Both words stellen and fragen have the meaning to ask. Is there any rule, when to use each of those words ? Or are they complete synonyms and can be freely switched ?

  • 4
    You are mistaken here. "stellen" is not synonymous to "ask". But "stellen" is a verb that accompanies "Frage": "Er stellt eine Frage." => "He asks a question." Commented Mar 19, 2020 at 17:38
  • 1
    Can you add the source where you found both meaning "to ask", please? Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 7:03

2 Answers 2


Eine Frage stellen is the same as fragen. You use the former when you want to stress the fact that you're asking or to avoid a sentence without object: Er stellte eine Frage. instead of Er fragte. (which likely prompts Was fragte er denn?).

Stellen by itself means to put.


"Stellen" actually means "to put". You can combine it with "eine Frage".

  • "eine Frage stellen" = "to ask a question", or literally "to put a question"
  • "fragen" = "to ask"

Ich frage. - I ask. / I am asking. Ich stelle eine Frage. - I ask a question. / I am asking a question.

Ich frage meine Mutter. - I ask my mum. / I am asking my mum.
Ich stelle meiner Mutter eine Frage. - I ask my mum a question. / I am asking my mum a question.
(Side note: "eine Frage" is the accusative object, "meiner Mutter" is the dative object - the person who "receives" something, is always in the dative case.)

  • 1
    In return there's also "antworten" and "eine Antwort geben" which both mean to answer. Commented Mar 20, 2020 at 1:05
  • So I can stelle eine Frage but I can't frage eine Frage? Is the latter grammatically incorrect or is it merely avoided because it sounds odd?
    – Mike B
    Commented Mar 25, 2023 at 18:38

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