I've started learning German only recently and as far as I know Wie is how in English and Was is what. However, I have noticed that sometimes it says Wie where it would be more logical to say Was. For example, in my book it says "Wie ist deine Adresse?" Can anyone explain what types of questions use Wie and what types use Was? And are there any cases where the two can be used interchangeably?

Thanks a lot!

1 Answer 1


This question has already been answered here. Both versions are correct. If you want to make sure a question can start with "Wie ist" you could try replacing it with "Wie lautet ..." - "What is the name of ...". In a sense, the "ist" is just informal for "lautet".

Hope this helped. Feel free to ask for examples if you need some.

  • It may be that the "was" form is used regionally somewhere, but in standard German it is not correct. I have only heard it used at all by non-native speakers who translated word by word from English to German. Apr 15, 2021 at 8:23
  • @BjörnFriedrich yeah probably. Apr 15, 2021 at 10:17
  • Interesting. I would never say "Wie ist ..." as a native from Austria, and my feeling would say it's plain incorrect. It's probably something regional. Apr 18, 2021 at 17:56

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