Das Gesindel hat sich darin verkrochen. Wo auch sonst!

I wonder if this expression means:

Where else?!


Just as usual!

I'm not sure how to interpret the precise function of auch and sonst in this specific instance.

5 Answers 5


The expressions of the form wo auch/denn sonst?, wie auch/denn sonst?, was (auch)/denn sonst? imply that the speaker can think of no other possibility, or other possibilities are just not as good as the possibility at hand, or s/he might actually be stating a question, expecting an answer (only if there is actually someone else around to answer).

Wo auch sonst?

Where else would they go?

implying that there's simply nowhere else for them to go or this is by far the best place for them to be or the speaker doesn't know about a better place.

Wie denn sonst?

That's the only way! // However else would you do it?

implying there's no other method of doing something or the applied method is superior to others or this is the only way the speaker knows how to do something.

  • NB: it's possible to combine denn and auch (wie/wo/was denn auch sonst), but not the other way round (not *auch denn sonst). Not sure if you indicated that by the parenthesis, however the order would be important Jun 10, 2020 at 20:15

Wo sonst?

... is just ...

Where else?

It's a simple word by word translation:

  • wo = where
  • sonst = else

What obviously makes problems to you is the word ...


This word, as it is used here, is a modal particle.

I have written an answer about modal particles in German language: https://german.stackexchange.com/a/12242/1487

But you might also find this article in Wikipedia useful: German modal particle

The most important facts about modal particles:

  • They do not change the meaning of a sentence, they just add some mood or feeling.
  • All German modal particles have homonymes in other parts of speech. You also can say: Some words, that you might already know as adverbs, adjectives or answer particles, can be used as modal particles.
  • They are used very often in German, but almost don't exist in English.
  • They are very hard to translate, just because they don't exist in English. You either just leave them out when translating from German to English (which means to ignore the mood or feeling that goes with the modal article), or you add a verbal description of the mood that is expressed by that word, which often gives a clumsy and too long tranlation.

The translation you gave are fitting: Where else?! or Just as usual.

It could also imply that the speaker is kinda angry, or that it's quite obvious, that the 'Das Gesindel hat sich darin verkrochen'

  • No. "Wo auch sonst?" does not mean "just as usual".
    – jarnbjo
    May 24, 2017 at 12:07

A literal translation of "Wo auch sonst?" is "Where else otherwise?"

A figurative English translation is "what else can you expect?"


The expression is better translated as "of course"

"Das Gesindel hat sich darin verkrochen. Wo auch sonst!" -> "The rabble have gone into hiding there, of course", or "of course the mob have hidden themselves in there", or even "The riff-raff have crawled in there. Of course!"

Generally "Wo auch/denn sonst?" implies heavy sarcasm, rather than a literal interpretation: "Wo ist dein Mann?" "Er sitzt in der Kneipe, wo denn sonst?"

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