How do the following phrases differ from each other?

Was kostet ...?
Was kosten ...?

This is a sample phrase I found in a book:

Was kosten 100 Gramm Käse?
Was kostet ein Kilo Rindfleisch?

I can’t tell the difference between the two.

  • 1
    You might be mistaking the subject as "was", where as the true subjects here are "100 Gramm Käse" and "ein Kilo Rindfleisch". "Was" here simply is the equivalent to "wie viel Geld"
    – Gerry
    Apr 9, 2017 at 12:31

1 Answer 1


This is simple concord of number. It works exactly the same as in English:

A pound [singular] of beef costs $10.

Two pounds [plural] of beef cost $20.

(You're probably surprised because German can often have the subject after the verb. That's not exactly like English.)

  • 1
    But in questions, the subject does come after the verb in English: "what does he eat? What do they eat?"
    – Blavius
    Apr 9, 2017 at 0:44
  • English uses the singular: "What does 100 grams of cheese cost?", "Two pounds of beef is enough", etc.
    – TonyK
    Apr 11, 2017 at 22:15

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