macht dein Deutsch? - Jaa, langsam langsam ist es ein bisschen besser.

The typical situation for this would be not having seen someone for a certain period of time and then briefly 'going over' the common themes.

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