A simple sentence, two ways. Wo vs Wohin?

Wohin fährst du.?

Wo fährst du hin?

I have heard both of the above from native German speakers. Is there a “proper” version? Or is this the flexibility of German and/or regional dialects?


Good question. To my German ears, both options sound totally fine. My gut feeling is that “Wohin fährst du?” is a tad more formal than “Wo fährst du hin?” (same with “Woher kommst du?” / “Wo kommst du her?”)


@kthxbye Both ways are absolutely correct and can be used as a synonym.


Thanks for the replies. The question piqued my curiosity when I overheard a neighbor shouting to his child, “Wo fährst du hin?”

Our neighbor shouts to his children a lot. We know all their names. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


Maybe you can ask your neighbor to shout more grammar explanations than to his children :rofl:


That’s an interesting question. But I can only agree - my austrian ears agree with both options as well!


Much later follow-up:

I am a big fan of the US “Futurama” TV show. I probably know the first four seasons completely by heart. So I bought the EU version DVDs for the German audio and subtitles. I do two things, I watch the episodes but I also extract the audio for listening. While exercising the other day, this brought a smile to my face:


Wie viele hier schon gesagt haben, klingt beides richtig. Ich persönlich verwende aber “Wo fährst du hin” mehr, weil es irgendwie kürzer ist. :innocent:

Ich würde sagen, dass “wohin fährst du” kürzer ist. Meiner bescheidenen Meinung nach.

Aber @Lia12 könnte man sagen "Ich würde sagen, dass ‘wohin fährst du’ kürzer sei (statt “ist”).

I looked at the cartoon and thought that perhaps saying “wo fährst du hin” could have double meaning, ie, sexual which with “wohin fährst du” würde man nicht so gut ausdrücken konnen.

Neither does “time flies like arrows” put the stress “time” and see how the meaning changes. Or “time flies” as a sub species of ordinary flies that “like” arrows. That’s the beauty of language - it’s not mathematics, it’s poetry.
It’s context, connotation and intonation, it’s not what you say, but how you say it. Some languages make it easier/allow double meaning, sarcasm, irony, etc. IMHO, "“wo fährst du hin” makes that possible and when he finally meets up with her, he could “how far did you go” see what I am saying? Did she go to third base or home (baseball metaphor)