Wann vs. WennWhat's the Difference?

Navigating the German language can be confusing, especially when words sound alike. Dive into the distinctions between 'wann' and 'wenn' to master asking about time and expressing conditions in German.

Understanding 'wann' and 'wenn' is key to mastering German. 'Wann' is all about asking "When?" regarding time, while 'wenn' connects conditions or expresses "If" and "When." Keep 'wann' for time and 'wenn' for conditions!

If you're starting to learn German, you might come across words that sound similar but have different meanings. Two such words are 'wann' and 'wenn'. Let's explore the difference between these words in a simple way!

Wann vs. Wenn in German

How To Use Wann

In German, 'wann' means "when" in English. It's a word you use when you want to ask or talk about time-related things. Imagine you're curious about when your favorite show starts – you'd use 'wann'!

For example:

Wann fängt der Film an?

When does the movie start?
Ich frage mich, wann der Bus kommt.

I wonder when the bus will arrive.

How To Use Wenn

On the other hand, 'wenn' means "if" or "when" (in the sense of "whenever") in English. It's used when you're talking about situations or conditions. Think of 'wenn' as a bridge that connects different events or ideas.

Wenn das Wetter schön ist, fahre ich in den Wald.

When the weather is nice, I'll go to the forest.
Ich komme später bei dir vorbei, wenn ich Zeit habe.

I'll come by later at your place if I have time.


Examples With Wann

Wann fängt der Film an?

When does the movie start?
Ich bin mir nicht sicher, wann die Party stattfindet.

I'm not sure when the party will be.
Sag mir Bescheid, wann du bereit bist zu gehen.

Tell me when you're ready to go.

Examples With Wenn

Wenn es regnet, bleibe ich drinnen.

If it rains, I'll stay indoors.
Ich fühle mich immer glücklich, wenn ich mit Freunden bin.

I always feel happy when I'm with friends.
Wenn ich einen Regenbogen sehe, lächle ich.

Whenever I see a rainbow, I smile.

Summing It Up

In summary, the main difference between 'wann' and 'wenn' is their purpose in a sentence. 'Wann' is used when you're asking or talking about time-related matters, like asking when an event will happen. 'Wenn', on the other hand, is used to connect conditions or express possibilities.


  • 'Wann' is for time-related questions like "When?".
  • 'Wenn' is for conditions and possibilities like "If" or "When".

Learning a new language can be fun and exciting, and mastering these subtle differences will help you communicate more effectively in German!


What does 'wann' mean in German?
'Wann' means 'when' in English. It's used to ask about time-related matters or inquire when an event will happen.
Can 'wann' be used to express conditions?
No, 'wann' is specifically used for asking about time. To express conditions, you should use the word 'wenn', which can mean 'if' or 'when' in certain contexts.
How do I use 'wenn' in a sentence?
'Wenn' is used to connect conditions or express possibilities. For example, 'I'll go for a walk if the weather is nice' translates to 'Ich gehe spazieren, wenn das Wetter schön ist.'
Are there any other meanings of 'wenn'?
Yes, 'wenn' can also mean 'whenever' in certain contexts. For instance, 'I smile whenever I see a cute puppy' translates to 'Ich lächle, wenn ich einen niedlichen Welpen sehe.'
Is it common to mix up 'wann' and 'wenn'?
Yes, it's a common mistake among German learners. Just remember that 'wann' is about time, and 'wenn' is about conditions. With practice, you'll get the hang of using them correctly.

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