Aim of this section is to learn the meaning and use of wo- / da compounds.
Ich freue mich darauf.
I'm looking forward to it.
Wo- / da compounds require some explanation because they don't exist in English.
In German, however, they play quite an important role and are often used.
Several months ago we spoke about pronouns (ich, du, er, sie, es...).
Pronouns can be used to avoid repetitions and make sentences shorter:
In the first example I used twice "Cathy, Joy and Kristine". It sounds strange and makes the sentence unnecessary long.
In the second example I replaced the name of the three girls by "sie" (they).
You know who I mean with "sie" because I used the names in the sentence before already.
Da compounds have exactly the same purpose but they don't replace a person.
They replace an inanimate object. To be exact: da compounds replace the object which follows a preposition.
Because I don't want to write "Schlüssel" again I replace it by "danach".
"Danach" consists of the word "da" and the preposition "nach" which belongs to the verb "suchen" (to look for = suchen nach).
Because I don't want to write again "unsere gemeinsame Zeit" I replace it by "davon".
"Davon" consists of the word "da" and the preposition "von" which belongs to the verb "träumen" (to dream about = träumen von).
We can summarize so far:
In this example the "da compound" consists of "da" + "r" + "preposition".
There is one additional rule we have to consider:
If the preposition starts with a vowel (a,e,u,o,) or an umlaut (ä,ü,ö) you have to put a "r" between "da" and the "preposition": da + r + preposition
"Wo compounds" have the same function as "da compounds". They also replace the inanimate object following the preposition.
The difference is: "da compounds" are used in statements and "wo compounds" are used in questions.
As you can see the example the "wo compound" is a kind of question word
which consists of "wo" and "preposition" which belongs to the verb (to look for = suchen nach).
If you try to translate a "wo compound" don't translate the "wo" into "where"
because here it has actually the meaning of "what".
If the preposition starts with a vowel or an umlaut put a "r" between the "wo" and the "preposition".
Wo - Da compounds vs. personal pronouns
I noticed that you still struggle to decide whether you
have to use a wo - da compound or a personal pronoun.
The following overview might help you:
animate objects (people)
preposition + pronoun
preposition + question word
Ich freue mich darauf.
Ich freue mich auf sie.
Ich denke daran.
Ich denke an ihn.
Worüber ärgerst du dich?
Über wen ärgerst du dich?
Wovon träumst du?
Von wem träumst du?
summary - documents for your folder
Wo- / Da-Wörter (theory, 4 pages)