Here is a sentence:

Das sind Fragen, die euch ein Verkäufer in einem Supermarkt oder auf einem Markt stellen könnte.

My question is, in this context does "stellen" represent the act of asking?

  • 1
    Yes. To ask a question: Eine Frage stellen.
    Sep 1 '21 at 13:58
  • 2
    Yes, but "stellen" alone wouldn't cut it. The noun "Frage" is required in combination with stellen. "Ich stelle eine Frage." -> "I am asking a question." In contrast to English, we can also say: "Ich frage." -> "I am asking [a question]." In the latter case, the "question" is implied. Sep 1 '21 at 14:40
  • 2
    Greetings and thanks are, by convention, unwanted here. Your thanks shall be executed by voting up good answers. Sep 1 '21 at 15:18

Yes, to ask a question is eine Frage stellen.

English also has to pose a question and, for some uses, to put a question. It's just much more common in German.

One reason is probably the fact that "eine Frage fragen" would sound silly.

  • 2
    Silly, yes. But not wrong. :)
    – henning
    Sep 2 '21 at 14:09
  • 2
    @henning Darf ich mal eine Frage fragen? - Klar, aber ob sie auch antwortet? Sep 2 '21 at 21:00

The correct sentence in German would be:

Das sind Fragen, die euch ein Verkäufer in einem Supermarkt oder auf einem Markt stellen könnte.

"Stellen" has lots and lots of meanings, similar to "put" in English. Duden lists 16, of which the last applies to the sentence in question, and DWDS lists 14, while not directly mentioning this case.

It's a special case of forming the meaning of the verb together with a noun. In this case, "stellen" has to be combined with a noun ("Frage(n)") to make sense. Different nouns + "stellen" can have different translations. Taken from the Duden examples:

  • (jmd.) eine Aufgabe stellen = to give/set (sb.) a task
  • eine Bedingung stellen = to impose a condition
  • eine Bitte stellen = to make a request
  • eine Frage stellen = to ask a question
  • einen Antrag stellen = to file an application


  • 4
    The grammatical term for this is "light verb". English has a number of them too such as "make" ("make amends"), "take" ('take charge"), "do" ("do dishes"). Other light verbs in German are machen, treffen, nehmen, bringen, treten; see the respective Wiktionary entries for example meanings.
    – RDBury
    Sep 1 '21 at 17:01
  • 3
    @rdbury The proper German grammar term for "light verbs" is "Funktionsverben"
    – tofro
    Sep 1 '21 at 22:18
  • @RDBury Thanks! TIL...
    – YetiCGN
    Sep 7 '21 at 8:54

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