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als & wie // warum & wozu

I have noticed that

1. "als" and "wie" can both mean "as"

and that

2. "warum" and "wozu" can both mean "why"

My question is simple: are "als" and "wie," meaning "as," and "warum" and "wozu," meaning "why," perfectly interchangeable within their own semantic category, or are there different shades of meaning which separate them in usage?

For learning: German
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    I would say that used as interrogative pronouns meaning "why?" both "warum?" and "wozu?" are interchangeable.

    As for "als" and "wie" meaning "as", if you are talking about the use as a temporal conjunction, which is number 4 in http://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/wie_Konjunktion_Vergleich, then the use of "als" is much more common.

    There is a slight difference between warum and wozu. Warum is simple "why" and wozu means "for what purpose". You cannot always use both interchangeably. Sometimes when the answer is "zu/zur" /zum" the question will be "wozu".
    Wozu dient ein Rechner? Der Rechner dient "zur" schnelleren Berechnung der Gleichungen.
    Wozu brauche ich Zahnpaste? zum Zähneputzen.
    "As" in English can be used as "als" and also as "because".
    Als in German has also many uses. It can mean "when" (one time event in the past) and "than" (comparison).
    I think it is not a good idea to always compare English and German, rather you should try to acqurie a feeling (Gefühl) for the German language. I recommend you to think only in one language although it sometimes helpful to discover and appreciate the equivalent meanings in another language.
    I hope native speakers can correct me if I am wrong :)

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