Wo? Wohin? Woher?What's the difference?

The difference between Wo, Wohin & Woher in German is easy to understand. With a few simple tricks, you'll remember it in no time!

💡Quick Answer

Use Wo? when you want to ask "Where at". Use Wohin? when you want to ask "where to". And lastly, use Woher? when you want to ask "Where from?".

The difference between Wo, Wohin & Woher in German is very straightforward. While we would mostly just use "where" in English, the German language distinguishes three kinds of "where" (in English, this used to be the case, too: where, whence & whither).

German English Grandma English 👵🏻
Wo? Where (at) Where
Wohin? Where (to)? Whither
Woher? Where (from)? Whence

To summarize: Wo indicates where someone (or something) is. Wohin asks where someone (or something) is going to. Woher asks where someone (or something) is coming from.

Now let's have a look at some examples.


Wo asks: "Where are you right now?" / "Where are you at?".

Wo bist du?
Ich bin im Park!

You would use Wo to ask where someone is (or was) at a specific point in time:

Wo warst du gestern? Wir waren alle bei dem Fussballspiel!
Ich war krank! Ich konnte leider nicht kommen.


Wohin introduces direction: Direction moving away from the speaker:

Wohin gehst du? Ich dachte, wir gehen gleich zusammen ein Eis essen?
Oh, ich wollte nur schnell etwas Geld holen! Ich komme gleich wieder.

You could also translate Wohin as "where to": "Where to are you going?" (of course, nobody would say this in English, but it might help to remember it this way)


The opposite of Wohin is Woher: Now we're not asking "where to?", but "where from?":

Woher kommt dieser Geruch?
Von oben! Ich glaube, unser Nachbar hat sein Essen im Ofen vergessen!

You can also use "Woher" when you want to ask something along the lines of "How do you know this?":

Ich habe geheiratet!
Ja, ich weiß.
Was? Woher weißt du das?

Translated literally (into very bad English 😅): "Where from do you know this?".

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