Say you want to ask your friend if they want to eat, you could say

You want to eat?


Do you want to eat?

The first sentence, in speaking, sounds like a declarative sentence, but it has an interrogative meaning. I believe a similar phenomena happens in Arabic. Does this also hold in German?

As in, would

Du willst essen?

be same as,

Willst du essen?


1 Answer 1


Yes. Raising the pitch on the last word marks a sentence a question in German.

Be aware that this only applies to the last word. If you raise the pitch on another word, this word is in standout in German. It's sometimes use in speech to mark a contradiction, or where English speakers would use their hands to write quotes in the air.

  • what is this phenomena called? 2 days ago
  • Rising intonation.
    – Janka
    2 days ago
  • Btw.: This works also in English: One of two young women to the bouncer of a club: "Let her in too. She is 18." (Note, that "She is 18" is clearly a statement here.) Bouncer: "Oh really? She is 18?" instead of "Is she 18?" The sentence "Is she 18?" has the word order of a question, while "She is 18?" has the word order of a statement, but still it's semantically a question, and this comes only from the tone: The pitch of the last syllable is higher than the pitch of the syllable before, and this pattern of intonation turns every statement into a question. yesterday

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