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200+ Basic German Words for Beginners

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If you’ve just started learning German, you might be struggling to get past the beginner stage.

Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the Germanic umlauts on vowels (ä, ö, ü), or maybe that eszett letter (ß). Perhaps it’s the pace of spoken German that’s made you question your decision to start learning.

While there’s definitely truth to those concerns, worry not. There are several short and easy-to-learn words in German that can serve as a springboard while you become familiar with the language. 

Memorizing even a few basic German words for beginners will be enough of a stepping stone to help you eventually learn more. This is because many German words are composed of several shorter words that, when combined, have a unique meaning.

Take Kühlschrank, for example. This word is composed of Kühl- which means “cool,” and -schrank which translates to “cupboard.”

Combine the two and you get “cool cupboard,” which is a funny way to describe a refrigerator—the actual meaning of the word Kühlschrank.

Pretty relieving to know this, right? 

German isn’t that hard after all. The most difficult part is to summon up the courage to begin. 

That’s why we took the time to put together a categorized masterlist of the most essential words in German for beginners. 

Without further ado, let’s get right into it…

Booklets
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Pronouns
  2. Numbers
  3. Nouns
  4. Verbs
  5. Adjectives
  6. Conjunctions
  7. Others
  8. Conclusion

1. Pronouns

The first set of words you should add to your German vocabulary are pronouns. These are the words we use to refer to people, places, or things without actually using their names:

  • Susan ate the chocolate bar. = She ate the chocolate bar. 

Here, we’ll be covering three types of pronouns in German: personal, demonstrative, and interrogative. 

Personal Pronouns

We’ll start with personal pronouns, given their importance in sentences. These are crucial for almost any sentence, and we recommend you memorize them by heart before you start with any other words.

EnglishGerman 
Iich
youdu
heer
shesie
ites
wewir
you (plural)ihr
theysie
memich / mir
youdich / dir
himihm / ihn
herihr
usuns
themihnen

Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative pronouns are especially critical for indicating which objects or people you’re referring to in your dialogue. These four basic German words are important to master at the beginner stage.

EnglishGerman 
thisdieses 
thatdas 
thesediese
thosejene

Interrogative Pronouns / Question Words

Interrogative pronouns, or the “Five Ws,” are the words we use to ask questions. 

English German 
whower
whomwen / wem
whosewessen
whatwas
whichwelche

In a similar vein, there are a few interrogative adverbs you should learn at this stage as well: 

EnglishGerman
whenwann
wherewo
whywarum
howwie

2. Numbers

Multicolored Numbers

The numbers from one to ten in German are rather similar to those in English. Just like with most languages, learning the first ten digits will help you understand and easily learn the rest of the numbers.

NumbersEnglish German 
0zeronull
1oneeins
2twozwei
3threedrei
4fourvier
5fivefünf
6sixsechs
7sevensieben
8eight acht
9nineneun
10tenzehn

3. Nouns

Nouns are one of the most important parts of speech, so you should memorize as many of them in German as you can. When used with verbs, they create a complete sentence—in a pinch, you can even use them alone to get an urgent point across! Below, you’ll find lists of beginner German nouns you should focus on right away. 

Time

Wall Clock

Time is king, especially in a country like Germany where punctuality is paramount. Learning time-related vocabulary will come in handy in your day-to-day interactions.

EnglishGerman 
hour Stunde
minuteMinute
morningMorgen
afternoonNachmittag
eveningAbend
dayTag
monthMonat
yearJahr
MondayMontag
TuesdayDienstag
WednesdayMittwoch
ThursdayDonnerstag
FridayFreitag
SaturdaySamstag
SundaySonntag

People

These are the words you’d learn in the first lesson of probably any German beginner copybook. 

English German 
butcherMetzger (m.) / Metzgerin (f.)
woodmanHolzfäller (m.) / Holzfällerin (f.)
police officerPolizist (m.) / Polizistin (f.)
doctorArzt (m.) / Ärztin (f.)
nurseKrankenpfleger (m.) / Krankenschwester (f.) 
firefighterFeuerwehrmann (m.) / Feuerwehrfrau (f.)
teacherLehrer (m.) / Lehrerin (f.)
fatherVater
motherMutter
sisterSchwester
brotherBruder
Mr.Herr
Ms.Frau

Places Around Town

A Building in South Africa

If you’re traveling in Germany, whether in one town or around the country, these words will help you get by and even ask for directions.

English German 
hospitalKrankenhaus
supermarketSupermarkt
schoolSchule
downtownInnenstadt
universityUniversität
city hallRathaus
main squareHauptplatz
bankBank
museumMuseum
restaurantRestaurant
caféCafé
police stationPolizeistation
train stationBahnhof
bus stationBushaltestelle

School/Office Essentials

Man Shaking Hand in Office

If you have to study or work in Germany, these words will be helpful when you’re in class or at the office.

English German
penKugelschreiber
notebookNotizbuch
computerComputer
pencil caseFedermappe
headphonesKopfhörer
mouseMaus
keyboardTastatur
wifiWLAN
chargerLadegerät
cableKabel
backpackRucksack
deskSchreibtisch
copybookHeft

Body Parts

English German 
eyeAuge
noseNase
earOhr
faceGesicht
armArm
chestBrust
cheekWange
foreheadStirn
mouthMund
chinKinn
armpitAchselhöhle
abdomenBauch
legBein
toeZeh
fingerFinger
ankleKnöchel
hipHüfte
forearmUnterarm
elbowEllbogen
wristHandgelenk

Food

Germans are proud of their cuisine and German culture values eating healthy, fresh food rather than buying frozen or ready-to-eat meals. Here’s a list of words for your next grocery shopping spree.

EnglishGerman 
ٍٍvegetablesGemüse
fruitObst
meatFleisch
milkMilch
eggEi
coffeeKaffee
yogurtJoghurt
breadBrot
baconSpeck
pieKuchen
hamSchinken
chickenHuhn
juiceSaft
sausageWurst

4. Verbs

As a beginner in German, you’ll greatly benefit from picking up the most commonly used verbs. Learning them together with nouns will give you a headstart when it comes to forming sentences and communicating with others. 

Daily Routine Verbs

If you’re into daily journaling, doing that in German will require you to know a set of daily routine-related verbs. Here’s a list to get you started:

English German 
to get upaufstehen
to eatessen
to drinktrinken
to gogehen
to workarbeiten
to studystudieren
to drivefahren
to ridereiten
to sleepschlafen
to wake upaufwachen
to hanghängen
to do laundryWäsche machen
to napein Nickerchen machen
to work outtrainieren
to go outausgehen
to preparevorbereiten
to cookkochen
to clean putzen
to washwaschen
to tidy upaufräumen
to connectverbinden
to communicatekommunizieren
to weartragen
to warm upaufwärmen
to grabgreifen
to mixmischen
to holdhalten
to freezeeinfrieren
to changewechseln
to movebewegen

Other Common Verbs

English German 
to givegeben
to getbekommen
to dotun
to makemachen
to letlassen
to askfragen
to smilelächeln
to findfinden
to usebenutzen
to takenehmen
to comekommen
to lookschauen
to hearhören
to smellriechen
to talksprechen
to exitgehen
to callrufen 
to feelfühlen
to answerantworten
to laughlachen
to cryweinen
to stealstehlen
to runrennen
to walkgehen
to meettreffen
to createerschaffen
to finishbeenden

5. Adjectives

Using adjectives in your speech or writing can add a layer of meaning and help you better express yourself. To get you started, here are a few beginner German adjectives in different categories. 

Describing Objects

English German 
biggroß
smallklein
longlang
shortkurz
roundrund
rectangularrechteckig
smoothglatt
roughrau

Describing People

English German
prettyhübsch
handsomegutaussehend
tallgroß
short klein
disgustingekelhaft
sociablekontaktfreudig
funnylustig
beautifulschön
lovelylieblich
caringfürsorglich
selflessselbstlos
arrogantarrogant 
humblebescheiden
courageousmutig
weakschwach
strongstark
quirkyschrullig

Describing Emotions

Being able to describe our own emotions is critical for well-being and also helps us better understand others. Here’s a list of adjectives for describing emotions:

EnglishGerman 
happyglücklich
sadtraurig
joyfulfreudig
angrysauer
depresseddepressiv
anxiousängstlich
stressed outgestresst
jollyfröhlich

Describing Weather

English German 
rainyregnerisch
wetnass
humidfeucht
drytrocken
ariddürr
coolkühl
frigidkalt
foggyneblig
windywindig
stormystürmisch
breezyluftig
windlesswindstill
calmruhig

6. Conjunctions

English German 
and und
butaber
thendann
becauseweil
soso / also

7. Others

Below is a short list of filler words that Germans use in their conversations. Using these will make you sound like a native and they’ll come in handy in many situations.

EnglishGerman 
I see (sudden understanding)ach so
sureklar
simplyhalt
welltja
alreadyschon

8. Conclusion

Armed with these German beginner words, you’ll be able to understand even more of the spoken language than you may have thought (thanks to those nifty word combinations!). How many of these words were new to you? And how many did you know already? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments! 

As you read more German, pay attention to how different words are composed. You’ll often notice they can be broken down into parts, which will help you derive their meanings more easily. 

Your goal should be to learn around 1000 German words; statistically, that’d cover 85.5% of all words you hear.

In other words, if you learn 1000 words, you’ll be able to speak German almost fluently. You’ll only have issues expressing yourself 14.5% of the time.

Memorize the 200+ from our list, and you’ll only be 800 words away from fluency.

Wondering where and how to learn those other 800 words?

Buckle up and head to GermanPod101.com.

Here, you can access lessons and word lists for the most important day-to-day vocabulary. Our lessons all feature the most effective learning tools, such as flashcards, slideshows, slowed-down audio, line-by-line breakdowns, and more.

You can also opt for 1-on-1 guidance from a language expert to answer your questions. Your private tutor can even give you a personalized learning program to match your learning goals.

You can get all of this and more by signing up for free on the GermanPod101 website.

No credit card or unnecessary information required.

Sign up here and access our materials from your desktop or mobile phone.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German

German Filler Words: Speak Deutsch Like a Native

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Imagine if everything in language was straightforward and perfect.

Like, literally.

No typos. No jokes. No slang.

Just everyone meaning business.

It wouldn’t be much fun, would it?

The imperfections found in languages, dialects, and communication in general are what make them fun. 

We all like to communicate clearly, but that never allows for any awkward, unforeseen, or weird moments—moments which could be pretty funny, if you think about it.

Knowing how flawed our communication is, we try our best to hide our imperfections.

As a learner of the language, you can do this well by using German filler words.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. What are filler words and why do we use them?
  2. The Top 10 German Filler Words
  3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words
  4. Conclusion

1. What are filler words and why do we use them?

Before we introduce you to the most common filler words in German and show you how to use them to your advantage, let’s cover the basics. 

A- What are filler words?

Question Mark on a Blackboard

Filler words, or Füllwörter as the Germans call them, are the expressions we use to avoid pauses and fill in gaps during our day-to-day conversations. They could be something as short as an “uh,” “err,” or “okay,” or as long as an “in my opinion” or “I think that.”

While some filler words do have meanings of their own, they’re not typically used to express those meanings in this context. Rather, they mostly serve as sentence connectors that we don’t even notice when saying or hearing them.

Whether you’re a fan of filler words or not, they have invaded every language and people use them even in professional contexts.

B- Why do we use them?

The psychology behind filler words is worth a pretty long discussion, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll just discuss a few ideas on the topic. 

We want to be polite.

Three Individuals Talking Politely

Most of us don’t want to come across as rude. While being direct is arguably a great approach, a bit of politeness can go a long way.

That’s where filler words come in.

If you call a support team asking for a service they refuse to provide, it would seem very rude if they just said “No!” Instead, they use filler words such as “Uhm…” or “I’m afraid that…” or “Unfortunately…” to make it sound more polite than just a plain rejection.

We want to be understood.

A Man and Woman Communicating

Everyone wants their opinion heard, and more than that, everyone wants to be understood.

Whether you’re teaching a subject, giving a conference, or consulting someone, it’s easy to get carried away with your ideas and to forget that you’re communicating with a human and not a machine.

This is one big reason why filler words are so popular.

They help us formulate our ideas well, and to present them in a fashion and speed that’s easily absorbed by others. 

We want to lie or deceive.

Pinocchio Nose

Obviously, not everyone that uses filler words is doing so to lie or deceive, but scientists have observed patterns in conversation filler overuse that suggest dishonesty is one reason people use fillers. This is especially evident when the idea in question could be communicated easily without the use of filler words, or when someone delays answering a yes-or-no question by using unnecessary words.

2. The Top 10 German Filler Words

Now that you have some additional context regarding filler words, it’s time for you to begin studying the top 10 German conversation fillers. Feel free to practice using them right away! 

1 – Also (So)

This filler word is used to transition from one sentence or clause to another. 

Example #1


Also, wann können wir uns treffen?
“So, when can we meet?”

Example #2

Also, wie alt bist du?
“So, how old are you?”

2 – Eigentlich (Actually)

This is one of the most unnecessarily used German filler words, similar to “actually” in English.

Example #1

Was nervt Sie eigentlich in Deutschland am meisten?
“What actually annoys you most in Germany?”

Example #2

Ich kann eigentlich nichts.
“I can’t actually do anything.”

3 – Stimmt. (That’s right.)

Example #1

Stimmt. Ich habe es auch nicht gesehn.
“That’s right. I didn’t see it either.”

Example #2

Stimmt. Es dauert zu lange.
“That’s right. It takes too much time.”

4 – Bestimmt (Definitely)

Example #1

Das ist bestimmt nicht so schlecht.
“That’s definitely not that bad.”

Example #2

Ich werde es bestimmt essen.
“I’ll definitely eat it.”

5 – Ach so (I see)

Germans throw in an ach so when any existing confusion has been cleared. It signals a sudden understanding.

Example #1

Person 1: Nein, es war im Kühlschrank. 
Person 2: Ach so.

Person 1: “No, it was in the fridge.”
Person 2: “I see.”

Example #2

Ach so, ich dachte du sagtest etwas anderes.
“I see. I thought you said something else.”

6 – Klar (Sure)

Klar is used to express agreement in German.

Example #1

Klar, nimm dir Zeit.
“Sure, take your time.”

Example #2

Klar, was machst du so?
“Sure, what are you doing?”

7 – Halt (Simply)

Here’s another filler in German that’s used far more than necessary. It has no real meaning (a rough equivalent would be “simply”) and people use it in a variety of contexts. 

Example #1

Geh halt zur Schule!
“(Simply) go to school!”

Example #2

Ich kann halt nichts tun.
“I (simply) can’t do anything.”

8 – Tja (Well)

Example #1

Tja, ich wusste es.
“Well, I knew it.”

Example #2

Tja, das kann ich tun.
“Well, I can do that.”

9 – Schon (Already)

Schon means “already,” but it’s frequently used as a filler word with pretty much no meaning.

Example #1

Das wusste ich schon.
“I knew that already.”

Example #2

Das ist schon etwas sonderbar.
“That’s a bit strange.”

10 – Doch (Nevertheless)

Doch is one of those words that give German learners a hard time. While it doesn’t have a clear meaning, it’s used to counter negative statements. That makes “nevertheless” the closest translation to it. Here are two examples:

Example #1

Person 1: Bist du nicht!
Person 2: Bin ich doch!

Person 1: “You’re not!”
Person 2: “I am!”

Example #2

Person 1: Mein Chef will mich befördern. 
Person 2: Das ist doch gut!

Person 1: “My boss wants to promote me.”
Person 2: “But that’s good!”

3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words

Filler words may seem insignificant, but how (and how often) you use them contributes to shaping people’s opinions about you. People might make judgements on your confidence, talkativeness, social skills, or even personality based off of how you use conversation fillers. 

In the sections below, we’ve thoroughly illustrated some of the top pros and cons of using filler words, as well as how you can substitute them.

A- Pros of Using Filler Words

Four Friends Hanging Out

You sound more natural.

Filler words can give you a more natural, approachable tone. In fact, not using filler words at all might cause you to sound robotic or even arrogant, which would probably not help with your social life, especially in day-to-day, informal conversations.

You sound friendlier.

People will feel more drawn to you when you use filler words. You’ll sound more familiar, and people are more comfortable with people who behave similarly to them.  

Note that this may not be the case in a more formal context, such as a business meeting. Sometimes you have to cut out all the flim-flam and get straight to the point, which leads us to the next section.

B- Cons of Using Filler Words

A Woman Shrugging with an Uncertain Look on Her Face

You’re considered hesitant.

Imagine you’re in a business meeting with a German company and you start throwing a bunch of tja’s into your speech. It would sound a bit off, wouldn’t it? 

It would actually give the impression that you’re a bit hesitant and unsure of what you’re talking about. Therefore, consider halting or minimizing your usage of filler words in business meetings and other formal contexts. You don’t want to leave a bad impression, especially with Germans.

You’re perceived as having low self-confidence.

Remember how kids in primary school would always make fun of that one kid with a stuttering problem? Even if that kid was strong physically or mentally, the others would neglect and look down upon him. 

The same concept—but on a smaller scale—applies to adults when they use a lot of unnecessary filler words. People perceive it as a sign of low self-confidence and might proceed to disrespect or ignore that person.

Therefore, to command more respect in your relationships, especially if you’re in a leading role, it’s crucial that you pay attention to how frequently you use filler words.

C- How to Substitute Filler Words

Feeling like you can’t really let go of all those conversation fillers? Well, we have a great alternative.

“Silence speaks when words can’t.”

That’s right. The best alternative to filler words is silence. Whether you’re not sure about the next sentence or want to reword your last one, you can take your time to formulate your ideas and just remain silent throughout that short period.

It may sound weird to the people around you when you start doing that, but it’ll slowly become more and more familiar.

Consequently, it’ll help you command more respect and trust, especially at work and other professional environments.

4. Conclusion

And, congratulations!

You’ve now learned what most early German learners don’t.

You now have the ability to understand and use filler words. You shouldn’t be surprised if Germans start to seem even more impressed with your German now. 

Which of these words was your favorite? Which ones do you use most in your own language?

If you’re thinking about expanding your skills even more, create your free lifetime account on GermanPod101.com today. Whether you want to learn how to order food, how to pronounce German umlauts, or just understand more German in general, we have your back. 

We provide a full range of lessons covering all levels of German. With us, you can go from beginner to master with a minimal time investment.

Thanks to GermanPod101’s proven learning systems, you can sign up for free today and get access to thousands of audio, video, and text lessons on any topic you might be looking for.

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Viel Spaß beim Lernen!
Happy learning!

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Express Your Love in German: Go Beyond ‘Ich Liebe Dich…’

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If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.

Makes sense, right?

When dating a German, it’s easy to get comfortable speaking to your partner in only English, especially as Germany classifies as one of the best non-native English-speaking countries.

While this can help you keep a good line of communication, it can easily start to feel a little superficial for your German-speaking partner. From time to time, your relationship could benefit from expressing your love in German, their mother tongue.

Speaking your partner’s native language will go right to their heart, and that will make it easier for you to build a connection with them in the long term…especially if that’s the language you flirt in. 😉

Convinced yet? Here are some German love phrases to get you started.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-Up Lines and More
  2. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You,” and More
  3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More
  4. Endearment Terms
  5. Must-Know Love Quotes
  6. Conclusion

1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-Up Lines and More

Four People Making Heart Signs with Their Hands

All great things take time. But guess what? They probably won’t be handed to you on a silver platter, no matter how long you wait. Your best bet is to get out there and take chances. This especially applies to building (romantic) relationships. Below is a list of German love phrases to help you get your foot in the door. 

You are pretty.
Du bist hübsch.

This is a phrase I’ve always stumbled upon while scrolling through friendly comments on social media pictures. Want to let someone know they’re easy on your eyes? No word is better than hübsch.

You are attractive.
Du bist attraktiv.

If you’re looking for an easy way in, this is a simple one to remember due to its similarity to the English equivalent. 

Do you want to go out with me?
Willst du mit mir ausgehen? 

If you’re willing to go out on a date, this sentence is your best bet to get the other person onboard. 

Do you want to be my girlfriend / boyfriend?
Willst du mit mir gehen?

This phrase literally means, “Do you want to walk with me?” but it’s the perfect choice if you’re not sure whether you’ve achieved official relationship status with your crush.

Thank you for the great evening.
Danke für den tollen Abend. 

After a great date night, there’s no better way to end the evening than by expressing your gratitude towards your date. 

It was wonderful seeing you. 
Es war schön dich zu sehen.

This works perfectly for a short date, like a walk after work or after leaving a group of friends.

You mean so much to me. 
Du bedeutest mir so viel.

As you progress through the dating process and notice that there’s attraction between you two, feel free to throw in a romantic line like this one. It should be enough to get your date excited about getting to know you even more!

2. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You,” and More

A Couple Giving Cheers on a Date

If you’re dating a German, it may take quite some time to get to this stage, as Germans like to take their time to get to know their date. Your safest bet is to express your deeper emotions only after you’ve gotten enough signs from your partner that your relationship is more exclusive. Here are six romantic German phrases to take your relationship from “casual date” to “lover.”

I love you.
Ich liebe dich.

If you’re a German learner, you’ve probably already stumbled upon this sentence in a beginner’s textbook or on a language app. This one is enough to break the ice and announce to your partner that you’re ready to take things up a notch.

I love you.
Ich hab(e) dich lieb.

Unleashing your emotions to a beloved family member or close friend? Enters Ich hab’ dich lieb. Culturally, this expression is perceived as ambiguous when compared to Ich liebe dich

It’s worth noting that while this phrase could also be used with your date, it may be considered friendly rather than romantic.

I can’t stop thinking about you. 
Ich kann nicht aufhören an dich zu denken.

This is the perfect sentence to drop a hint to your partner, especially if you’re worried about having your initiative rejected. If your partner reciprocates or shows a positive sign after hearing this, you’re probably on the right track to something big!

I miss you.
Ich vermisse dich.

Thinking about another date? Use this expression to see if your partner wants to meet again. Who knows? Maybe your next date will be the stepping stone to a more serious relationship.

You are my only love.
Du bist meine einzige Liebe.

Germans love to be direct, and what better way to match that than to just drop your feelings on the table and let your date know how special they are to you?

You give meaning to my life. 
Du gibst meinem Leben einen Sinn.

If you’ve happened to gain more perspective on life after meeting your date, chances are they’re contributing well to that. Let them know!

3. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More

Smiling Couple

Now that your relationship has had time to evolve and you’ve spent many months or years together, why not just tie the knot already? Below are six love phrases in German to help you do just that.

Note: If you’re a man, it’s customary to ask a woman’s father for permission before you move forward with your marriage.

I want you to be my husband / wife.
Ich will, dass du mein/e Mann / Frau wirst.

This expression is perfect for making a short and sweet proposal to your partner. Be sure you have that ring in hand’s reach before saying this!

I want to spend the rest of my life with you.
Ich möchte den Rest meines Lebens mit dir verbringen.

Considering you’re about to marry a German, you probably already understand the power of directness in German culture. No better way to propose than to make it plain and clear who you want to spend the rest of your life with.

Will you marry me? 
Willst du mich heiraten?

If you’re planning to get down on one knee, this should be your go-to sentence.

I want to have grandchildren with you.
Ich möchte mit dir Enkelkinder haben.

You’re planning children with your partner? Why not take it a step further and show him/her that he or she is the one you’ll be with forever? 

I want to be with you forever. 
Ich will immer bei dir sein.

You are my one and only.
Du bist mein Ein und Alles.

We are destined for each other.
Wir sind füreinander bestimmt.

The last three expressions are ideal for use by women to hint at their enduring interest, as men are the party expected to propose.

4. Endearment Terms

Couple Cooking and Smiling

How better to keep that spark of romance (and fun!) alive than with an adorable pet name or two? Here are some cute and romantic German endearment terms you can consider: 

Darling 
Liebling

Not only can you use this term for your other half, but you can also use it for your children (or even pets)!

Sweetheart 
Schatz

This is the most common German endearment term. Its literal meaning is “treasure” and it’s popular among lovers of all ages. Other variations, like Schätzchen (diminutive of Schatz), could be used as well.

Little bear 
Bärchen

This is one of many German terms of endearment derived from animal names. It’s perfect for a cuddling session and can be used for both men and women. It’s the diminutive form of Bär (bear).

Bunny 
Hase

Another animal term, this one could be alternated with a diminutive as well: Häschen.

Mouse bear
Mausebär

This is a funny mix of “bear” and “mouse”—two animal names you could even use separately to flirt with your partner. 

Pearl 
Perle

Because this term isn’t popular throughout all of Germany, you’ll probably be the first one to ever use it with your partner.

5. Must-Know Love Quotes

A Man Looking at a Woman Romantically

Love conquers all.
Liebe überwindet alles.

Love is blind.
Liebe ist blind.

Jealousy is a passion that passionately seeks what causes pain. 
Eifersucht ist eine Leidenschaft, die mit Eifer sucht, was Leiden schafft.

When you sow love, joy will grow. 
Wo man Liebe sät, da wächst Freude.

Opposites attract.
Gegensätze ziehen sich an.

Couples comprised of people from different backgrounds enjoy using this quote. It signifies how one can lead a successful relationship despite differences in culture, language, habits, and more. It’s great to use if you want to make sense of your relationship.

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.
Liebe geht durch den Magen.

Craving some homemade Bratwurst with a side of Sauerbraten? Your partner will probably not take long to get that (and more) for you after you use this quote.

6. Conclusion

Now that you’re all set with all sorts of German love phrases to impress your date, you can consider taking your German to the next level. Which phrase was your favorite? Are you ready to try it out on the love of your life?

It would sound even more native-like if you could use your chosen endearment terms and love phrases along with some prepositions. 

It would be even more impressive if you could create your own sentences, which you can easily do by learning some basic German verbs and just six personal pronouns to incorporate into your sentences.

Wondering where you can find the best resource to learn that and more about the German language? 

Enter GermanPod101.

With thousands of methodical audio, video, and text lessons, you’ll be able to interact in many real-life German conversations, whether it’s with your partner or with people in general.

All of this content is taught via a proven system using top learning techniques. You’ll have slowed-down audio to ease your understanding of new words, line-by-line breakdowns of texts, and voice recording tools to master pronunciation.

All of this and more comes with a free sign-up. No catch, no credit card.

Sign up now and get ready to impress your German date!

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Negation in German: How to Form Negative Sentences

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Are you a people-pleaser? Someone who goes out of their way to make others happy and can’t say no to anyone? 

Of course, learning a language is all about developing new skills, embracing new experiences, and accepting challenges…so you’ll probably be saying yes quite a lot. Yet, you still need to know how to say no if you want to master the German language!

A Man Holding a Green Check Mark in One Hand and a Red X in the Other

In this article, we’ll look at negation in German. You’ll learn how to make negative sentences, how to answer a yes-or-no question correctly, and how to politely decline an offer or invitation…without making anyone upset.

Sure, saying no isn’t easy for some of us. But I assure you it will be (at least from a language-learning point of view!), after you’ve read this. 

Let’s waste no more time then, and look at how to form negatives in German!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Negative Sentences
  2. How to Answer with a No
  3. Other Useful Negative Expressions
  4. How Our Website Can Help

1. Negative Sentences

A negative sentence is one stating that something is false. In English, for example, we create these by adding the word “not” after a helping verb (do, have, be, etc.).

  • Dave is not happy. 
  • We did not go to work today. 

There are three main German negation words. The first one, as you might have guessed, is nein, which means “no.” To construct a negative sentence, however, we use two different words: nicht (not) and kein (not a / not… any / no).

Let’s have a look at how to negate sentences in German using these words.

A- When to Use Nicht

In German negation, nicht is used to negate verbs, nouns (including proper nouns like Maria, John, etc.), adjectives (including possessive adjectives), and adverbs. 

Have a look at the examples below:

  • With a VERB:
    Wir warten nicht.
    We are not waiting.
  • With a NOUN that has a definite article (der, die, or das – “the”):
    Ich kenne diesen Film nicht.
    I don’t know this movie.
  • With a PROPER NOUN:
    Sie heißt nicht Mikaela.
    Her name’s not Mikaela.
  • With an ADJECTIVE:
    Ich bin nicht fertig.
    I am not ready.
  • With a POSSESSIVE ADJECTIVE:
    Das ist nicht meine Tasche.
    That’s not my bag.
  • With an ADVERB:
    Er spielt nicht gut Fußball.
    He does not play football well.

B- Where to Put Nicht

As you’ve probably noticed, nicht does not always appear in the same place within a sentence. There are a couple of things to remember when using it, so as to make sure you place it correctly in relation to other elements. 

In a simple sentence, nicht goes at the end, after the verb.

  • Wir warten nicht.
    We are not waiting.

However, we rarely speak like that in everyday life, so let’s see how the behavior of nicht changes according to what you’re negating.

A Family Waiting Outside the Bathroom for Another Family Member

Get out of the bathroom, we are not waiting any longer.

It usually goes before an adjective or adverb, unless we’re talking about an adverb of time (e.g. später [later], früher [earlier], gestern [yesterday], morgen [tomorrow]), in which case nicht comes after the adverb.

  • Das Essen schmeckt nicht gut.
    The food doesn’t taste good.
  • Sie kann heute nicht kommen.
    She can’t come today.

We place nicht before prepositions:

  • Er kommt nicht aus Bamberg.
    He does not come from Bamberg.

C- When to Use Kein

Sometimes, you’ll have to use kein (instead of nicht) to form a negative sentence. Remember, kein can be translated as “not a…”, “not… any” or “no.”

Kein has to agree with the noun it describes, and it functions in the same way as the forms of the indefinite article ein

We use kein in two ways, always with nouns. You can use it to negate a noun that has an indefinite article, or to negate a noun that has no article: 

  • Ich habe keine Geschwister.
    I have no siblings.
  • Sie haben keine Hausaufgaben.
    They don’t have any homework. (Literally: They have no homework.)

2. How to Answer with a No

There are two types of questions: open-ended and close-ended. A close-ended question (Entscheidungsfragen in German) is usually one you can answer with a “yes” or a “no,” without having to give any other explanation. 

In English, we usually say: “Yes, I do.” / “No, I don’t.”

In German, you could just say ja (yes) or nein (no), but you can also learn some more expressions to make your speech sound more natural. It’s common, for example, to give an explanation of why you’re saying no. This is also true in English, of course, and it’s more a matter of common sense than one of grammar or language rules!

To go with your negative responses, you could learn expressions like: 

  • Tut mir Leid. (I am sorry.)
  • Leider (unfortunately / regrettably)

Another fun German way of saying “no” is the colloquial word nee, which is widely used at all levels of society. It’s a nice way of saying nein (which would sound quite rude on its own), without having to give any explanations!

A second alternative to the formal nein is the colloquial word . This would not sound rude to a German speaker, and it’s considered a friendly way to say “no.”

  • Triffst du dich heute mit Johannes? (Are you meeting Johannes today?)
    Nö. (Nope.)
A Man Who Ate Too Much at a Restaurant

A: Are you hungry? / B: Absolutely not.

On the other hand, you can use the following phrases to say “Absolutely not!”

  • Auf gar keinen Fall.
    Under no circumstance.
  • Überhaupt nicht.
    Definitely not.
  • Absolut nicht.
    Absolutely not.

Doch in German

Actually, there’s another way of answering close-ended questions in German that we haven’t mentioned yet: Doch.

While studying the language, you might have noticed that doch and ja both mean “yes” in German…but they’re used in different ways. As you know, ja is the usual word for “yes” and is the opposite of “no” (nein)

  • Kommst du mit? (Are you coming?)
    Ja. (Yes.)

When do we use doch, then? Doch is used when answering a negative question with a yes, or to contradict a negative statement: 

  • Kommst du nicht mit? (Aren’t you coming?)
    Doch! (Yes [on the contrary], I am!)
  • Du bist nicht intelligent. (You aren’t intelligent.)
    Doch. (Yes [on the contrary], I am.)

A Man Flipping through Channels on TV and Talking on the Phone

The game is on. Aren’t you coming?

Doch can also be used with a similar meaning as the English word “indeed,” to stress a contrast or a certainty. 

  • Hast du das gemacht? (Did you do it?)
    Ich habe es doch gemacht. (Indeed, I did do it.)

3. Other Useful Negative Expressions

If you want to sound like a native, have a look at some of the most common expressions used in negative sentences.

Did you know, for example, that there are two ways of saying “never”? They are nie and niemals. These two words are interchangeable, but nie is more commonly used. If you use these words, you won’t need to use nicht or kein.

An Old Man Shrugging His Shoulders

I don’t understand anything.

Some other words that you’ll find useful in negative sentences are: 

  • A- Noch nicht

    This means “not yet” and can also be used for more emphasis:
    Ich bin noch nicht fertig.
    I’m not finished yet.
  • B- Nichts

    This means “nothing” or “not anything”:

    Ich verstehe nichts.
    I don’t understand anything. (Literally: I understand nothing.)
  • Niemand and Nirgendwo

    These respectively mean “no one” and “nowhere.” Niemand needs to change according to the case, while nirgendwo always stays the same.

    Niemand hat mir geholfen.
    No one helped me.

    Ich kann das Auto nirgendwo sehen.
    I can’t see the car anywhere.
  • C- Weder…noch

    This means “neither…nor” and it works the same way as in English:

    Er spricht weder Englisch noch Deutsch.
    He speaks neither English nor German.

Again, unlike in some other languages (like Italian), in German we do not do “double negation.” So if you use these words, you will not need to repeat the words nicht or kein. 

Here are the positive/negative pairs of the words we’ve just seen. Knowing how to recognize and use them correctly will be a big step in your language-learning journey

  • etwas / alles—nichts (something/everything—nothing)
  • jemand—niemand (somebody/anybody—nobody)
  • irgendwo—nirgendwo / nirgends (somewhere—nowhere)
  • immer / oft / manchmal—nie / niemals (always / often / sometimes—never)
  • mit—ohne (with—without)

4. How Our Website Can Help

If you want to learn more German vocabulary and grammar, make sure you check out GermanPod101.com. Here, you’ll find all the content you need to make your language learning journey as interesting and as pleasant as possible. 

Practice your listening skills with podcasts and audio lessons, build your vocabulary with word lists and key phrases, and learn useful strategies for learning German more efficiently. 

If you want to learn German in order to travel in Germany and other European countries, don’t miss our travel Survival Course. Knowing the language will help you be safe during your trip abroad, and being able to communicate with the locals in their native tongue will make your adventures even more unforgettable… 

I hope that you’ll be able to say YES! to all their invitations and offers…but, well, at least now you know how to say “no” properly without sounding rude!

And, if you’re studying German for work or study, make the commitment and start using our member-only features to gain access to the best available German content. The resources available will make learning German feel like a walk in the park, and you’ll be able to reach your language-learning goals in no time at all!

Before you go, we would love to hear from you. How did this article help you? Is there anything about negation in German you’re still unsure about? We’ll do our best to help!

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Why learn German? Here are 10 great reasons.

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Maybe you’re interested in learning German, but need a little extra motivation to take your language learning to the next level. Or perhaps you’ve already started on your German language learning journey and want to know all the amazing things you’ll be able to do once you’re fluent…

Either way, you’ve come to the right place.

To many people, German might sound like an unlikely choice as far as foreign languages go. So why learn German? I assure you there are plenty of reasons why learning German will prove to be a great investment. 

Did you know, for example, that it’s the most widely spoken language in Europe? There, it has a stunning 100 million native speakers and it features as an official language in Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein, and Belgium. It’s also recognized as a minority language in countries like Russia, Kazakhstan, Namibia, and some parts of Brazil. And, as you may know, German-speaking minorities can also be found in Australia, South Africa, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina.

So let’s get to the point and look at the top 10 reasons to learn German. You won’t be disappointed!

The German Flag Against a White Background

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language
  2. Personal and Professional Benefits
  3. Is it Easy?
  4. The Fastest Way to Learn German

1. Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

Nowadays, it has been proven that there are countless benefits to learning a foreign language, and German is no exception. 

German is actually quite a challenging language to learn, but English speakers are in luck as the two languages have a lot in common! 

Anyway, regardless of the language you decide to learn, the challenge will certainly make you a better person, which is already a good enough motivation to start learning German!

Let’s have a look at the reasons why everyone should be learning a foreign language…and especially a complex one like German!

Reason 1: It changes the way you think.

A Man in Deep Thought about Something

Learning a foreign language opens your mind. 

I’m sure you’ve heard this countless times, and for a reason. The majority of language learners report actually changing and evolving as an individual in the process of learning a new language. 

Studying a second language will help you develop new skills that allow you to think about the world in different ways. You’ll acquire new tastes, and your attitudes and ways of interacting with the world around you will probably shift as well.

Obviously, these transformations are always for the best! They’ll allow you to add nuances and layers to your current personality, making you a more approachable, interesting, and open-minded person. 

Reason 2: It gives you access to a whole new world.

Another reason why you should learn the German language? Because being able to read in and understand a foreign language will also help you come to know the culture behind it. Not many people realize this when studying German, but it will give you access to the German lifestyle and culture on a whole new level: You’ll be able to experience it first-hand without having to go through the translations and opinions of others. 

Let’s say you’re a literature-lover, for instance…reading books in their original version will be priceless. There are countless German authors that have influenced the world, such as Goethe, Nietzsche, and nobel prize holder Günther Grass. Or, if you’re a cinema addict…imagine watching all the classics starring Christoph Waltz or Marlene Dietrich in German and actually being able to understand the actors. And you’ll have access to so much more content besides that which is translated or subtitled. 

You love cooking? There’s nothing like an authentic recipe for a Sauerbraten written by a German grandma! 

And the list goes on. Simply dive into what interests you most and get in touch with the amazing German culture. 

Reason 3: It can improve brain function.

Many studies have shown that learning a foreign language improves creativity, problem-solving abilities, and multitasking skills. And it doesn’t end there: Research has also shown that being bilingual can substantially delay the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.

A White Sketch of a Brain Against a Black Background

Do you want your brain to be healthy? It’s simple: Pick up a new language and practice! Multilingual people appear to be more logical, perceptive, and aware of their surroundings, and research is now proving that being able to think in more than one language increases the number of neural pathways in one’s brain—this means the brain is able to process information through a wider variety of channels.

So, what are you waiting for? Learning German will actually improve your brain function and make you more aware and creative! 

2. Personal and Professional Benefits

Of course, learning a foreign language will supposedly make your brain work better and all… But what about the actual concrete benefits of knowing how to speak a second language? And why should you learn German in particular? 

Reason 4: Knowing German will open up numerous travel opportunities.

It goes without saying: If you’re planning to travel in Germany or other European countries like Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, and even Northern Italy, knowing how to speak German will make your experiences unforgettable.

A Christmas Market in Munich, Germany

Not only will you be able to travel safely and avoid misunderstandings, but, by connecting to the locals in their native language, you’ll surely delight in unique exchanges and adventures. 

In addition to all these German-speaking countries, you’ll also benefit on your next trip to countries like Spain or Turkey, where the locals are more likely to speak German than English.

Reason 5: It’s great for business.

In Europe, Germany is one of the most influential countries and boasts one of the strongest economies. In fact, the country has established a reputation for pure excellence in a number of fields, such as engineering and the automotive industry, which are considered some of the best in the world.

People Discussing Something in a Business Meeting

Knowing how to understand and communicate in German is a great asset if you’re looking for a job there, or if you want to enter a business that trades with the European Union. Moreover, German is widely represented at the UN, even if it’s not one of its official languages

In short, fluency in German often proves to be fundamental when it comes to business success on the European continent.

Reason 6: It’s also great for science and research.

Another field the Germans excel in is science. Sure, nowadays the language of science is English, but if you are into academics and research—and especially if you live in Germany—speaking the language is a must. 

Knowledge of the German language will not only give you access to more information and papers, but it will also open up doors into the leading markets so that your research can reach a wider audience. 

Reason 7: You’ll get to know the German history and culture.

Are you passionate about German and European history and culture? Then knowing German can be a great tool to help you dive deeper into our complicated past and how it affects the present. 

As we mentioned earlier, Germany is—and has been—one of the leading European countries for centuries, and knowing its language will help you understand it better… 

Remember, learning a foreign language changes the way you look at the world, and it will certainly help you make sense of the history and culture of the people who speak it. 

3. Is it Easy?

According to the FSI (Foreign Service Institute), German is ranked as a Category II language. Considering that categories go up to IV, it’s not as difficult as you might have thought!

Actually, this makes me think of more reasons to learn German.

Reason 8: English speakers have a head start.

If you’re a native English speaker (or a non-native speaker who knows English quite well), German will be easier for you to learn. 

The two languages actually share a lot of vocabulary and, even if German grammar can be tough, it can be easily grasped by someone who already speaks a Germanic language (yes, English is one of them!). 

Reason 9: Life in European countries will be easier. 

If you’re planning to work or study in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland, then studying some German before applying for a visa and actually moving to the country can make a difference in your experience and day-to-day life. Also, it might make getting a scholarship or government help easier if you speak the language. 

Reason 10: Technology and the internet have made language learning easier.

A Woman Lying on the Grass with Headphones On

Imagine having to learn German even just 50 years ago. You’d have to go buy a massive coursebook, a grammar bible, and a 5kg English/German dictionary…and good luck finding original German films and music to listen to, or German speakers with whom to practice your speaking skills!

As you know, things are very different today. The internet and the development of technology in general have made learning a language easier than ever: virtual courses, online language classes and practice, endless internet content in all languages…you can even practice on the go with your smartphone. Not to mention how easy it is to find a language exchange partner!

All of this is absolutely incredible and learning German now is so much easier than it has ever been, so jump in! If not now, when?

4. The Fastest Way to Learn German

And, speaking of technology, make sure you check out GermanPod101.com for awesome language learning content. 

Here, you’ll find German lessons for all levels, from beginner to advanced and fluent, along with all of the online resources and materials you could wish for: key phrases lists, podcasts, videos, dictionaries, and more. 

If your plan is to travel around Germany (or Europe!), make sure you use our Survival Course and special travel-related vocab lists. Knowing some basic German during your adventures will not only make everything easier, but it will also make your experience abroad even more unforgettable.

If, on the other hand, you’re in for the long run and want to become fluent in German so you can study or live in the country, just make the commitment and start practicing every day with personalized lessons and practical language learning tips.

Before you go, we would love to hear from you. Are you any closer to making a decision about German, or do you have questions or concerns? We’ll do our best to help you out! And if you’re determined to take the plunge, we’re curious: Why would you like to learn German?

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German Tenses: All You Need to Know

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First of all, what is a verb? 

Together with nouns, verbs are the most important part of any sentence. They’re words that we use to describe actions (singen – to sing), states of being (existieren – to exist), or occurrences (entwickeln – to develop). They have to agree with the subject, which represents who or what is performing the action. 

Basically, every type of sentence requires a verb to be complete. This is why it’s so important to give them due attention when learning a foreign language—especially German! Today, we’ll talk about German tenses and how to correctly apply them to verbs.

A Man Studying Using His Laptop

German verbs are one of the most challenging aspects of learning this beautifully complex language, but don’t worry. We’ll have a look at the main rules you need to know in order to use German verbs with no problems! 

In particular, we’ll look at the main verb tenses in German and how to conjugate them for both regular and irregular verbs. 

Does this all sound a bit complicated? Don’t worry. We’ll try to explain each concept thoroughly in the following paragraphs. By the time you finish reading, you’ll know how to form German tenses, when to use each one, and more!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. The Use of Tenses in German
  2. Present
  3. Past
  4. Future
  5. German Tenses: A Summary

1. The Use of Tenses in German

The tenses of a verb are used to express when an action takes place, so they make all the difference when talking about the three concepts of present, past, and future. 

In the German language, there are six main verb tenses:

1. Present (Präsens)

2. Present perfect (Perfekt)

3. Past simple (Imperfekt/Präteritum)

4. Past perfect (Plusquamperfekt)

5. Future (Futur I

6. Future perfect (Futur II)

Let’s look at each of these tenses in more detail with examples of how to conjugate them.

A Simple Clock against a White Background

2. Present 

The present tense, or Präsens in German, is the most used of all the German verb tenses. It can be used to talk about present actions or future actions that have already been determined. This tense can actually be used to express concepts in three equivalent English tenses: the present, the present continuous, and the future (“will” and “going to” constructions). 

We use the German Präsens to express…

  • …a fact or condition in the present, or an action that takes place in the present.

Das ist Andreas.
That’s Andreas.

Jeden Montag geht er zum Fußballtraining.
He goes to football training every Monday.

  • …an action that gives information on the duration of something. (Note that in this case, English uses the present perfect.)

Er spielt schon seit zwei Jahren Fußball.
He’s been playing football for two years.

  • …a future action that is already determined to happen. (In English, we can use the future or the present.)

Nächste Woche hat seine Mannschaft ein wichtiges Spiel.
His team will have an important match next week.

A Football Stadium

To conjugate regular verbs in the present tense, we simply remove the infinitive ending -en and add the following endings according to the subject:

Personal PronounPresent Tense EndingConjugation of Lernen (To Learn)
Ich (I)-eich lerne
Du (You) [s]-stdu lernst
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)-ter / sie / es lernt
Wir (We)-enwir lernen
Ihr (You) [p]-tihr lernt
Sie (They)-ensie lernen

Remember, however, that verbs can be irregular. This is the case for two of the most used verbs in German: sein (to be) and haben (to have). Have a look at the table below to see their conjugation in the present tense:

Personal PronounSein (To Be)Haben (To Have)
Ich (I)binhabe
Du (You) [s]bisthast
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)isthat
Wir (We)sindhaben
Ihr (You) [p]seidhabt
Sie (They)sindhaben

3. Past

To convey events that happened in the past, we have three available tenses in German: the simple past, the present perfect, and the past perfect. Let’s look at when to use these and how to conjugate them!

A- Simple Past

In German, the simple past tense is usually referred to as Imperfekt or Präteritum, and it’s mainly used in writing. The majority of speakers prefer to use the present perfect instead, unless they’re trying to be formal or are telling a story. All the same, knowing this tense will be extremely useful if you want to be able to read books, magazines, and newspapers in German. 

All regular German verbs in the simple past follow the same pattern, so once you learn it, you’ll be able to conjugate all of them! 

To form the Präteritum, just remove the ending -en and add the following endings according to the subject: 

Personal PronounSimple Past Tense EndingConjugation of Lernen (To Learn)
Ich (I)-teich lernte
Du (You) [s]-testdu lerntest
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)-teer lernte
Wir (We)-tenwir lernten
Ihr (You) [p]-tetihr lerntet
sie/Sie (They)-tensie lernten

Of course, there are still irregular verbs that do not follow this pattern—you’ll just have to recognize them and memorize their endings by heart! Don’t worry, though: with time and practice, this will come as second nature!

Here’s a table with the conjugations of sein (to be) and haben (to have) in the simple past tense. These verbs are often used not only in writing, but also in speaking. 

Personal PronounSimple Past of Sein (To Be)Simple Past of Haben (To Have)
Ich (I)warhatte
Du (You) [s]warsthattest
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)warhatte
Wir (We)warenhatten 
Ihr (You) [p]warthattet
Sie (They)warenhatten

Note that although haben is an irregular verb, it actually uses the same endings as regular verbs. It simply changes its stem from -b- to -t-. Verbs like this are called mixed verbs and, even though there aren’t many, they’ll stick in your mind for this peculiarity!

B- Present Perfect

Just like in English, the present perfect tense (Perfekt in German) is composed of two parts: 

1) The present tense of an auxiliary verb (“have” in English, haben or sein in German)

2) The past participle of the verb you’re conjugating (for example, “learned” or gelernt)

  • Ich habe gelernt. (I have learned.)

In German, we form the past participle by adding the prefix ge- to the third person singular.

  • Infinitive: lernen → Third person singular: er lernt → Past participle: gelernt

This works with all regular verbs. 

Usually, we choose haben as an auxiliary verb when forming the Perfekt. But if we’re describing a condition or a movement, or are conjugating the verb sein, we would use sein as the auxiliary verb. 

  • Wir sind in den Supermarkt gegangen. (We went to the supermarket.)
  • Sie ist gestern krank gewesen. (She was ill yesterday.)

A Couple at the Supermarket

Personal PronounPresent Perfect of Lernen (To Learn)
Ich (I)habe gelernt
Du (You) [s]hast gelernt
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)hat gelernt
Wir (We)haben gelernt
Ihr (You) [p]habt gelernt
Sie (They)haben gelernt

Personal PronounPresent Perfect of Haben (To Have)
Ich (I)habe gehabt
Du (You) [s]hast gehabt
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)hat gehabt
Wir (We)haben gehabt
Ihr (You) [p]habt gehabt
Sie (They)haben gehabt

C- Past Perfect

The Plusquamperfekt (Past Perfect) expresses actions that took place before a given point in the past. It’s the German equivalent of the English past perfect tense (I had learned). We use this tense in storytelling, combined with the simple past, to talk about something that happened before a past event.

Like in English, we form it using the simple past of the auxiliary verb (“have” in English, haben or sein in German) and the past participle of the verb you’re conjugating (for example, “learned” or gelernt).

Personal PronounPast Perfect of Lernen (To Learn)
Ich (I)hatte gelernt
Du (You) [s]hattest gelernt
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)hatte gelernt
Wir (We)hatten gelernt
Ihr (You) [p]hattet gelernt
Sie (They)hatten gelernt

Personal PronounPast Perfect of Haben (To Have)
Ich (I)hatte gehabt
Du (You) [s]hattest gehabt
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)hatte gehabt
Wir (We)hatten gehabt
Ihr (You) [p]hattet gehabt
Sie (They)hatten gehabt

4. Future

As we’ve mentioned, we can often use the present tense to talk about set events in the future. What happens, though, when we want to talk about an intention or an event in the future we’re not sure about?

In German, we have two future tenses: Futur I and Futur II.

A Woman Writing Something at a Wooden Desk with a Typewriter

A- Futur I

This tense is comparable to the English “I will ___” or “I am going to ___.”

In German, we use it to express:

  • A future intention
  • An assumption about the future
  • An assumption about the present

To conjugate it, we need the finite form of werden and the infinitive form of the verb.

Personal PronounFutur I of Lernen (To Learn)
Ich (I)werde lernen
Du (You) [s]wirst lernen
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)wird lernen
Wir (We)werden lernen
Ihr (You) [p]werdet lernen
Sie (They)werden lernen

Personal PronounFutur I of Haben (To Have)
Ich (I)werde haben 
Du (You) [s]wirst haben 
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)wird haben 
Wir (We)werden haben 
Ihr (You) [p]werdet haben 
Sie (They)werden haben 

B- Future Perfect

The Futur II (future perfect) expresses the idea that an action will have been completed by a particular point in the future.

To form this tense, we need the finite form of werden, the past participle of the full verb, and the auxiliary verbs sein/haben.

Personal PronounFutur II of Lernen (To Learn)
Ich (I)werde gelernt haben
Du (You)wirst gelernt haben
Er/sie/es (He/she/it)wird gelernt haben
Wir (We)werden gelernt haben
Ihr (You plural)werdet gelernt haben
Sie (They)werden gelernt haben

Personal PronounFutur II of Haben (To Have)
Ich (I)werde gehabt haben
Du (You) [s]wirst gehabt haben
Er / Sie / Es (He / She / It)wird gehabt haben
Wir (We)werden gehabt haben
Ihr (You) [p]werdet gehabt haben
Sie (They)werden gehabt haben

5. German Tenses: A Summary

As you’ve seen, learning how to use verbs and verb tenses in German can be tricky, but it’s certainly one of the most important aspects of learning this beautiful and interesting language

We hope that this post helped you gain some insight into German tenses and how to use them properly to talk about the past, present, and future!

If you want to learn more about verbs and conjugations and have access to much more German learning material, visit GermanPod101.com. Here you’ll find lessons for all levels, grammar material, vocab lists, podcasts, dictionaries, blog posts, and more!

What are you waiting for? Start learning and practicing German with us—you’ll be able to master the use of German verbs and tenses in no time at all! 

Before you go, let us know in the comments if this article helped you. Do you feel ready to tackle the challenge of German verb tenses, or do you still have questions? We look forward to hearing from you!

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How Long Does it Take to Learn German?

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What dedicated language learner could pass up an opportunity to spend endless days studying German and all its nuances? Unfortunately, in our society, time is money and the reality of things can be quite different. Most of us just don’t have the time to study languages at our leisure. 

Because time is such a constraint, there’s an important question to ask yourself before beginning to learn this beautiful language: How long does it take to learn German?

Mark Twain said: “A gifted person ought to learn English in 30 hours, French in 30 days and German in 30 years.” But it might not take quite that long!

I’m sure we all instinctively look for the fastest and easiest ways to learn new things. Being efficient with our time allows us to start practicing and using our new skills much sooner, so we can find a better job, travel abroad, or better communicate with a loved one. 

Learning a foreign language is always an amazing and fulfilling process, though often arduous. By learning to understand, speak, and think in a different language, we not only add a new skill to our repertoire but we also change the very way we see and interact with the world.

It’s understandable that you’d like to know for certain how long this marveolus language learning journey will take you, so that you could make plans and form solid expectations. The reality is, however, that there’s no one best way to learn German and there’s no set timetable for it! 

Everyone learns differently, and how long it takes to learn German will depend on many factors. 

In this article, we’ll explore some of the factors that will affect your learning and how you can speed it up as much as possible!

Hourglass against a Dark Background
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Experience
  2. Learning Style
  3. Approach
  4. How Long Does it Take to Achieve Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Level?
  5. How Our Website Can Help

Experience

One of the most important factors to take into account when considering how fast you can learn a language is your personal experience with languages

The Language(s) You Speak

What’s your native language? And what other languages do you speak? 

Yes, this might actually be a defining element in how quickly you’ll be able to pick up the German language. If you’re a native (or near-native) English speaker, you’re in luck! German and English actually share the same roots and forty percent of German vocabulary is similar to English vocabulary!

If you’re a native speaker of a Semitic language like Arabic, on the other hand, it might be a little trickier to learn German—but all the more challenging and rewarding! So, don’t be discouraged. Just be aware that your native English-speaking classmates might have a bit of a headstart…but that doesn’t mean they’ll learn it better than you!

Several Language Learning Textbooks

Your Previous Language Learning Experience

Have you ever learned another language before?

If you already speak a foreign language fluently, or were raised bilingual, it may be easier and quicker for you to learn German. Several studies have now proven that bilinguals find it easier to learn a third language. This is because they already have experience learning and using a second language, and are thus more accustomed to the entire process.

Even if you’re not bilingual, having studied and learned a foreign language at some point in your life will help. Having fluency and skill in one language will help you gain fluency and skill in another, even if the two languages are unrelated! 

Your Previous Grammar Knowledge

One of the first steps in learning a foreign language is finding out how it’s built and how it works. This is usually done by studying its structure and grammar. 

If you already have some experience studying grammar and syntax, even in your native language, it will be much easier for you to study the grammar and syntax of a foreign language. 

So, if you plan to start learning German (or another language!), it’s a good idea to have some grammar foundations to build on!

An Asian Woman Studying German

Learning Style

The way you learn and study is another essential aspect that may affect how long it will take you to become fluent in German. 

Your Methods

If you limit your learning to a classroom setting, even if you show up every day, it will probably take you a little longer to learn and feel confident using your language skills. Try to expose yourself to German outside the classroom (or online lesson) and you’ll cut down the time it takes you to learn it! 

Try reading German newspapers, watching films and series in German, and even listening to German podcasts while you drive or cook. Of course, finding a language partner to practice conversing with will also go a long way toward making you fluent faster! 

Your Time

There’s another aspect we haven’t mentioned yet, but it’s the most important of all when asking yourself how long it takes to learn German: The time you dedicate to it!

If you want to learn fast, try to dedicate as much time to learning as you can. 

Daily practice is ideal, and research has actually proven that learners who dedicate an hour a day to language learning—whether studying grammar, memorizing new words, watching a film, or reading a book—learn significantly faster than those who just attend weekly classes. 

And of course, if it’s an option for you, full immersion is best. If you can travel to Germany and live there for a while, that will make a big difference!

A Christmas Market in Germany

Approach

This is quite possibly the game-changer that will determine how fast you learn German. It can really make a massive difference!  

Your Motivation

It really is no secret that staying motivated is essential for learning a foreign language. Why do you want to learn German?

Have this clear in your mind and set weekly (or even daily) goals for maximum efficiency. This will help you stay motivated and interested in learning, and you can remind yourself every day why you’re learning this beautiful language. 

Your Attitude

Keeping your motivation up will make you feel like you’re learning more efficiently, and it will help you maintain a positive attitude during your language learning journey! 

It’s key to see learning as a fun and interesting activity that you’re choosing to do, and not a chore that you’re forced to do.

A Man Expressing Victory

Remember that learning a new language will open your mind and your horizons, and it will give you a great set of skills you can use in your day-to-day life. 

When you think this way, you’ll feel like learning something new every day and the process will be more enjoyable and much faster! 

How Long Does it Take to Achieve Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced Level?

So, let’s get to the point. Even though it’s hard to say for sure, we’ve tried to make an estimate of how long it might take you to reach a beginner, intermediate, and advanced level of German. 

Beginner

A beginner speaker of a language will be able to introduce themselves, understand slow and simple spoken language, and ask basic questions (probably making some mistakes along the way!). 

This level is probably enough if you just want…

  • …to be able to greet people. 
  • …to order a meal at the restaurant
  • …to understand when someone talks to you slowly and carefully. 
  • …some basic reading skills. 

You’ll be able to do all these things after about 180-200 hours (level A2) of German classes. This means that if you’re motivated and willing to put in 10-15 hours a week, you can travel to Germany without any worries in just over three months! 

So get studying now, and you’ll soon be having some basic conversations with native speakers!

Intermediate

If you reach an intermediate level, you’ll be able to understand everyday conversation (if spoken clearly), even if you have to ask some questions here and there to keep up. This level will also allow you to… 

  • …watch videos and read the news without major problems understanding the main points. 
  • ask for and follow directions
  • …have basic interactions with locals about familiar subjects. 

We estimate that to achieve an intermediate level in German, you’ll need around 350 hours of study. This means that, if you dedicate around 15 hours a week to practicing your German, you’ll be able to reach this level in just six months! 

Advanced

If you want to achieve fluency, this is what you’re aiming for: advanced language skills. With this level, you’ll basically be able to… 

  • navigate any kind of situation that may arise in your daily life or while traveling.
  • …have in-depth conversations with native speakers. 
  • watch movies without subtitles.
  • …read books in German with no problem.

You’ll be fluent! (Even if there will always be something more to learn about this intricate and beautifully complex language…)

A Woman Studying Late at Night

So, how long do you need to learn German if you want to reach this level of fluency? 

According to the U.S. Foreign Service Institute (FSI), you’ll need about 750 hours of study to become fluent in German. This means that if you study 12-15 hours a week, you’ll be able to speak like a pro in just a year! 

If this seems like a long time, take into account that harder languages like Japanese or Arabic may take up to 2200 hours, three times longer than German!

How Our Website Can Help

What are you waiting for? The right time to start learning a new language is now! 

The sooner you start learning, the faster you’ll achieve your language objectives and start speaking German. 

As you consider your options (and the world’s ongoing pandemic), you might wonder how to learn German online. GermanPod101 is a great place to start! 

To keep you motivated and interested (and to make your language learning adventure easy to navigate), we offer all kinds of language learning content on GermanPod101.com. Here you’ll find lessons for all levels, as well as vocabulary lists, dictionaries, and blog posts. 

Above all, how long it takes to learn German just depends on how much time you’re willing to invest. Our courses and resources are specifically designed to give you all the right tools to learn German as quickly and easily as possible, so that your precious time is well-spent!

Whether you’re a beginner who wants a full immersion experience or an advanced speaker who just needs to refine your skills, you’ll find what you’re looking for here.

Before you go, let us know in the comments if this article helped you! Do you feel ready to tackle the challenge of learning German? We look forward to hearing from you!

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30 German Proverbs and Idioms to Speak Like a Native

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Proverbs are popular sayings that provide a little dose of wisdom—a truth that is, sometimes, so obvious that it’s overlooked. 

If you really want your language skills to shine, knowing some popular German proverbs is a great way to start. And of course, it will also help you fit in with the German locals and better understand their culture!

The German City of Bremen

In Germany, there’s a great variety of wisdom-infusing sayings—whether we’re talking about a lot of sausages, some bears and rabbits running around in forests, or some serious-sounding, deep stuff! 

As we say, “There is no time like the present.” So let’s get to it. These thirty popular German proverbs will add versatility and color to your spoken language, so that even locals will mistake you for a native.


Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. 6 Funny German Proverbs
  2. 8 German Proverbs About Food and Drinks
  3. 6 German Proverbs Related to Nature
  4. 10 Beautifully Wise German Proverbs
  5. Conclusion

1. 6 Funny German Proverbs

Let’s face it, Germans are not known for being the most humorous people in the world… I can assure you, though, that they do have some pretty funny proverbs they like to use! 

Laughter is the best medicine,” we say in English, so let’s start by having a look at some lighthearted German-language proverbs and idioms!

Wer rastet, der rostet.

Literal translation: He who rests grows rusty.
English equivalent: You snooze, you lose.

To remain true to their engineering and car-building reputation, when Germans get lazy or inactive…they get rusty! This will make it harder to start being productive again. 

Krummes Holz gibt auch gerades Feuer.

Literal translation: Crooked logs also make straight fires.

If you’re cold during the German winter, crooked logs will be just fine…no need to find perfect ones. So stop looking for perfection and make do with what’s available!

People with Christmas socks getting warm in front of a fire

Des Teufels liebstes Möbelstück ist die lange Bank.

Literal translation: The devil’s favorite piece of furniture is the long bench.
English equivalent: Never leave until tomorrow what you can do today.

In German, to put something “on the long bench” means to put it off until later. This proverb warns us to be careful about procrastination, because you don’t want to mess with the devil’s favorite piece of furniture!

It also has an alternative version, closer to the English equivalent: Was du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf morgen. (Literally: “What you can get done today, don’t move it until tomorrow.”) 

Selbst ist der Mann. / Selbst ist die Frau.

A Man Holding a Drill

Literal translation: Self is the man. / Self is the woman.
English equivalent: Self do, self have.

This is your proverb if you like DIY. Say it to yourself (or to a friend) after you’ve managed to do something without help from anyone. It’s pretty empowering!

Ich kriege so eine Krawatte. / Ich kriege so (dicken) einen Hals.

Literal translation: I get such a tie! / I get such (thick) a neck.
English equivalent: It really annoys me / winds me up!

Both variants are often accompanied by the gesture of putting a hand around one’s own neck.

In Germany, apparently, you get a necktie or a thick neck when something annoys you. Personally, I do understand the comparison…do you?

Bis über beide Ohren verliebt sein.

Literal translation: To be over both ears in love!
English equivalent: To be head over heels in love.

Just change the head and heels for both of your ears, and it means you’ve found someone really, really special!

2. 8 German Proverbs About Food and Drinks

Food might not be the first thing you think about when planning a trip to Germany, but the country has as much of a food culture as anywhere else in Europe. The cuisine is tasty, original, and different in every region.

A Plate of German Food

As you can imagine, you’ll find a lot of sausage-related idioms. But you’ll also find German food proverbs talking about cookies, soups, and (of course) beer! 

Die beleidigte Leberwurst spielen.

Literal translation: To play the offended liver sausage.

This one could actually have been in the previous section, but here it is: If you’re behaving like an offended liver sausage, it means you’re throwing a tantrum or overreacting to something. The good thing is that being called a liver sausage might make you forget what you were on about, and just laugh it out!

Der Hunger kommt beim Essen.

Literal translation: Appetite emerges while eating.

According to this proverb, you’ll only realize how hungry you are after you’ve started eating. But the proverb can apply to other things, too. For example, do you want to learn German but don’t feel so hungry for it? Start learning and the appetite will come!

Sich die Wurst vom Brot nehmen lassen

Literal translation: To let someone take the sausage off your bread

This is a warning to stand up for yourself. Don’t let anyone take the sausage off your bread. You’re too good to be taken advantage of. 

Das ist mir Wurst.

Literal translation: That is sausage to me.

I warned you about the sausage content, so don’t complain. If something is ‘sausage to you,’ it means you couldn’t care less about it! (Which is strange, as Germans do seem to care about sausages…)

Um den heißen Brei herumreden

Literal translation: To talk around the hot soup/porridge
English equivalent: To beat around the bush

Well, what do you do when the soup’s hot and you can’t eat it just yet? This phrase is used when someone is talking and talking, without ever getting to the point. 

Du gehst mir auf den Keks.

Literal translation: You’re getting on my cookies.
English equivalent: You’re getting on my nerves.

Use this phrase when someone annoys you, as if you were eating a cookie and they tried to take it out of your hands!

Das ist nicht mein Bier.

Beer in a Mug

Literal translation: That’s not my beer.
English equivalent: That’s not my business.

This phrase is used when you don’t want to get involved in something you have nothing to do with. Not your beer, not your problem!

Dienst ist Dienst und Schnaps ist Schnaps.

Literal translation: Work is work and liquor is liquor.

Germans are known to be very diligent workers…but there’s no mixing of business and pleasure! Everything has its time. So work hard, play hard!

3. 6 German Proverbs Related to Nature 

If you’ve been to Germany, you’ll certainly know how important it is for the locals to spend some time in touch with nature. This is reflected in the proverbs they use in their daily lives. 

Bears, horses, rabbits, and forests…here we come!

Da steppt der Bär.

A Black Bear in a Tree

Literal translation: There steps the bear.

You can use this phrase when referring to a party you really want to go to. If even the bears will start dancing, it means it’s gonna be good! Be careful, though, as it’s often used sarcastically!

Wenn der Reiter nichts taugt, ist das Pferd schuld.

Literal translation: If the rider is no good, it’s the horse’s fault.
English equivalent: A bad workman always blames his tools.

Someone who has done their job poorly will always try to blame it on outside circumstances (in this case, poor horses), rather than admit their lack of skills. 

Wer zwei Hasen auf einmal jagt bekommt keinen.

Literal translation: He who chases two rabbits at once will catch none.
English equivalent: He who follows two hares catches neither.

Concentrate on one task at a time, or you’ll end up not doing either of them properly.

Kümmere Dich nicht um ungelegte Eier.

Literal translation: Don’t worry about eggs that haven’t been laid yet.
English equivalent: Don’t cross your bridges before you come to them.

In other words, don’t worry about problems before they arrive. Be them eggs or bridges, just chill for now. 

Du siehst den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht.

Literal translation: You don’t see the forest for all the trees.

Several Trees in the Forest

This is something along the lines of the Zen proverb: “When the sage points at the moon, the fool looks at the finger.” Look beyond and see the bigger picture! And also, don’t think too much; just see what’s there, the obvious!

Bäume wachsen nicht in den Himmel.

Literal translation: No trees grow into the sky. 

This German saying suggests that there are natural limits to growth and improvement. So actually, don’t reach for the sky…

4. 10 Beautifully Wise German Proverbs

This is the longest list, so let’s admit it: Germans are pretty wise. Yes, they like to be funny sometimes, enjoy their food and drink, and love to spend time in nature. But when it comes to philosophical statements, they have no rivals! 

After all, German philosophers and thinkers are some of the most famous around the world. It’s easy to see why, if they’ve grown up repeating these beautiful German sayings. 

Let’s look at some of these German proverbs and their meanings in English. (Although they just sound wiser spoken in German!)

Aller Anfang ist schwer.

Literal translation: All beginnings are hard.

This one is pretty self-explanatory: Beginnings can be very hard, but it will get easier.

Anfangen ist leicht, Beharren eine Kunst.

A Man Studying Late at Night

Literal translation: Starting is easy, persistence is an art.

Hmm…apparently, starting can be the easy part and keeping it up the hard bit. Let’s say it depends on the situation! 

Man muss die Dinge nehmen, wie sie kommen.

Literal translation: You have to take things the way they come.

We all know life never happens exactly as we expect it to. So relax, and try to accept whatever comes. Make the best of it, rather than always wishing for things to be different. 

Übung macht den Meister.

Literal translation: Practice is what makes a master.
English equivalent: Practice makes perfect.

Practice, practice, practice! It’s the only way to master virtually anything. 

Wer A sagt, muss auch B sagen.

Literal translation: He who says A also has to say B.

If you commit to something, commit all the way!

Taten sagen mehr als Worte.

Literal translation: Actions say more than words.
English equivalent: Actions speak louder than words.

In German, actions don’t necessarily speak louder…they’re just more chatty!

Aus Schaden wird man klug.

Literal translation: Failure makes smart.

Nobody likes to screw up, but failure is necessary for learning. If you don’t make mistakes, you’ll never get better!

Das Billige ist immer das Teuerste.

Literal translation: The cheapest is always the most expensive.

This is a philosophical way of inviting you to invest in quality, and not only in terms of money. If something is too cheap or too easy to get, it will probably end up costing you much more later on!

Erst denken, dann handeln.

Literal translation: First think, then act.

Wise and clear. Think before you act!

Gut Ding will Weile haben.

Literal translation: Good things take time.

If you’re an impatient person, we have bad news for you. Germans believe that if you want something to be done well, you need to wait for it. In other words: take your time, enjoy the process, and don’t rush things! 

5. Conclusion

“All good things must come to an end.”

But it’s not really the end, is it? There’s so much more to learn about the German language! 

As they say, “Practice makes perfect.” So keep practicing your German skills on GermanPod101.com! With all the features we offer (podcasts, videos with transcriptions, word lists, a dictionary, and more), you’ll pick up this beautiful and interesting language in no time. 

And remember: What makes a master? Practice, practice, practice!

Which of these German proverbs or idioms is your favorite, and why? Let us know in the comments!

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Visit Berlin: The Top 10 Places to Walk, Learn, and Relax

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Have you ever visited a city filled with an eclectic mix of cultures, history, and wonderful sights, as well as a vibrant creative life? If the answer is no, then you should start thinking about a trip to the German capital. Even John F. Kennedy, the U.S. President, loved it! 

“All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words, ‘Ich bin ein Berliner!’ [I am a Berliner!]”

But really, why should you visit Berlin? Imagine a hub of history, art, music, and graffiti that attracts millions of tourists annually. Sounds pretty good, right? Follow our Berlin travel guide and rest assured you’ll have an incredible experience. 

We’ll keep it short by describing only the top ten places to visit in Berlin (but don’t worry, you’ll get a bit of everything).

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Table of Contents
  1. When to Visit Berlin
  2. What to Visit in Berlin
  3. Survival German
  4. Conclusion

When to Visit Berlin

In addition to choosing the best sites to visit in Berlin, it’s essential to pick the right season! 

Winters can be really chilly (quite literally freezing!), so the best time to visit Berlin is from May to October. But if freezing temperatures don’t scare you, you can also visit Berlin in winter to experience the lovely capital city during Christmas!

Try to travel during May or June if you want long summer days and more clement weather. September and October will be ideal if you prefer less-crowded museums and streets! 

What to Visit in Berlin

One last thing before we head to our Berlin travel guide: 

Before starting your Berlin adventures (with your shiny-new German vocab), keep in mind that the city is huge! 

It’s five times bigger than Paris (even though it has only a quarter of the population) and, since it was divided for so long, there are a lot of mini-centers scattered throughout the city… It can take up to thirty or forty-five minutes to travel from place to place, so plan your days well!

Without further ado, here’s our list of the best places to visit in Berlin.

1. Museum Island

The Museum Island (Museumsinsel in German) is a complex located in the historical middle of the city—the Mitte—on the northern part of the Spree Island. As you can guess by its name, the island is home to multiple world-renowned museums, including the Pergamon Museum, Altes Museum, Neues Museum, Bode Museum, and the Alte Nationalgalerie. This makes it one of the most instructive and interesting places to visit in Berlin. 

If you like learning about history, archaeology, and art, you could spend a whole week wandering around this amazing complex of museums in Berlin, which is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The Mitte, even though it’s very touristy (and not the most authentic location in Berlin) still offers a bit of everything. Once you’re done checking out the museums, you can stop by one of the area’s cafes or restaurants for a quick bite and caffeine boost, shop for souvenirs to take home, or check out the local clubs.

While there, you can also visit the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral), which is located right next to the Altes Museum. Like so many other buildings in Berlin, a bomb destroyed it during WWII. However, its restoration started in 1975 and, even though it took a good while (it was only completed in 2002), the result is surely impressive! You can enjoy its façade, navigate its immense interior, or even climb up to the dome to marvel at the beautiful sights of central Berlin from above.

2. The Berlin Wall Memorial (Gedenkstatte Berliner Mauer)

You can’t go to the German capital without paying a visit to the Berlin Wall…or at least what’s left of it! The Berlin Wall divided the city in two for twenty-eight years until it was finally brought down in 1989. 

One of the most famous places to visit in Berlin, the Memorial at Bernauer Strasse is an open-air exhibition that chronicles the wall’s history and displays an entire mile of the original wall. Here, you’ll learn about how the wall divided the capital and affected its citizens.

3. East Side Gallery

The East Side Gallery

If the Berlin Wall Memorial wasn’t enough, and you want to learn more about the history of this city and the wall that shaped the lives of its citizens for almost thirty years, I strongly suggest that you also visit the East Side Gallery. 

Here you’ll find the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin wall…but it’s not just a wall anymore! It has become one of the world’s largest open-air galleries. 

Its colorful artworks, painted right on the wall by a huge range of international artists, are based on themes of freedom, anti-oppression, and political satire, bringing recent history to life. 

The gallery is located in an open public space and it’s accessible at all times. Just behind the gallery, you’ll find a small lawnfield with access to the Spree River, where you can take a rest after your exhausting day.  This area is definitely one of the best sites to visit in Berlin!

4. Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

The Brandenburg Gate (Branderburger Tor) was once a gate into the city. Today, it’s one of the top attractions in Berlin and a great emblem of peace. 

Designed in 1791, the Neoclassical gate stands 26 meters (about 85 feet) high and was inspired by the acropolis of Athens. The original sculpture was actually destroyed during World War II, and then replaced in 1969 by an exact replica made in West Germany. 

The Brandenburg Gate is one of the most important symbols of Berlin and it offers one of the best views of the city, by both day and night.

The Brandenburg Gate is located at the Pariser Platz (Paris Square), where you can find many embassies. Directly next to the Brandenburg Gate, you’ll find the American and French embassies; go farther down the street, and you’ll also come across Russian and British embassies. 

Also, fans of pop music can visit the Adlon Kempinski Hotel, located right in front of the Brandenburg Gate. This is where Michael Jackson once presented his youngest child to the public.

5. Unten Der Linden

This boulevard, the name of which literally translates as “under the Linden trees,” is one of the main arteries and favorite avenues of Berlin. 

Brandenburg Gate is the perfect starting point to visit this avenue, which stretches for 1.5 km (just under a mile) to reach Schlossbrücke (Castle Bridge). Some of the city’s most important buildings and landmarks are located in the area.

You can take a blissful walk along the boulevard, which will take you through Pariser Platz. You’ll find the magnificent Neue Wache and the public square Bebelplatz, which is home to the Berlin State Opera, the Humboldt University of Berlin, and the Roman Catholic St. Hedwig’s Cathedral. Next, you’ll reach Schlossbrücke, a bridge that leads to Museum Island.

6. Mauerpark

A Large Karaoke Event at Mauerpark

If you’re visiting Berlin over the weekend, Mauerpark is a destination you shouldn’t miss. Every Sunday, Berlin’s most famous Flohmarkt (flea market) takes place here, filled with antics, used clothes, hip brands, and food tracks offering food from all around the world! 

If you’re lucky, you’ll also experience an open-air karaoke at the amphitheatre located next to the flea market, where people gather to sing their favorite songs in front of dozens of people. If you’re not interested in karaoke, you can also listen to professional musicians practicing and playing throughout the park.

It’s a great place to go, even if you can’t make it on Sunday. On sunny days, the park is usually full of people having picnics, spraying graffiti, or playing basketball in the designated areas.

One more thing we haven’t mentioned yet: The park has a little slope which offers a beautiful view over Berlin’s skyline. And—this is the best part—on top of the slopes, you’ll find swings that literally allow you to swing above Berlin’s roofs!

7. The Holocaust Memorial (Holocaust-Mahnmal)

The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is another place you must visit in Berlin. As you can tell by its name, it commemorates one of the saddest episodes of WWII

The memorial itself is an architectural gem that challenges the very notion of commemorative monuments. It’s made up of 2,711 concrete slabs of various heights that, placed next to each other, create numerous passages for visitors to walk through. 

The information center is located underneath the monument, on the southeast side. Here, you can learn about the National Socialism movement and the extermination policies carried out between 1933 and 1945. You will also be able to read the Holocaust testimonies of numerous persecuted Jews and learn about their stories before, during, and after the torment.

8. Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp

If you feel like you want to learn more about the Holocaust at this point, and you want to get away from the city for a little while, this is a must-see location. It’s located in Oranienburg and is accessible via a one-and-a-half hour train ride from the station Lichtenberg in the eastern part of Berlin.

Sachsenhausen (KZ Sachsenhausen) was one of the most prominent death camps in Nazi Germany. More than 200,000 prisoners were kept here from 1936 to 1945.

What’s special about this place is that, three months after WWII ended, it became a Soviet Special Camp used to lock away Nazi prisoners and political prisoners who did not agree with the Soviet Union ideals. As you explore the facility, you’ll surely feel a shiver go down your spine as you discover the atrocities committed by both parties over the years. It is surely an instructive and moving experience.

9. The Reichstag Building

This historic building is the seat of the German Parliament (German Bundestag). Established in 1894, it has a classical façade crowned by a large modern dome. As it’s located on the border of East Berlin, the Reichstag was separated from the Brandenburg Gate by the Berlin Wall for nearly twenty-nine years. 

In 1990, it was restored by Norman Foster and quickly became one of the most iconic symbols of Berlin.

Today, the area around the Reichstag Building became a governmental district. One of the other more-prominent buildings that can be found in the area is the Kanzleramt (Chancellor Office), which faces the Reichstag Building.

10. Tiergarten

Last but not least, take some time to reflect on all you’ve seen and learned in Berlin, and take a deep breath in one of the most beautiful parks in the German capital.

Tiergarten (literally: animal garden) is the perfect spot to temporarily step into nature and get away from the bustling city. 

You can enjoy a picnic, lie in the sun (maybe even in the company of a squirrel, if you’re lucky!), or get lost in walking meditation on one of its many pathways…

Survival German

Now that you have a better idea of where you want to visit on your trip to Berlin, it’s time to answer a key question: Can you visit Berlin without speaking German?

While most people in Berlin will understand and speak some English, there are a lot of day-to-day interactions you’ll need to face in order to make your itinerary happen. You never know when you’ll need to use some German, so I’ll leave you with some German survival phrases just in case! 

Good day!
Guten Tag! (gooh-ten tahk!)

Good evening!
Guten Abend! (gooh-ten ah-bent!)

Goodbye!
Auf Wiedersehen! (ouf vee-der-zey-en!)

Please. / You’re welcome.
Bitte. (bi-te)

Thank you.
Danke. (dân-ke)

Excuse me.
Entschuldigung. (ênt-shool-dee-goong)

My name is…
Ich heiße… (iH hays-e…)

Pleased to meet you.
Freut mich. (froyt miH)

Conclusion

I hope this Berlin travel guide will make it easier for you to enjoy all that the vibrant and diverse city of Berlin has to offer. Which location on this list do you most want to visit, and why? 

Remember, if you want to feel like a real Berliner while you explore the most interesting places in the German capital, knowing a little German will surely help! Once you attain a strong level of spoken German, it’ll be easy for you to talk with locals and make your adventure even more unforgettable.

You can achieve this through the language podcasts, videos with transcripts, word lists, and more that GermanPod101.com provides. Create your free lifetime account today to start learning German in the fastest, easiest, and most fun way possible.

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What’s with All The English Words in German?

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German learners often have to put up with native speakers who only ever speak English to them.

After all, if you go up to a stranger in Berlin and start speaking English only, there’s a good chance you’ll hear English in response – often quite fluent English at that!

But it’s not enough that you have to speak excellent German in order to get people to speak German with you at all.

You’ve got to speak the right amount of English as well. Hence, our English words in German list. 

You see, if you’re going to take part in German society at this point in the 21st century, you’ve got to reckon with the fact that Germans are international enough to already speak English at a high level.

German-speakers from Cologne to Zurich can even be found sprinkling choice English turns of phrase into their speech with other Germans! In fact, this is a phenomenon so widespread that it even has its own name: Denglish, from Deutsch + English.

Most media coverage of Denglish is either heavily critical of the whole concept or just goes over a couple of words you should be aware of. However, it’s not going away, and so it’s better to learn it well when you can!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Introduction to Denglish
  2. Denglish Examples
  3. Loan Words vs. Denglish
  4. How These Names are Said in German
  5. English Words Derived From German
  6. Conclusion

Introduction to Denglish

Many Different Books

German and English are, of course, related languages. They’re both part of the West Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, and there’s a ton of shared vocabulary between the two languages just by virtue of this part of their history. Adapting English words to German doesn’t often take a lot of mental gymnastics.

However, there’s a distinct difference between these “old roots” and new English borrowings into German. 

German was actually a really well-respected international language of science and philosophy for many centuries in Europe, surpassing the English language in popularity in many aspects. 

It wasn’t until around the 1960s to the 1980s that English started becoming the “international language” even in Germany. This took shape slowly, but by the time of the fall of the Berlin wall, many West Germans were regularly using English words in their conversations even with other Germans. After the wall fell, everyone started following suit. 

Today, English is still seen as quite prestigious in German culture. Many Germans take pride in the fact that a majority of the population can speak English well enough to get by – plus at least one other language thanks to the German primary and secondary education systems

That’s not even counting the influence of the Internet. Although German is well-represented on YouTube, the sheer amount of English-langauge content overpowers it on Youtube, Instagram, and other social media. Just from interacting with this kind of media, Germans get comfortable with plenty of English words and they even feel comfortable introducing them back into their own informal German use.

Today, a mixture of German and English (or Denglish) is no longer the mark of imperfect German or English that it once was. It’s a cultural marker. 

Denglish Examples

A Woman Looking Down at Her Cell Phone and Smiling

With all this adoption into the German language, you might expect that these words would be preserved in their original meanings as a mark of difference from German. Although that’s often the case, it also happens that the opposite occurs: a word comes originally from English but has shifted its meaning after being adopted into German. 

Probably the best-known example of that phenomenon is the word das Handy. This is clearly an English word in origin as German words don’t end in -y like that, but instead of an adjective meaning “useful,” this word is a noun meaning “mobile phone.” And it’s not like how in English people refer to your “phone,” your “cell phone,” or your “mobile” – it’s all Handy, all the time. Many Germans even insist to English speakers that the word must be the same in English too!

Up next is the word das or der Evergreen, meaning “classic song that never goes out of style.” The German word for “a tree that is green all year” is actually a direct translation of the English – immergrün.

In the same vein, the word der Oldtimer refers to a classic car, not an old person – that’s an alter Hase “old rabbit.”

This extends to verbs as well. Trampen means “to hitchhike,” which makes sense if you’re familiar with older literature about people riding the rails (probably where the term came from!) and anturnen does not mean to turn something on, but is a word meaning “to get hyped.”

Another common way of implementing English words into German is creating compound words out of an English and a German word. This might sound like creating a Frankenstein monster, although due to the relation between English and German, this works actually fine. An example of such a word is die Teamarbeit or “teamwork,” which consists from the English word “team,” and the German word Arbeit meaning “work.” 

Loan Words vs. Denglish

A Manager Smiling and Standing in Front of Some Office Workers

In German, there are also a ton of words borrowed directly from English, often with the English pronunciation kept totally intact. These loan words have the same meaning in German and English and would be understood by listeners even without any German knowledge.

And in fact, there are hundreds.

Plenty of them pop up in the business world as trendy alternatives to pure German words. One such example of an outdated word is die Besprechung which has been replaced in the business jargon by its English equivalent – “meeting.” 

In the same way, die Leitung has turned into der Manager

You can take a bunch of English verbs related to computers and e-mail and simply conjugate them as if they were German to begin with – so you’ll have googlen, forwarden, clicken, downloaden, and so on instead of what you might find in a dictionary. A lot of Germans find this really annoying, but it really does happen all the time. Just check out a couple of German YouTube channels to see how people talk about tech and software in German, since there’s not really any textbook that can help you with this kind of vocabulary.

How These Names are Said in German

Someone Playing a Playstation with a Blue Controller

Interestingly enough, most pop culture from other countries is dubbed into German instead of just coming with subtitles. Dubbing is a huge deal in German film culture, and usually one actor sticks with a single dubbing target for their entire career.

Because of this, movie and TV series titles are localized into German in their entirety, as it’d be a bit weird to have a whole cast and high-quality dubbing but with a foreign-language title.

Star Wars becomes Krieg der Sterne “War of the Stars” while Lord of the Rings is translated directly as Herr der Ringe. Many German learners have loved Harry Potter und der Stein der Weisen “the Philosopher’s Stone,” in both book and movie formats.

Fun fact: Sometimes Germans tend also to keep English names, since it appears “cool,” but they would change the name for the German market. So in Germany you won’t find for example Marvels “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” but instead you can watch “The Return of the First Avenger.”

These cool-sounding German names are unfortunately the exception rather than the rule. For quite some time in the 1980s through the 2000s, German dubs came with totally different titles from the original films – so the Dreamworks Animation classic “A Bug’s Life” ended up as Das große Krabbeln “the big crawling!”

Brand names such as Starbucks, McDonalds, and Burger King are simply spoken as normal German words, with German accents of course. Sometimes, a brand like “Xbox One” will be said exactly as it is in English, but the “Playstation 4” would be pronounced as Playstation Vier. There’s not really a system to this; it’s just something you have to pick up over time.

English Words Derived From German

German Apple Strudel with a Scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream

The exchange of ideas and vocabulary didn’t just happen in one direction between the English and German languages. Thanks to a great deal of migration from Europe to the United States in the 19th century, many Americans can trace their roots back to the German Old Country, and with it their heritage languages as well.

Although there has been cultural exchange between Germans and residents of other English-speaking countries, Americans seem to have picked up the most words related to German food.

Therefore, everybody from New York to Los Angeles knows that a Strudel is a pastry with fruit filling, a Bratwurst is a barbecued sausage, a bagel is a round and chewy roll with a hole in the middle, a pretzel (originally Brezel) is a long and thin piece of sourdough tied in a knot, and a delicatessen is where you go to buy all of these things!

Philosophy and sociology have benefited from German terms as well, such as übermensch or “superman,” or wunderkind “gifted child.” Even the everyday word Kindergarten comes from German, literally meaning “child garden!”

Conclusion

Earlier in this article we said that there isn’t really a good way to study Denglish. And it’s true, you won’t find many resources that treat it seriously.

This is even a good thing, because anyone who compiles a serious dictionary at this point is going to regret it a few years later when dozens of terms have become outdated and dozens of new ones have entered the language.

The best way to keep on top of these trends, therefore, is to attain a good level in German with a high-quality and holistic German resource like GermanPod101.com.

In addition to providing helpful grammar guides and cultural notes, GermanPod101 will get you ready to tackle real-life German and real-life Denglish as well! Try it out today and see how accessible all forms of the language can be!

How many of these English words in German were you surprised to find on this list? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments!

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