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Talk About the Weather in German Like a Native

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Did you know that every minute of the day, one billion tons of rain falls on the earth? Hard to believe, considering the climate crisis! Of course, all that rain is not equally shared across the planet.

So, would you mention this fascinating fact to your new German acquaintance? Well, small talk about local weather is actually a great conversation-starter. Everyone cares about the weather and you’re sure to hear a few interesting opinions! Seasons can be quite unpredictable these days and nobody knows the peculiarities of a region better than the locals.

GermanPod101 will equip you with all the weather vocabulary you need to plan your next adventure. The weather can even be an important discussion that influences your adventure plans. After all, you wouldn’t want to get caught on an inflatable boat with a two-horsepower motor in Hurricane Horrendous!

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Table of Contents

  1. Talking about the weather in Germany
  2. Words for the first day of spring
  3. Do You Know the Essential Summer Vocabulary?
  4. Must-Know Autumn vocabulary
  5. Winter
  6. GermanPod101 can prepare you for any season.


1. Talking about the weather in Germany

Talking About Weather

If you’re like me, your day’s activity plan is likely to begin with a strong local coffee and a chat about what the sky is doing. After all, being prepared could be the difference between an amazing day and a miserable one! Luckily, it’s not difficult to comment on German weather - just start with these simple words and phrases.

1- The rain is falling on the street - Der Regen fällt auf die Straße.

Watercolor artists, take out your paints! You might not be able to venture out on foot today, but just embrace the rain as part of your German experience. When the rain stops, the air will be clean and colours vibrant.

2- The snow has covered everything - Der Schnee hat alles bedeckt.

A fresh blanket of snow is irresistibly beautiful. Pull on your boots and beanie, and leave your tracks in this foreign landscape. Don’t resist the urge to build a snowman – you need this!

3- Fluffy cloud - flauschige Wolke

When you’re waiting for a warm beach day, fluffy white clouds in a blue sky are a good sign. Don’t forget your sunscreen, as clouds will intensify the UV rays hitting your skin.

Fluffy White Cloud in Clear Blue Sky

4- The water froze on the glass - Das Wasser gefror auf dem Glas.

Night temperatures can get chilly and might freeze the condensation on your windows. A good way to clear them up is with warm salt water.

5- The heavy rain could cause flash flooding - Dieser starke Regen könnte eine heftige Überschwemmung verursachen.

If you’re visiting Germany in the wet season, it’s important to stay informed when heavy rain sets in, so keep an eye on the weather radar. Avoid river activities and rather spend this time making a home-cooked meal and brushing up on your German weather words.

Heavy Rain in a Park

6- Flood - Überschwemmung

If you do get caught in a flood, your destination should no longer be ‘home’, but the nearest high ground.

7- The typhoon has hit - Draußen ist es windig.

Not all countries experience typhoons, but you need to know when to prepare for one! It will be very scary if you’ve never experienced one before. Your local neighbours are the best people to advise you on where to take shelter, as they’ve been doing it for generations. Be sure to get the low-down at the first sign of rough weather!

8- Check the weather report before going sailing - Prüfe den Wetterbericht, bevor du segeln gehst.

When planning an outdoor activity, especially on a body of water, always be prepared for a change in the weather. Ask your hotel receptionist or neighbour where you can get a reliable daily weather report, and don’t forget your sweater!

Two Men on Sailboat

9- Today’s weather is sunny with occasional clouds - Das heutige Wetter ist sonnig mit gelegentlichen Wolken.

Sunny weather is the dream when traveling in Germany! Wake up early, pack the hats and sunblock and go and experience the terrain, sights and beautiful spots. You’ll be rewarded with happy vibes all around.

10- A rainy day - ein regnerischer Tag

Remember when you said you’d save the German podcasts for a rainy day? Now’s that day!

11- Scenic rainbow - malerischer Regenbogen

The best part about the rain is that you can look forward to your first rainbow in Germany. There’s magic in that!

12- Flashes of lightning can be beautiful, but are very dangerous - Das Aufleuchten von Blitzen kann schön sein, ist aber sehr gefährlich.

Lightning is one of the most fascinating weather phenomena you can witness without really being in danger – at least if you’re sensible and stay indoors! Did you know that lightning strikes the earth 40-50 times per second? Fortunately, not all countries experience heavy electric storms!

Electric Storm

13- 25 degrees Celsius - fünfundzwanzig (25) Grad Celsius

Asking a local what the outside temperature will be is another useful question for planning your day. It’s easy if you know the German term for ‘degrees Celsius’.

14- His body temperature was far above the usual 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit - Seine Körpertemperatur war weit über den normalen 98,6 Grad Fahrenheit.

Although the Fahrenheit system has been replaced by Celsius in almost all countries, it’s still used in the US and a few other places. Learn this phrase in German in case one of your companions develops a raging fever.

15- Today the sky is clear - Heute ist der Himmel heiter.

Clear skies mean you’ll probably want to get the camera out and capture some nature shots - not to mention the great sunsets you’ll have later on. Twilight can lend an especially magical quality to a landscape on a clear sky day, when the light is not filtered through clouds.

Hikers on Mountain with Clear Sky

16- Light drizzle - leichter Nieselregen

Days when it’s drizzling are perfect for taking in the cultural offerings of Germany. You could go to the mall and watch a German film, visit museums and art galleries, explore indoor markets or even find the nearest climbing wall. Bring an umbrella!

17- Temperature on a thermometer - Temperatur auf einem Thermometer

Because of the coronavirus, many airports are conducting temperature screening on passengers. Don’t worry though - it’s just a precaution. Your temperature might be taken with a no-touch thermometer, which measures infrared energy coming off the body.

18- Humid - feucht

I love humid days, but then I’m also a water baby and I think the two go
together like summer and rain. Find a pool or a stream to cool off in – preferably in the shade!

Humidity in Tropical Forest

19- With low humidity the air feels dry - Bei geringer Feuchtigkeit fühlt sich die Luft trocken an.

These are the best days to go walking the hills and vales. Just take at least one German friend with you so you don’t get lost!

20- The wind is really strong - Der Wind ist sehr stark.

A strong wind blows away the air pollution and is very healthy in that respect. Just avoid the mountain trails today, unless you fancy being blown across the continent like a hot air balloon.

21- Windy - windig

Wind! My least favourite weather condition. Of course, if you’re a kitesurfer, a windy day is what you’ve been waiting for!

Leaves and Umbrella in the Wind

22- Wet roads can ice over when the temperature falls below freezing - Nasse Straßen können vereisen, wenn die Temperatur unter den Gefrierpunkt fällt.

The roads will be dangerous in these conditions, so please don’t take chances. The ice will thaw as soon as the sun comes out, so be patient!

23- Today is very muggy - Heute ist es sehr schwül.

Muggy days make your skin feel sticky and sap your energy. They’re particular to high humidity. Cold shower, anyone? Ice vest? Whatever it takes to feel relief from the humidity!

24- Fog - Nebel

Not a great time to be driving, especially in unknown territory, but keep your fog lights on and drive slowly.

Fog on a Pond with Ducks

25- Hurricane - Wirbelsturm

Your new German friends will know the signs, so grab some food and candles and prepare for a night of staying warm and chatting about wild weather in Germany.

Palm Trees in a Hurricane

26- Killer tornado - Todestornado

If you hear these words, it will probably be obvious already that everyone is preparing for the worst! Definitely do whatever your accommodation hosts tell you to do when a tornado is expected.

27- It’s cloudy today - Es ist bewölkt heute.

While there won’t be any stargazing tonight, the magnificent clouds over Germany will make impressive photographs. Caption them in German to impress your friends back home!

Cloudy Weather on Beach with Beach Huts

28- Below freezing temperatures - Temperaturen unter dem Gefrierpunkt

When the temperature is below freezing, why not take an Uber and go shopping for some gorgeous German winter gear?

Woman with Winter Gear in Freezing Weather

29- Wind chill is how cold it really feels outside - Windkühle beschreibt wie kalt es sich draußen wirklich anfühlt.

Wind doesn’t change the ambient temperature of the air, it just changes your body temperature, so the air will feel colder to you than it actually is. Not all your German friends will know that, though, so learn this German phrase to sound really smart!

30- Water will freeze when the temperature falls below zero degrees celsius - Wasser wird gefrieren, wenn die Temperatur unter null Grad Celsius fällt.

If you’re near a lake, frozen water is good news! Forgot your ice skates? Don’t despair - find out where you can hire some. Be cautious, though: the ice needs to be at least four inches thick for safe skating. Personally, I just slide around on frozen lakes in my boots!

Thermometer Below Freezing Point

31- Waiting to clear up - dass es aufheitert

Waiting for the weather to clear up so you can go exploring is frustrating, let’s be honest. That’s why you should always travel with two things: a scintillating novel and your German Nook Book.

32- Avoid the extreme heat - der extremen Hitze ausweichen

Is the heat trying to kill you? Unless you’re a hardened heatwave hero, definitely avoid activity, stay hydrated and drink electrolytes. Loose cotton or linen garb is the way to go!

Hand Holding a Melting Ice Cream

33- Morning frost - Morgenfrost

Frost is water vapour that has turned to ice crystals and it happens when the earth cools so much in the night, that it gets colder than the air above it. Winter is coming!

34- Rain shower - Regenschauer

Rain showers are typically brief downpours that drench the earth with a good drink of water.

35- In the evening it will become cloudy and cold - Abends wird es bewölkt und kalt werden.

When I hear this on the German weather channel, I buy a bottle of wine (red, of course) and wood for the fireplace. A cold and cloudy evening needs its comforts!

Snow in the Park at Night

36- Severe thunderstorm - starkes Gewitter

Keep an eye on the German weather maps if it looks like a big storm is coming, so you’ll be well-informed.

37- Ice has formed on the window - Eis hat sich auf der Fensterscheibe gebildet.

You could try this phrase out on the hotel’s helpful cleaning staff, or fix the problem yourself. Just add a scoop or two of salt to a spray bottle of water - that should work!

38- Large hailstones - große Hagelkörner

As a kid, I found hail crazy exciting. Not so much now - especially if I’m on the road and large hailstones start pummeling my windscreen!

Large Hailstones on a Wooden Floor

39- Rolling thunder - grollender Donner

The rumble of rolling thunder is that low-volume, ominous background sound that goes on for some time. It’s strangely exciting if you’re safely in your hotel room; it could either suddenly clear up, or escalate to a storm.

40- Sleet - Schneeregen

Sleet is tiny hard pieces of ice made from a mixture of rain and melted snow that froze. It can be messy, but doesn’t cause major damage the way hail does. Pretty cool to know this word in German!


2. Words for the first day of spring

You know the feeling: your heart skips a beat when you wake up and spring has sprung! Spring will reward you with new blossoms everywhere, birdsong in the air, kittens being born in the neighborhood and lovely views when you hit the trails. Pack a picnic and ask a new German friend to show you the more natural sights. Don’t forget a light sweater and a big smile. This is the perfect time to practice some German spring words!

Spring Vocabulary


3. Do You Know the Essential Summer Vocabulary?

Summer! Who doesn’t love that word? It conjures up images of blue skies, tan skin, vacations at the beach and cruising down the coast in an Alfa Romeo, sunglasses on and the breeze in your hair. Of course, in Germany there are many ways to enjoy the summer - it all depends on what you love to do. One thing’s for sure: you will have opportunities to make friends, go on picnics, sample delicious local ice-cream and maybe even learn to sing some German songs. It’s up to you! Sail into German summer with this summer vocab list, and you’ll blend in with ease.

Four Adults Playing on the Beach in the Sand


4. Must-Know Autumn vocabulary

Victoria Ericksen said, “If a year was tucked inside of a clock, then autumn would be the magic hour,” and I agree. Who can resist the beauty of fall foliage coloring the German landscape? Birds prepare to migrate; travelers prepare to arrive for the best weather in Germany.

The autumnal equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator, making day and night almost equal in length. The cool thing about this event is that the moon gets really bright – the ‘harvest moon’, as it’s traditionally known.

So, as much as the change of season brings more windy and rainy days, it also brings celebration. Whether you honor Thanksgiving, Halloween or the Moon Festival, take some time to color your vocabulary with these German autumn words.

Autumn Phrases


5. Winter

Winter is the time the natural world slows down to rest and regroup. I’m a summer girl, but there are fabulous things about winter that I really look forward to. For one, it’s the only season I get to accessorize with my gorgeous winter gloves and snug down coat!

Then, of course, there’s ice skating, holiday decorations and bonfires. As John Steinbeck said, “What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness?” Get ready for the cold season with our list of essential Winter words!

Skier Sitting in the Snow


6. GermanPod101 can prepare you for any season.

Now that you know how to inquire and comment on the weather in Germany, you
can confidently plan your weather-ready travel itinerary. How about this for an idea: the next
time you’re sitting in a German street café, try asking someone local this question:

“Do you think the weather will stay like this for a few days?” If you loved learning these cool German weather phrases with us, why not take it a step further and add to your repertoire? GermanPod101 is here to help!

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100 of the Best German Adjectives for Any Place & Time

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Ever felt a little lost for words when speaking German?

Chances are, you were missing an adjective. You can’t get very far when describing something if you’re limited to only a handful of adjectives, at most.

“He’s a tall, muscular, bald guy…okay, I can say he’s tall…how about ‘bald?’”

That sentence can’t even get off the ground.

But here, with the information in this article, you’ll be able to learn German adjectives and confidently describe pretty much anything you need to, without breaking a sweat. Because 100 German adjectives is a lot!

In our German adjectives lesson, before our list, you’ll find the following information on how to use German adjectives:

  • German adjectives rules
  • German adjectives word order
  • German adjective endings and how to conjugate them
  • Tips on how to learn German adjectives

Let’s have a look.

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Table of Contents

  1. A Quick Overview of German Adjectives
  2. Top 100 German Adjectives List
  3. Add a Few Words and Make Your Meaning More Exact
  4. How to Go Beyond German Adjectives Vocab to Total Mastery


1. A Quick Overview of German Adjectives

Improve Pronunciation

It’s entirely possible that German adjectives are some of the most complex things in the German language. There’s no getting around the fact that there’s a lot to master.

So how do German adjectives work?

Very briefly, when used in front of a noun, adjectives in German decline, that is, their endings change in order to give extra information about the grammatical function of that noun.

  • Ich sehe einen alten Mann.
    I see an old man.

Here, the adjective alt, meaning “old,” takes the ending -en to show that the noun, Mann, is the direct object of the sentence. English doesn’t make this kind of distinction, so it’s a little tricky to get your mind thinking in that way at first.

Fortunately, such changes don’t happen at all when the adjective comes after the noun.

  • Meine Mutter ist alt.
    My mother is old.

Same word, no ending. No problem!

In this article, we’ll list out the most important German adjectives you need to know, giving you the root form at first and then declined forms in the sentence. If you haven’t already, check out our information on German cases, and then you can exercise your grammar knowledge by figuring out what case the adjective is in!

One other note before our German adjectives list: German doesn’t distinguish between adjectives and adverbs. So it’s possible to use quite a few of these as adverbs instead; in fact, that’s what we did in a few examples, where the adverb meaning is more easily understandable to you.


2. Top 100 German Adjectives List

Most Common Adjectives

1- German Colors Adjectives: Describing Colors

Colors help us distinguish objects from one another, and color words help us communicate with others exactly which one we’re talking about.

1. weiß – white

Ich habe ein weißes Kissen.
I have a white pillow.

2. schwarz – black

Ist dein Auto schwarz?
Is your car black?

3. blau – blue

Sie trägt blaue Jeans.
She’s wearing blue jeans.

4. rot – red

Wo sind meine roten Socken?
Where are my red socks?

5. gelb – yellow

Hast du meine gelben Stiefel gesehen?
Have you seen my yellow boots?

6. grün – green

Er hat mir eine grüne Krawatte gegeben.
He gave me a green tie.

7. braun – brown

Magst du braune Schuhe?
Do you like brown shoes?

8. rosa – pink

Ihre Haare sind rosa.
Her hair is pink.

9. orange – orange (Note that in German, this word is pronounced in the French way, with a nasal A and a ZH sound)

Was für ein schönes oranges Kleid!
What a beautiful orange dress!

10. grau – gray

Der Himmel ist heute grau.
The sky is gray today.

2- German Adjectives for Food: Describing Taste

Roast Goose Meal

You’re not limited to just German food when you speak German. Use these words to order what you’d like or insult what you don’t—the choice is yours!

11. scharf – spicy

Indisches Essen ist oft scharf.
Indian food is often spicy.

12. würzig – spicy, with a lot of spices

Das ist zu würzig für mich.
That’s too spicy for me.

13. süß – sweet

Schoko-Eis ist süß.
Chocolate ice cream is sweet.

14. lecker – tasty

Das ist richtig lecker!
That’s really tasty!

15. frisch – fresh

Gibt es hier frische Milch?
Is there fresh milk here?

16. gebraten – fried

Gebratene Eier sind gesund.
Fried eggs are healthy.

17. stinkend – stinky

Magst du stinkenden Tofu?
Do you like stinky tofu?

18. salzig – salty

Das Abendessen war ein bisschen zu salzig.
Dinner was a little too salty.

19. bitter – bitter

Warum ist die Suppe bitter?
Why is the soup bitter?

20. sauer – sour

Die Milch ist schon sauer.
The milk is sour already.

21. roh – raw

Bitte geben Sie mir nichts rohes.
Please don’t give me anything raw.

3- German Adjectives for Personality

Man Holding Completed Rubik’s Cube

People you meet on the street come in all kinds. Everybody has a unique personality, and it’s high time that you started talking about them in German.

22. offen – open-hearted; personable

Er ist definitiv ein offener Mensch.
He’s definitely an open person.

23. tolerant – tolerant (the stress in German is on the last syllable)

Sind die Leute hier tolerant?
Are the people tolerant here?

24. hilfsbereit – helpful; ready to help

Ja, sie sind immer hilfsbereit.
Yes, they’re always ready to help.

25. geduldig – patient

Mein Vater ist nicht geduldig.
My father is not patient.

26. klug – clever

Die Studenten sind sehr klug.
The students are very clever.

27. böse – evil

Die böse Hexe lebt im Wald.
The evil witch lives in the forest.

28. egoistisch – selfish; egoistic

Sei nicht so egoistisch.
Don’t be so selfish.

29. faul – lazy

Warum musst du immer faul sein?
Why do you have to be so lazy all the time?

30. brav – well-behaved (used for children)

Braves Kind!
Wonderful child!

31. gefährlich – dangerous

Es ist zu gefährlich!
It’s too dangerous!

4- German Adjectives: Feelings & Emotions

A lot of Germans think that just saying “I’m fine” when they ask how you’re doing is a little bit superficial, or even rude. Here’s how you can learn to be more specific and more honest.

32. genervt – annoyed

Warum bist du genervt?
Why are you annoyed?

33. froh – happy

Ich bin immer froh zuhause.
I’m always happy at home.

34. müde – tired

Meine Mutter ist abends immer müde.
My mom is always tired in the evenings.

35. hungrig – hungry

Ich bin hungrig, aber ich will hier nichts essen.
I’m hungry, but I don’t want to eat anything here.

36. traurig – sad

Was für ein trauriger Film!
What a sad movie!

37. gespannt – excited

Seid ihr alle gespannt?
Are you all excited?

38. übel – nauseated; queasy

Mir ist auf einmal übel.
I’m queasy all of a sudden.

39. bequem – comfortable

Dieser Rock ist nicht bequem.
This skirt is not comfortable.

40. wütend – angry; furious

Bitte sei nicht so wütend auf ihn.
Please don’t be so angry with him.

5- German Adjectives for Describing Nationality

Flags of Many Countries

Take care in this section. In German, adjectives describing countries are never capitalized, as they are in English. This is one of the biggest giveaways that you might be a non-native German writer!

41. deutsch – German

Deutsches Essen ist nicht sehr bekannt.
German food is not very well-known.

42. französisch – French

Ist er französisch oder kanadisch?
Is he French or Canadian?

43. dänisch – Danish

Die dänische Küste ist kalt.
The Danish coast is cold.

44. ungarisch – Hungarian

Willst du einen ungarischen Film sehen?
Do you want to watch a Hungarian film?

45. chinesisch – Chinese

Chinesische Bücher sind sehr lang.
Chinese books are very long.

46. südafrikanisch – South African

Er spielt für die südafrikanische Mannschaft.
He plays for the South African team.

47. mexikanisch – Mexican

Es gibt nicht so viele mexikanische Restaurants in Europa.
There aren’t many Mexican restaurants in Europe.

48. kanadisch – Canadian

Haben Sie kanadischen Speck?
Do you have Canadian bacon?

6- German Adjectives for Describing Time

Some days pass pretty fast, and others pass pretty slow. These words can be used as adverbs and adjectives without any difference.

49. schnell – fast

Die Züge in Japan sind schnell.
The trains in Japan are fast.

50. langsam – slow

Die Nachrichten sind heute langsam.
The news is slow today.

51. früh – early

Ich muss heute früh schlafen.
I need to sleep early tonight.

52. spät – late

Seien Sie Morgen nicht spät.
Don’t be late tomorrow.

53. pünktlich – punctual; on time

Sie ist immer pünktlich.
She’s always on time.

7- German Adjectives for Describing Appearance (People)

Never be rude when describing others—just be discreet. Hopefully, you can use these words to more accurately describe yourself as well!

54. glatzköpfig – bald

Der Mann war glatzköpfig.
The man was bald.

55. dick – fat

Sie sind ein bisschen dick geworden.
They got a little fatter.

56. dünn – thin

Wieso ist er so dünn?
How is he so thin?

57. reich – rich

Ich möchte nächstes Jahr reich sein.
I want to be rich next year.

58. arm – poor

Warum gibt es immer noch arme Leute?
Why are there still poor people?

59. groß – tall

Sie ist ziemlich groß für ein Mädchen.
She’s pretty tall for a girl.

60. alt – old

Wie alt bist du?
How old are you?

61. jung – young

Der junger Mann hat mir geholfen.
The young man helped me.

62. schön – beautiful

Du bist sehr schön heute!
You’re very beautiful today!

8- German Adjectives for Describing Appearance (Things)

Reading

Going shopping in Berlin, comparing your stuff with your friend’s, or just trying to find that one thing you misplaced? These are the essential German adjectives you can’t live without.

63. teuer – expensive

Warum sind sie so teuer?
Why are they so expensive?

64. billig – cheap

Trägst du billige Kleidung?
Do you wear cheap clothes?

65. breit – wide; broad

Die Straße ist nicht breit.
The road is not wide.

66. lang – long

Der Brief ist lang and traurig.
The letter is long and sad.

67. schwer – heavy

Das ist zu schwer, und ich kann es nicht ziehen.
That’s too heavy, and I can’t pull it.

68. leicht – light

Haben Sie einen leichten Karton?
Do you have a light cardboard box?

69. dick – thick

Das Buch ist dick und schwer.
The book is thick and heavy.

70. eng – narrow

Es gibt wahrscheinlich Spinnen in diesem engen Flur.
There are probably spiders in this narrow corridor.

71. hier – here

Bist du schon hier?
Are you here yet?

72. da – there

Siehst du das Gebäude da?
Do you see that building there?

73. dort – there (far away)

Sie wohnt in den Bergen dort.
She lives in yonder mountains.

74. hell – bright

Das Zimmer ist hell und bequem.
The room is bright and comfortable.

75. dunkel – dark

Warum ist es so dunkel hier?
Why is it so dark here?

9- German Weather Adjectives: Describing Weather

Snow in Germany

Here are some of the most useful adjectives for talking about weather—always a good icebreaker. We actually have a whole separate resource on weather words, so pop over and check that one out too!

76. windig – windy

Heute ist ein windiger Tag.
Today is a windy day.

77. heiß – hot

Das Wetter heute ist heiß.
The weather today is hot.

78. kalt – cold

Es kann sehr kalt sein in Kanada.
It can be very cold in Canada.

79. sonnig – sunny

Gestern war es schön und sonnig.
Yesterday, it was beautiful and sunny.

80. bewölkt – cloudy

Der Himmel ist immer noch bewölkt.
The sky is still cloudy.

81. neblig – foggy

Es ist immer neblig auf dem Gipfel.
It’s always foggy on the mountain.

82. warm – warm

Heute ist nicht so warm als gestern.
Today is not as warm as yesterday.

10- German Adjectives for Describing Touch

Touch is slightly different than appearance. As we all know, appearances can be deceiving!

83. hart – solid; fixed

Das Glas ist sehr hart.
The glass is very hard.

84. weich – soft; smooth

Das Bett ist weich.
The bed is soft.

85. rutschig – slippery

Pass auf, der Boden ist rutschig.
Be careful, the floor is slippery.

86. brüchig – brittle; fragile

Es ist 2019 und Handys sind immer noch brüchig.
It’s 2019 and phones are still fragile.

87. gefroren – frozen

Ich bin fast gefroren hier draußen.
I’m almost frozen out here.

88. geschmolzen – melted

Ich mag kein geschmolzenes Eis.
I don’t like melted ice cream.

11- German Adjectives for Describing Concepts

Success and Failure Written on a Chalkboard

Ever tried to explain something to somebody else and they just balk at your attempt? It’s much easier if you can reassure them that it’s easy, or better yet, that it’s related to something they’re already familiar with.

89. wichtig – important

Vergiss nicht, das hier ist sehr wichtig.
Don’t forget, this is very important.

90. populär – popular

Die Zeitschrift ist nicht so populär.
The magazine is not very popular.

91. leicht – easy

Das ist leicht zu verstehen.
This is easy to understand.

92. schwer – difficult

Es ist schwer für mich, Deutsch zu sprechen.
It’s difficult for me to speak German.

93. kompliziert – complicated

Ist Esperanto eine komplizierte Sprache?
Is Esperanto a complicated language?

94. richtig – correct

Was du sagst ist richtig.
What you say is correct.

95. falsch – false

Das war eine falsche Antwort.
That was a wrong (false) answer.

96. praktisch – practical; convenient

Kinokarten übers Handy kaufen zu können ist praktisch.
Buying tickets for the movies using the phone is convenient.

97. identisch – identical

Du hast zwei identische Alternativen.
You have two identical options.

98. unterschiedlich – different

Sind sie überhaupt unterschiedlich?
Are they different at all?

99. genau – exact

Das ist genau was ich sagen wollte.
That’s exactly what I wanted to say.

100. ungefähr – about; roughly

Es gibt ungefähr zweihundert Tiere im Zoo.
There are about two hundred animals in the zoo.


3. Add a Few Words and Make Your Meaning More Exact

As you’ve probably noticed, we didn’t just stick with the bare adjectives. In German, just like English, you can add intensifiers to your adjective to alter the meaning.

One of the most common intensifiers is sehr, or “very.” Wirklich, ganz, and echt fill the same role, though echt is rather informal. All of these simply make any given adjective stronger.

On the other end of the spectrum, you’ll commonly see nicht, meaning “not.” Slap a nicht in front of any adjective, and you’ve got a perfect remedy when you can only remember the opposite. Don’t know how to say “rich?” “Not poor” does the trick in a pinch! See why learning German adjectives and their opposites is a great idea?


4. How to Go Beyond German Adjectives Vocab to Total Mastery

How many different German adjectives can you still recall? Are these important German adjectives already fading from your memory? Go back and have another look, and then maybe again tomorrow. Even better—read the sentences aloud. You’ll find that a lot of these adjectives stick without any effort.

Understanding German adjectives does take time and effort, but rest assured that it will pay off in the long run!

And if you’d like to learn even more, have a look at the other German material we have on this very website: videos, flashcards, and of course our flagship podcast.

Before you go, let us know in the comments which of these German adjectives are your favorite. Are there any adjectives in German you still want to know? We look forward to hearing from you!

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Unlock Your German Potential with These Top Netflix Shows

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Do you want to speak good German?

You’ve got to live it.

As long as you stick to your self-study books and your classes, you’ll make consistent progress—at a snail’s pace. You need to really fuel your German learning with something else.

You need immersion. Basically, the more German you see and hear throughout the day, the more your mind is going to stay in German-acquisition mode and keep making new connections.

And when you’re constantly seeing new German around you, you have limitless opportunities to review what you covered during your actual study time.

One of the best ways to keep the German faucet flowing is by getting really sucked into a great movie or TV show. And since we’re writing this article in 2019, the biggest word in television is Netflix.

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Table of Contents

  1. Is Netflix in German Right for You?
  2. Ten Great Shows on German Netflix
  3. The Magic of Dubbing
  4. Taking Immersion to the Next Level with Audio Descriptions
  5. Conclusion


1. Is Netflix in German Right for You?

Best Ways to Learn

Before we start out with our list of German Netflix shows for language-learners, it’s good to take a quick reality check.

If you’re an absolute beginner in German, it may not make a ton of sense for you to spend lots of time watching German Netflix content. It’s absolutely something that you should do, and the sooner the better, but it’s not super motivating to sit through many hours of things you don’t understand.

Once you have a core vocabulary under your belt, along with the rudiments of German grammar, you’ll be good to go. You’ll notice words you know all the time, and that will make you want to keep watching for more.

And hey, if you can’t wait to get to the native content, all the more power to you. You’re not hurting yourself at all by either waiting or starting early. In fact, you’re doing the best thing for your language learning!

So, what German shows are on Netflix and which ones are worth your time as a language-learner?


2. Ten Great Shows on German Netflix

Genres

Yeah, in this article we’ll be talking German Netflix shows, not movies. Why’s that?

Well, when it comes to language-learning, shows are simply better than movies when it comes to really getting yourself immersed in the target language.

In a two-hour movie, there’s probably a solid thirty minutes of explosions, quiet reflection, or meaningful looks. And while those are certainly wonderful things to enjoy, they don’t have much German in them.

A show, on the other hand, will keep things moving along faster in its shorter runtime. That means more dialogue and more German for you to listen to. You’ll also get the benefit of hearing the same actors over multiple episodes, giving you more time to get used to somebody’s southern drawl or northern twang.

That said, here are our picks for the best German Netflix shows to learn German with!

1- Dark

When it comes to German Netflix, Dark has gotta be at the top of the list. Dark is so popular that it’s reaching audiences worldwide, even in markets like the USA where people strongly prefer to watch domestic TV. The second highly-awaited season arrived in summer 2019.

This was the very first Netflix original series produced in Germany, and by all accounts they knocked it out of the park. It’s about the mysteries that unfold in a small town when two children disappear without a trace. Aside from its excellent storytelling, it’s filmed with a minimalist and, well, dark aesthetic that sets it apart from lighter Netflix fare.

2- Tempel

Mark Tempel is an ex-fighter now working as a caregiver for the elderly. It’s hard to make ends meet, and he’s constantly on the verge of losing his home. If you were stuck in that situation, would you take the leap of faith to get back into the old game?

When organized crime starts calling, Mark has no choice. This six-episode German Netflix series was originally broadcast on Germany’s highly regarded ZDF television station, and a project to create an American version is already in the works. But why wait for the English version when you can improve your German right now?

3- Babylon Berlin

Weimar-era Germany is a relatively popular setting for some classic films, though in recent years there hasn’t been as much interest in that time period. But the German Netflix Babylon Berlin is a fabulous noir return to that unstable yet massively influential time in German history. We follow a police detective and a young typist new to the force as they investigate shadowy goings-on in 1929 Berlin.

For language learners, this is an excellent way to ease yourself into the German terms for some of the most important political events of the early twentieth century. That sort of history is what every German learns in school, but might not come as easily to you without an engaging story like this.

4- Türkisch für Anfänger

No, this isn’t a language program that I slipped into your recommendations. It’s an award-winning comedy-drama that remains well-loved in Germany and abroad, more than ten years after its final broadcast. It’s told from the perspective of a teenage girl whose mother suddenly falls for and marries a man of German descent, who himself has two children. As the families move in together, they must learn to live with people quite different from themselves.

It has all the elements you’d expect in this sort of sitcom: arguments, travel, mysterious new characters, and a lot of teen romance. Programs like this are perfectly ideal for getting used to the fast-paced talking style of young people, and over fifty-two episodes, you’ll get a ton of exposure to the way people describe everyday things. This is one of the best German Netflix series for those looking for a light, entertaining way to learn German with Netflix.

5- Mord mit Aussicht

In this satirical crime drama, we see a reversal of the fish-out-of-water scenario as investigator Sophie Haas from Cologne is sent to the middle-of-nowhere town of Hengasch, way out in the mountains. At first, it seems like her career aspirations are sunk—but there’s more lurking in the hills than she expected.

This is one of the most successful shows in German TV history, and over its 39-episode run, you too will be captivated by the wild cast of characters and the mostly idyllic setting. Since the setting is so small, language learners get to enjoy the repeated references to the same places and things, allowing for natural repetition of vocabulary without the slightest hint of boredom.

6- Dogs of Berlin

What can I say? Berlin is such a cultural locus for Germany that it’s impossible to avoid multiple Berlin-oriented shows here. After the murder of a superstar German-Turkish football player, two detectives discover that the list of suspects is as long as the streets of the city itself.

As the investigation goes further, the two cops learn that there may be much more at stake than just this case—failure to bring the killer to justice could set the city ablaze. As a German Netflix TV series police drama, this show will expose you to all the vocabulary and language usage that comes with official investigations, in addition to the slang and more…threatening phrases used by the underworld.

7- Skylines

Are you interested in the music business? Then Skylines is the right series for you. This Netflix original series tells the story of a fictional German hip hop record label called “Skylines Records” and its connections to the criminal underworld of Frankfurt am Main.

This series gives a good insight into the German hip hop culture, which is booming right now. The main character is based on a living artist Haftbefehl who’s Frankfurt anthem 069 is used as the title song of the series. The series is kept as authentic as possible, which is why all of the songs used in the series were written by real musicians. It’s also why there are many characters portrayed by people well known to the German rap audience.

Even though the series was cancelled by Netflix just after its first season, it was well received by critics and viewers.

8- Morgen hör ich auf

The parallels between this series and the American show Breaking Bad are tough to ignore. A family father turns to career-related crime in order to pay off debts and ends up way in over his head. And yet this series holds its own thanks to a much more upbeat style and premise.

In five episodes, we see how Jochen Lehmann goes from despairing at his account balance, to side-eyeing the industrial printers he works with, to successfully counterfeiting fifty-Euro notes, to attracting the attention of the criminal underworld…and dealing with what comes next, one step at a time. Although the level of violence might be higher than you expect in an easy German Netflix series that’s fundamentally comedic, it’s mostly slapstick stuff that’s played for laughs.

9- Ku’damm 56

The very beginning of the German economic wonder of the 1950s coincided with a massive explosion in popular culture and opportunities specifically aimed at teenagers. And so when three daughters are all at marriageable age and still living with their mother, there’s the potential for a massive conflict between generations. Why should they follow the rules of their parents when they can make a new path for themselves?

This miniseries is relatively unknown in the English-speaking world, but it became so popular that in 2018 it was renewed as Ku’damm 59 (though that one isn’t on Netflix yet). Its name is sort of an inside reference—the Kurfürstendamm is arguably the most famous avenue in Berlin, though because not many people know the local contraction of Ku’damm, it was marketed in the rest of Europe as “Berlin 56.”

10- Bad Banks

Rounding out the list, we have another German Netflix thriller that has kept viewers glued to their screens for six seasons. In particular, it’s been lauded for its realistic and suspenseful writing that avoids cliches and subverts the expectations of even hardcore thriller devotees.

When you think of banking and white-collar corporations, you probably don’t think there’s much excitement there. They’re strict and often limit possibilities for women in particular. But as a woman with ambitions, Jana has got to make hard choices and put everything at risk. If you were in a position to leak secrets about the country’s most powerful financiers, would you do it?


3. The Magic of Dubbing

Improve Pronunciation

Different countries around the world have different preferences for watching foreign media. Some prefer voice artists, some prefer subtitles, and some prefer a single voice reading out the script. Clearly, some of these are better for learners than others.

Lucky for you, Germany is actually famous for its love of dubbed films and series, and by extension, they’re famous for their dubbing quality as well.

So pretty much every single one of the German Netflix Originals, plus a ton of kids’ shows, have German audio tracks available. Even if they were originally just meant for the English-speaking market!

Now, one thing to consider here is that dubs tend to be spoken faster than the original audio. That makes plenty of sense when you think about it—just look at how long some of those German words get, and you’ll understand!

But on the other hand, dubs may actually be easier to understand for two reasons.

First, the audio tracks were obviously recorded in perfect studio conditions, so you won’t have to deal with actors facing away from the mic or weird background noise disrupting your listening.

Second, the fact that the script was originally written for another audience means that it sort of “internationalizes” in translation. Too-specific cultural references get smoothed over, and the storyline itself is likely to be easier to follow if it came from your native culture to begin with.

There’s one more thing, though, that can go way beyond dubbing for those who want to learn German on Netflix.


4. Taking Immersion to the Next Level with Audio Descriptions

Audio descriptions are the things you always see on the Netflix menu when you open up the audio and subtitles menu. Chances are, you’ve never felt the need to turn them on. But here’s why you should.

An audio description is a separate voice track that fills in the silence between dialogue lines by describing what’s going on in the scene. This is amazing if you’re vision-impaired.

And if you’re not, it’s still extremely useful for learning. Suddenly there are no moments of dead air. You’re always getting a perfectly natural German description of what’s going on in the scene.

This also exposes you to all the tiny, specific verbs and nouns that you might not otherwise get exposed to very much. “She zips up her jacket” is a really common thing to see on TV, but not something you hear people outright say too often.

By the way, the German audio description track is only available for certain things (more than 100 shows and movies at the time of writing), and only appears if your Netflix interface language is set to German. Don’t worry if you’re on a shared account—other profiles won’t be affected when you use Netflix auf Deutsch.


5. Conclusion

When you study German or any other foreign language, it’s a question of time.

The formal linguistics field is called language acquisition for a reason—it’s something that happens to you over time, not all at once. It’s never terribly necessary to spend an enormous amount of effort on one particular aspect.

This is especially true with German, which shares enough roots with English that you can relatively quickly reach a point where simply watching and listening to German is enough for you to acquire it pretty well.

Balance your German watching time with your German studying time, and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying these and other good German Netflix series without even noticing what language they’re in.

We hope you enjoyed our German Netflix series list and that you’re ready to start watching your favorite! You should also have a better idea of how to watch German Netflix to learn the language more effectively.

Before you go, let us know in the comments which of these top German Netflix shows you want to watch first, or if we missed any good ones. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Extensive Guide to German Conjunctions

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German conjunctions give sentences life and make the language come alive. In the German sentences using conjunctions below, you can see that all of the conjunctions are necessary for the sentence to give you a bigger picture of the situation.

  • Du bist wirklich sehr hübsch, aber ein bisschen zu klein.
    You’re really pretty but a bit too small.
  • Ich musste zu meiner Frau nach Hause, weil sie krank ist.
    I had to go home to my wife because she is sick.
  • Er hat nicht auf seine Eltern gehört, deshalb hat er Hausarrest.
    He didn’t listen to his parents and therefore he is on house arrest.

Throughout this article, you’ll see even more German conjunctions examples like the ones above.

If you’re wondering how to learn German conjunctions effectively and with as much ease as possible, you’re in the right place!

Conjunctions are essential not only in German, but in every language. Without them, we would sound pretty ridiculous. Our sentences would be short, and things like a higher level of education and speech wouldn’t be possible.

If learning and listening is your thing, then check out our free lesson about conjunctions.

Conjunctions allow you to make more complex constructions and more complicated statements. They help you to explain situations and thoughts, and create more difficult questions. Thus, in German, when to use conjunctions is an essential concept to grasp.

In this lesson, you’ll find the following:

  • Descriptions of different German conjunctions
  • Information on the German use of conjunctions
  • How to use German conjunctions
  • An explanation of German conjunctions rules
  • Useful German conjunctions lists

In case you’re just diving in, we recommend that you read a bit about German and Germany first. On our website, you can find free vocabulary lists, lessons for different levels, and a special private teacher service.

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Table of Contents

  1. Coordinating vs. Subordinating Conjunctions
  2. German Correlative Conjunctions
  3. Conjunctions to Express Condition
  4. Conjunctions to Express Cause
  5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition
  6. Conjunctions to Express Purpose
  7. More Conjunctions: German Conjunctions Tables
  8. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn German Conjunctions


1. Coordinating vs. Subordinating Conjunctions

Sentence Patterns

In German grammar, conjunctions come in two types: German coordinating conjunctions and German subordinating conjunctions. The first type coordinates two clauses that are equally important, while the second type subordinates one clause to another.

There’s a special grammar case that you need to remember when using them; German conjunctions and word order go hand-in-hand. In short, there are German conjunctions that don’t change word order, and German conjunctions that change word order.

When you use subordinating conjunctions, make the verb go to the end of the clause that is introduced by the conjunction. When using coordinating conjunctions, the verb stays in the same position. Usually, this is the second position after the subject in the sentence (usually, not always).

In the next sections, we’ll present you with both coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions. To know which one belongs to which type, we’ll mark them appropriately:

  • Coordinating conjunctions will be signed with a ‘C’
  • Subordinating conjunctions will be signed with an ‘S’

Before you set out to learn German conjunctions, check out our article about general German sentence order. It’s important to have these basics down before you can begin understanding German conjunctions!


2. German Correlative Conjunctions

A Flask of Glue and a Drop of Glue.

Und (C)

Meaning: And

Example:
Ich bin ein netter Mensch und du bist ebenso freundlich.
I’m a nice person, and you are friendly as well.

Usage: You’ll use und all the time. It’s one of the most common German conjunctions to express similar thoughts, and the most basic one. It’s also used to combine more than one adjective, verb, or noun.

Sowie (C/S)

Meaning: As well as / As soon as

Example:
Wir kaufen Äpfel, Birnen sowie Erdbeeren.
We buy apples, pears, as well as strawberries.

Usage: Sowie actually has two different meanings. On the one hand, it can mean “as well as,” and on the other hand “as soon as.” But it’s used more in the form of coordinating conjunction, as we explained here in the form of “as well as.”

Wie (S)

Meaning: How / As … as

Example:
Ich gehe genauso gerne essen wie ich zu Hause auch koche.
I like going out to eat the same as I like cooking at home.

Du siehst genauso gut aus wie dein Vater.
You look as well as your dad.

Usage: This is another one of the German language conjunctions that has two different forms. But in both cases, you’ll express something that’s similar. So you can compare people, things, and their attributes, with each other or activities.

Sowohl… als auch (S)

Meaning: As well as

Example:
Ich war der Besitzer sowohl von einem Auto als auch von einem Motorrad.
I was the owner of a car as well as of a motorbike.

Usage: With sowohl als auch, you can show that both facts apply. So both parts of German compound conjunctions must be true.


3. Conjunctions to Express Condition

A Person Holding a Bottle of Hair Conditioner.

Wenn (S)

Meaning: If / When

Example:
Wenn du heute zu mir kommst, können wir einen Film anschauen.
If you come to my place today, we can watch a movie.

Usage: You’ll use this conjunction a lot. It’s the most common conjunction to express a condition. Be aware that in English, you use “if.” But in German, there are some instances where you can’t use wenn to mean “if.” Instead, you have to use ob. Wenn is also used for “when,” but in a different connection.

Falls (S)

Meaning: In case / If

Example:
Falls die Sonne heute scheint, werden wir draußen essen.
If the sun shines today, we’ll eat outside.

Usage: Falls can be used in the same manner as Wenn and can be substituted by it.

Sofern (S)

Meaning: As long as

Example:
Wir werden dir weiterhelfen, sofern es möglich ist.
We will help you out as long as it’s possible.

Usage: Here, the second clause is always the condition for the first clause. The second clause must be fulfilled so that the first clause becomes true.


4. Conjunctions to Express Cause

Improve Listening

Darum (C)

Meaning: Therefore

Example:
Das Auto war in keinem guten Zustand, darum hat Franz es auch nicht gekauft.
The car wasn’t in good condition, therefore Franz didn’t buy it.

Usage: The second clause expresses the cause of why the first clause was achieved (or wasn’t achieved). In the second clause, you’ll always find the reason or the explanation for the first clause. You can use this German conjunction anytime you want to express a cause.

Weil (S)

Meaning: Because

Example:
Ich gehe heute nicht zu dem Konzert, weil ich keine Lust habe.
I won’t go to the concert today, because I don’t feel like it.

Usage: Weil is probably the most used conjunction to express a cause. German sentences with conjunctions like this one are the same as in the example above. If you’re not sure which conjunction to use in a special case, this one is always right.

Da (S)

Meaning: Because

Example:
Ich gehe heute nicht auf die Feier, da ich krank bin.
I will not go to the celebration, because I am sick.

Usage: As you can see, da and weil mean the same thing and they actually express the same thing. There’s basically no differences between them, except that da is more formal than weil. So, if you’re writing a formal letter, then you should use this conjunction.

Denn (C)

Meaning: Because

Example:
Er ging nicht zu Fuß zur Arbeit, denn es war sehr kalt.
He didn’t walk to his work, because it was really cold.

Usage: Okay, here we have another conjunction that converts to “because.” You may be confused by now. While this conjunction has basically the same meaning, there is one significant difference. A denn-clause can never be at the beginning of a sentence. While sentences with weil or da can have the same meaning whether they’re in the first or second clause, a sentence constructed with denn can’t be used as such.


5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition

A Lot of Arrows Going to One Side and a Different Painted One Going to the Opposite Side.

Aber (C)

Meaning: But

Example:
Ich bin sehr müde, aber ich mache trotzdem Sport.
I’m really tired, but I will do sports anyway.

Usage: This is certainly the most-used conjunction to express opposition.

Sondern (C)

Meaning: But / But rather

Example:
Ich fahre nicht gerne Fahrrad, sondern schwimme sehr gerne.
I don’t like riding a bike, but I like to swim.

Usage: This is used similarly to the word aber, but it indicates a higher level of education and makes your sentence stronger.

Doch (C)

Meaning: However

Example:
Ich wollte draußen spielen, doch ich musste vorher meine Hausaufgaben erledigen.
I wanted to play outside, however I had to do my homework first.

Usage: As an emphasis to doch, you can also use jedoch. Both are used equally as often as aber, but have a more formal character.

Obwohl (C)

Meaning: Although

Example:
Ich habe draußen gespielt, obwohl ich meine Hausaufgaben noch nicht erledigt hatte.
I have played outside, although I haven’t finished my homework yet.

Usage: The second clause always represents the complete opposite than what was mentioned in the first clause, and shows that something was not correct or hasn’t gone the way it was supposed to go.


6. Conjunctions to Express Purpose

Listening Part 2

Damit (S)

Meaning: So that

Example:
Ich gehe heute nicht zur Arbeit, damit wir unser Date haben können
I will not go to work today, so that we can have our date today.

Usage: This conjunction is used incorrectly by many Germans themselves, as we tend to use dass more often. This is used when you want to explain your purpose in the second clause.

Dass (S)

Meaning: That

Example:
Ich habe mir schon gedacht, dass du heute vorbei kommst.
I already thought that you would come over today.

Usage: Here we have what is probably the most-used conjunction in German ever. You’ll read and hear this word several times as it makes it easy to create sentences. Don’t get confused between das and dass. The one with only one s is the article and refers to a thing.

Um… zu (S)

Meaning: In order to

Example:
Um mit mir essen zu gehen, hat er einen Tag freigenommen.
In order to go out with me, he took a day off.

Usage: This conjunction is used similarly to dass, but has a much more formal character and looks a bit more difficult to use. It’s one of the more complex German conjunctions in terms of grammar and usage.


7. More Conjunctions: German Conjunctions Tables

The conjunctions we’ve shown you are just the first step into a complicated list of words.

A Baby Learning to Crawl.

We made two German conjunctions charts for you, that you can use as references. If these are still not enough for you, then we can recommend you a more official German resource.

1- German Coordinating Conjunctions Chart

und and
aber but
denn because
oder or
sondern but rather
beziehungsweise or (precisely)
doch however
jedoch however

2- German Subordinating Conjunctions Chart

bevor before
nachdem after
ehe before
Seit, seitdem since
während while; during
als when (past)
wenn when (present)
wann when (question)
bis until
obwohl although
als ob, als wenn, als as if
sooft as often as
sobald as soon as
solange as long as
da because
indem by
weil because
ob whether
falls in case
um…zu in order to
dass in order to
sodass so that
damit so that

After all we’ve gone over, you may be wondering how to understand German conjunctions—and we’re here to tell you that the first steps are practice and patience. You will get the hang of it!

Here, we’ve prepared for you a free resource to check your skills with conjunctions, if you feel like you need some German conjunctions practice!


8. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn German Conjunctions

We’ve come to the end of our article about German conjunctions and how you can use them to express:

  • Similar thoughts (und; sowie; wie…)
  • Condition (wenn; falls; sofern…)
  • Cause (darum; weil; da; denn…)
  • Opposition (aber; allerdings; doch; wohingegen…)
  • Purpose (damit; dass…)

You know by now that conjunctions in German are used in two different ways, right? If not, jump to the section above and familiarize yourself with it again.

Are conjunctions used in a similar manner in your mother tongue? Let us know in the comments.

If you want to boost your German skills much faster, we can recommend to you our private teacher program. Your personal teacher will focus on your needs and goals to get you the best results.

Of course, there’s more. We’ve prepared for you a free online course on GermanPod101.com. It’s suitable for learners of different levels:

Keep up the hard work, and you’ll be speaking German like a native before you know it. And GermanPod101 will help you on your journey there!

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Top German Etiquette and Manners

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What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about German people?

You’ve probably heard things like “German people are always on time,” and “They’re direct and have good manners.” Well, I would say this is almost always the case. But now the question is: What are these so-called good manners and what does German etiquette look like?

Almost every nation defines this a little bit different. Let’s just take some Asian countries, such as China, for example. While in most European countries, you can’t burp, smack, or slurp at the table, in most Asian cultures this is called good etiquette. This means that the food was tasty and that you’re satisfied. But when doing this at the table of a German family, this would be considered bad table etiquette; they might think your parents didn’t show you how to use a spoon at home.

But on the other hand, in Asia, you shouldn’t touch your nose at the table. Can you see anything bad about touching or scratching your nose at the table if you need to? At least in Germany, this wouldn’t be a problem.

What I want to show you is this: Other countries = Other morals and manners.

In this article, we want to show you the Do’s and Don’ts in Germany. Be aware that these German etiquette tips might apply to other German-speaking countries, such as Switzerland and Austria (but not necessarily, as their cultures differ from ours in Germany).

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Table of Contents

  1. Do’s and Don’ts for Dining
  2. German Social Etiquette in Public Places
  3. German Greeting Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings
  4. German Guest Etiquette: Manners When Visiting Another House
  5. German Travel Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts in Public Transports
  6. German Business Culture and Etiquette: How to Behave in Business
  7. How to be a Good Part of German Society
  8. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn More German


1. Do’s and Don’ts for Dining

As mentioned above, when it comes to etiquette at the table in general, it becomes really difficult to handle as every culture is different. Even within Europe, you’ll find differences. For example, while French people like to extend their dinners until very late, Germans just try to finish as fast as possible. I guess we just try to be more efficient. Here are some German etiquette dining do’s and don’ts.

A Romantic Dinner with a Woman and a Man Drinking Wine

1- Don’t: Eat with an open mouth or make unnatural noises.

Hygiene Words

While in other cultures, burping or smacking might be a signal that the food was good and enough, in Germany you try to eat as quietly as possible.

That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to talk; quite the reverse, you should talk as much as you can to boost your German. But don’t open your mouth while eating, and don’t make any slurping sounds when eating soup.

We prepared a free lesson about manners in Germany. Take a look before reading the rest of this guide to German etiquette to make the most of it!

Vocabulary List

  • Schmatzen — “to smack”
  • Bitte hör auf zu schmatzen. — “Please stop smacking.”
  • Mit vollem Mund spricht man nicht. — “You don’t speak with a full mouth.”

2- Do: Say Prost and make eye contact.

Beer and alcohol have a long German tradition. You’re probably familiar with the Oktoberfest. But even outside of this famous festival, beer is highly accepted in Germany. When you’re out with your family and friends, alcohol will be a subject. We like to enjoy a nice Weizen or a cold Lager with our meal.

There can be many reasons you’re with your family or friends in a restaurant. Usually, it’s one’s birthday, you’re joining your weekly Stammtisch, celebrating the graduation of a family member or you just went with your family for a Sonntagsessen. Whatever it is, you’re there probably for a reason, and you’ll want to cheer (or toast) for the occasion. Maybe the party organizer even makes a short speech if he’s not too shy.

At a certain time during dinner, usually before the food arrives at the table, you’ll raise your glasses to cheer the occasion you’ve gathered together for. Everybody will raise their glasses and say Prost. Then you’re supposed to answer with Prost, and you’ll try to clink glasses with everybody at the table.

Important when clinking your cup with someone: MAKE EYE CONTACT.

It may sound a bit stupid, but Germans say that if you don’t look each other in the eyes when clinking glasses, you’ll have seven years of bad luck in the bedroom.

3- Don’t start eating until everybody has their food.

I know from my own experience that some cultures in South America have the attitude that when you’re making a barbecue, or even when coming together with friends and family on the weekends, there are a lot of people around you and it’s quite normal to have lunch or dinner with ten or more people.

This sometimes makes it difficult to get everybody at the table at the same time, and everybody starts eating whenever he or she wants. But be assured that this isn’t the case in Germany. When you come together, you serve everybody first, and then you start eating.

4- Do: Say Guten Appetit.

There is one similarity between French and German culture: We enjoy telling our guests that they can enjoy their meal. And we don’t just say it for fun, we really mean it. We hope that the food we prepared is tasty and will satisfy everybody.

But this isn’t just to say that you’re supposed to enjoy the food. This is also a good indicator for you, as a foreigner, to start eating. Earlier, we mentioned that you shouldn’t start until everybody has their food. When the cook, or the person who prepared your meal, says Guten Appetit, this also means that we’re ready and everybody can start eating.

There’s even a phrase that we teach our children when they’re fairly small:
Pip pip pip - Guten Appetit - “Enjoy your meal!”


2. German Social Etiquette in Public Places

Thanks

When going out in public, you should at least maintain a certain level of politeness. But no worries. With common sense, you’ll survive this.

1- Don’t: Cross the street on the red traffic light.

In many countries the traffic lights are only for orientation and the people mostly ignore them. Not in Germany. Remember that we’re talking about a country which is known for the phrase:

  • Ordnung muss sein
    “There must be order”

Germans value their laws, so being in Germany you should do it as well. Crossing the street on a red light in Germany might draw the attention of other pedestrians and it might end with getting a ticket which will cost you around 5€. For ignoring the red light while being on the bicycle, the fine can grow even up to 60 - 180€ and you can even earn some Punkte in Flensburg, which might cause losing your drivers licence for a few month.

Watch out especially when children are around. Germans are very sensitive when it comes to their children. Be a good role model and show them how to behave properly in the road traffic.

2- Don’t: Squeeze in lines facing people.

You know that feeling when you’re arriving a bit late to a movie in the cinema, or you come to the theatre and your seat is right in the middle of a row?

Well, the first hint we can give you is this: If there are other free and empty seats, it might be better to just choose one of those seats, though it’s also fine to make your way to your booked place.

Just remember to be friendly at all times. While passing other visitors, you can say:

  • Entschuldigung
    “Excuse me.”

But always remember to pass the people in the same row face to face. If you don’t do so, you might offend them. They probably won’t say something to you, but why offend someone when you can avoid it?


3. German Greeting Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts for Greetings

Bad Phrases

German etiquette and customs for greetings can be really different from what you may be used to. You may ask yourself questions, such as:

“Should I greet everybody?” “Should I give a hug or a kiss on the cheek?” “Should I shake their hand, or maybe just say hello?”

To give you more insight on the topic of German cultural etiquette for greeting people, we’ve published a video about greetings on our site.

1- Do: Say “Hello” to everybody.

When entering a party or a family meeting, you’ll usually be introduced by the owner or the host to everyone who’s already there. But if this isn’t the case, you should introduce yourself to everybody. You don’t need to tell your life story, but a nice Hallo, ich bin [add your name] is perfect. Make sure to shake their hand.

This also applies when entering a restaurant, shop, or most other places.You don’t need to greet everybody, but for example, when entering a small shop, at least say a friendly Hallo or Guten Tag, and Tschüss or Auf Wiedersehen when leaving again. If you’re more extroverted even a short small talk is fine. That’s more than enough. This especially applies when you’re entering a waiting room at the doctor’s office.

2- Don’t make the polnischer Abgang.

British people call it the “French leave”, French people call it the “filer à l’anglaise” or “to leave English style” and Germans use their eastern neighbours to name this specific style of leaving.

Polnischer Abgang means literally “Polish leave”, and it describes when you’re sneaking away from a party or some other place without saying goodbye to someone (or even everybody). This is considered rude, and you should avoid doing so. Don’t be shy, and let at least the owner know that you’re leaving.

3- Do: Use the correct form of the day.

According to proper German etiquette, there are different ways to greet people depending on the time of the day. We won’t give you an extensive guide for this, but be sure to remember this:

  • Guten Morgen — “Good morning” (used until noon)
  • Guten Tag — “Good day” (used until it’s dark)
  • Guten Abend — “Good evening” (used when it’s dark or you’re out for dinner)
  • Hallo — “Hello” (almost always used in an informal situation)
  • Tschüss — “Bye” (almost always used in an informal situation)
  • Auf Wiedersehen — “Goodbye”

For some better insight, we have a lesson in our free course about greetings.


4. German Guest Etiquette: Manners When Visiting Another House

If your lucky, on your trip to Germany, a stranger or a friend may invite you to his home. It might be for a party or just to hang out. But in either case, there are some unwritten German etiquette rules that you should follow.

1- Do: Use the formal Sie first.

In English, addressing a person is fairly easy as you just have one word for formal and informal situations: “You.”

In German, there are some differences that you should know, and even some rules. We’ll give you a quick overview.

  • The formal way to talk to someone is by using Sie.
  • The informal way is to use Du.
  • The actions are called siezen and duzen.

When to use which form can be confusing, so here are some general rules:

  1. Rule: If you’re not sure which one to use, be formal.
  2. Rule: When the person is older than you, use formal.
  3. Rule: At work, use the formal way, until the other person offers you the informal way.
  4. Rule: If you know the other person will use the informal way, also be informal.
  5. Rule: Offer du if you’re older.

If you want to extend your knowledge about formalities and etiquette in Germany, take a look at our free course.

If you want to address someone in a formal manner:

  • Herr [last name] — “Mr. [last name]”
  • Frau [last name] — “Mrs. [last name]”

If you want to offer the du, say:

  • Du kannst ‘du’ sagen. — “You can say du.”
  • Ich glaube, wir können uns duzen. — “I think we can use the informal you.”

2- Do: Make a small gift.

This is an easy one. When you come to the home of a friend or family member, just bring something small. You don’t need to invest too much time into thinking about the gift. This can be something quick and small, such as:

  • Chocolate
  • A bottle of wine
  • Some beers

3- Don’t choose the wrong topics.

Showing Two War Machines

Have you heard that there are some parts of German history that aren’t as bright as those of other nations? I’m talking about the Second World War.

Actually this is a very important topic to talk about, especially since Germany has shifted to the right in the past few years, giving opportunities for politicians who are denying German war crimes to grow in popularity. So if you’re interested in the topic, ask people about the war and discuss with them, but be aware of some things:

  • This is still a very sensitive topic for some people. Don’t be too harsh, many people have emotional connections to this time. Try to remember that there are still many people who fought in the war, lost their families due to the war and suffered from the consequences.
  • Don’t make stupid jokes about this time. Sure, they might be funny to you, but remember that there is a possibility that someone in the room lost their family members in the war.
  • Evaluate what people have told you. Germany has a growing problem with fake news and with people denying or marginalizing the crimes of the Nazi Germany. It’s always better to double-check the information.

Other than this, you should avoid the topics that generally make people uncomfortable and make things awkward, like politics, money, or religion, at least when talking to people you don’t know very well.

In general, be careful with potentially sensitive topics.


5. German Travel Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts in Public Transports

A Metro Passing by Really Fast

1- Don’t: Listen to loud music.

I know you might have a long ride on the subway from home to work, or the other way around. It’s also just fair that you listen to your music and enjoy the time that you’re there.

But it’s not necessary to share the music that you like with the rest of the train. They might like some other type of music. So just plug in your headphones and listen to the music without disturbing anyone.

Listening to your music loudly is even considered offensive to some people, and at some point someone will surely tell you to “Shut the f*** up.”

2- Do: Offer your seat.

When there are free seats and you have a long trip to your destination, feel free to sit down. But during the ride, people will enter and leave the train, and the closer you come to the center, the fuller the wagon gets.

Public transport is the easiest way in German cities to get around, so everybody uses it. Even pregnant women, older ladies and gentlemen, and disabled people.

Be polite and offer your seat to them. They’ll thank you, the people around you will see it, and it gives you a good feeling. We say in Germany:

  • Jeden Tag eine gute Tat.
    “Every day a good act.”

To offer your seat, you can say:

  • Möchten Sie sich vielleicht setzen, hier bitte.
    “Do you want to sit down here, please.”

Point to your seat while saying this.

3- Let other people leave the train first.

As in most other countries, the metro and buses are fairly full, and even more so during the rush hour. Everybody is stressed and just wants to get home to their loved ones.

Before entering the subway, make space in front of the doors so that other people can get out first. This ensures that they don’t need to squeeze past. If you’re standing in front of the door, I’m sure that someone will be impolite to you. And to be fair, with good reason.


6. German Business Culture and Etiquette: How to Behave in Business

Business

In this section, you’ll learn about some German professional etiquette rules. When it comes to German etiquette, business depends on knowing your way around it! Here are some German etiquette do’s and don’ts for doing business in Germany.

1- Do: Bring your own cake.

This mainly applies to business culture as opposed to private birthday parties. But when it’s your birthday and you’re working in an office, then colleagues expect you to bring something to the office to share with everybody.

From experience, this doesn’t have to be a cake; a small breakfast or something for lunch is good as well. The idea of giving something to them is more important than what you give.

2- Don’t: Be late.

Don’t be late, but neither be early. It can be quite difficult for some people to be exactly on time.

Trains, buses, or anything else regarding public transport, won’t wait for your arrival. They’ll leave without you. This can also be the case with friends. You agreed on a certain hour to meet, so you’re expected to be there at that time.

When it comes to punctuality, Germans don’t mess around. Of course, no one will kill you because you’re five minutes late. But it’s better to be five minutes early, than to be five minutes late.

If you’re too late, you can lose your hour at the doctor, miss meetings at work, and miss out on other important times and events.

3- Do: Shake hands, but don’t overdo it.

While in other countries, such as France or most parts of South America, a hug or a kiss on the cheek are common, even in daily business culture. In Germany, however, you shake hands with both genders.

In more relaxed situations, you can give hugs and people won’t refuse them. But in business, a handshake is more acceptable.

Don’t get too touchy. Once a person has accepted your handshake, that’s enough. You don’t need to touch their shoulders or grab their waist, or anywhere else. Give them their personal space.

Take a look at our website to learn some helpful business German.


7. How to be a Good Part of German Society

1- Do: Recycle your garbage.

A Girl in a Green Shirt with the Recycle Sign in Front of a tree

The “green” movement has already taken place in Germany, and we’re trying our best in everyday life to not stress the environment more than necessary.

For this, we have a recycling system. For glass, for example, we divide them into brown, green, and white glass; there will be extra recycling containers for each sort.

Also, you should separate your waste between plastic, paper, and natural garbage.

In addition to this, we have a recycling system for plastic bottles. That means that when buying a plastic bottle, you have to pay a certain amount extra. After you bring the bottle back to a machine in the supermarket, you’ll get back the extra amount you paid. This system is called Pfand. Believe it or not, foreigners love this.

2- Don’t: Open closed doors unasked.

Sometimes Germans just need time for themselves and don’t need to be out in public. For this, we have a common practice of keeping the door to our room shut when we don’t want anyone to come in.

At the same time, this means that if your door is open, a person can enter the room almost unasked.

This applies to almost every situation: at home when sharing your flat, or in the office.


8. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn More German

In summary, we’ve introduced you to important German etiquette regarding: public transport, greetings, visiting public places, being in friends’ homes, and the business culture in Germany. Apply our do’s and avoid the don’ts, and you’ll be more than fine visiting all parts of Germany.

Are there similar etiquette rules or cultural customs in your own country? Let us know in the comments!

If you’re interested in boosting your German skills faster, we recommend you our private teacher program. It focuses on your personal goals and your current German level, to help you improve at your own pace and toward your own goals.

We won’t just release you without making you even happier. So we’ve prepared some free-of-charge lessons on GermanPod101.com. There are classes for:

Make sure you get a spot today and boost your German to the sky. But don’t forget German etiquette on your way to the top.

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Days of the Week in German and More

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Have you ever heard about the German bureaucracy? Well, if you haven’t heard about it yet, we can tell you that Germany is a true king when it comes to bureaucracy. This includes filling out forms, and what else?

You will have to confirm a lot of deadlines!

This is one of the reasons you should learn the days of the week in German, and have a good grasp of the calendar dates in German. You’ll get instructions either from a German office authority or when you receive letters. But in every case, there will be some kind of instructions on a deadline that you need to fulfill. From sending information back to bringing documents to German officials, you’ll be given plenty of dates both verbally or in writing.

To make sure that you understand everything correctly and that you’re meeting all the deadlines, we’ll give you, here and now, a guide to master the dates in the German language. We’ll give you detailed information on everything from how to write dates in German to understanding dates in German letters.

There are some special cases, but no worries, we’ll go over everything in detail so that you’ll be a professional by the end of this article.

Because let’s not forget all of the other times when knowing the date in German is important:

  • Being on time for meetings
  • Birthdays
  • Special holidays
  • Just about everything else

Table of Contents

  1. Dates in German Format: Writing & Reading German Dates
  2. How to Say the Years
  3. How to Say the Months in German
  4. How to Say the Days
  5. How to Say the Days of the Week
  6. Time Units
  7. Questions and Answers about Dates
  8. German Cultural Insights and Special Days
  9. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Overcome Bureaucracy Problems in Germany

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1. Dates in German Format: Writing & Reading German Dates

Writing and reading the date can greatly vary from language to language. But even within a single language, we can see some slight differences in format. Let’s get right to it.

1- Writing Dates in German

So, how are dates written in German? There are two formats for writing the date in German:

  1. Long version:
    Der 1. Februar 2019 (the 1st of February, 2019)
  2. Short version:
    Der 01.08.2019 (01/08/2019)

The main difference when writing the date in German is that you use dots between day, month, and year instead of a slash. Also note that in German, we use the format day/month/year, which may confuse native U.S. English speakers. And you may have noticed already, but in German, we write the month in capital letters.

2- Reading Dates in German

Just like the written format, there’s some difference when it comes to reading a date in German. There are three different forms. We’ll use this date as an example of how to read dates in German:

01.10.2019

Der 01.10.2019      Am 01.10.2019      Der 1. Oktober 2019
Der erste zehnte zweitausendneunzehn      Am ersten zehnten zweitausendneunzehn      Der erste Oktober 2019
In this case, we’re using the nominative.      In this case, we’re using the dative.      In this case, we’re using the nominative, but with the written month instead.
Example:
Heute ist der 01.10.2019.
(Today is the 01/10/2019.)
     Example:
Wir sehen uns am 01.10.2019.
(We’ll see each other on the 01/10/2019.)
     Example:
Morgen ist der 1. Oktober 2019.
(Today is the first of October 2019.)

There are even some differences in reading the year, but we’ll come to this soon.


2. How to Say the Years

When expressing dates in German, knowing how to talk about the years is essential. The year formats in German and English are very similar, but like with everything, there’s one exception.

Basically, we differentiate between the years that have passed before the year 2000, and after.

  • If the year you want to talk about is after the year 2000, you have to read it like an actual number:

              2019 is read like zweitausendneunzehn.

  • If the year you want to talk about is before the year 2000, you have to read it like a year in English:

              1901 is read like neunzehnhunderteins.

  •           Translated, this would be read nineteen-hundred and one.

If you need help with pronouncing the words, we suggest you use the voice feature of GermanPod101’s dictionary.


3. How to Say the Months in German

Months

When you learn about saying dates in German, you can’t forget the months. Luckily for you, the months in German are pretty basic and are similar to the English months. All the months are masculine, so you don’t need to worry about which gender to use.

One small exception Germans use is for the month of July. Generally, we say Juli, but some people use Julei instead. This is because Juli and Juni sound really similar and can generate confusion.

A Calendar Where the Sheets Are Changing Fast.

German           English
Januar           January
Februar           February
März           March
April           April
Mai           May
Juni           June
Juli           July
August           August
September           September
Oktober           October
November           November
Dezember           December

We’ve prepared for you a special lesson about the months where you can also listen and work on your pronunciation.


4. How to Say the Days

In German, the days have some special rules when using ordinal numbers. Here’s an overview of how to build them. We also gave you some more examples, as these aren’t only the rules for the days, but also for everything else that comes in a series.

  • While the ordinal numbers in English usually end with “-th,” the German ones mostly end on -te or -ste.
  • The first three numbers are irregular; you just have to memorize them.
  • The numbers from four to nineteen are regular; they always end on -te.
  • The numbers above nineteen are also regular; they always end on -ste.

10 + 2 = 12

German           English
1. Der erste           The first
2. Der zweite           The second
3. Der dritte           The third
4. Der vierte           The fourth
5. Der fünfte           The fifth
10. Der zehnte           The tenth
11. Der Elfte           The eleventh
20. Der Zwanzigste           The twentieth
31. Der Einunddreißigste           The thirty-first

In our free online course, you can check out our free Numbers vocabulary list. This will help you with pronunciation and will provide you with more helpful insight.


5. How to Say the Days of the Week

Weekdays

If you already know the days of the week in English, the days in German shouldn’t be that much of a problem; most days sound fairly similar to their English equivalent. Apart from Wednesday, all days end with the German word for “day” (Tag), and to make it even easier for you, all German days are masculine.

In our overview, you can see the “days of the week” (die Tage der Woche).

German           English
Montag           Monday
Dienstag           Tuesday
Mittwoch           Wednesday
Donnerstag           Thursday
Freitag           Friday
Samstag
Sonnabend
          Saturday
Sonntag           Sunday

You’re asking why we have two terms for Saturday? Well, in most parts of Germany, you’ll use Samstag. But in Austria and the German part of Switzerland, as well as some select cities in Germany, they use Sonnabend (or “Sunday eve” in English). But don’t worry about that, because everybody will understand both terms, so just choose the one you feel more comfortable with.

In our special vocabulary list about the days of the week in German, you can learn everything about speaking and pronouncing the things you learned in this chapter.


6. Time Units

Numbers

Now that you have a better idea of how to say dates in German, you may find it useful to have some relative time unit vocabulary under your belt.

German           English
Die Sekunde           second
Die Minute           minute
Die Stunde           hour
Der Tag           day
Die Woche           week
Der Monat           month
Das Quartal           quarter
Das Halbjahr           semester
Das Semester           semester
Das Jahr           year
Das Jahrzehnt           decade
Das Jahrhundert           century
German           English
Die MorgendämmerungDas
Morgengrauen
Dämmerung
          Dawn / Daybreak
Der Morgen           Morning
Der Vormittag           Late morning
Der Mittag           Noon
Der Nachmittag           Afternoon
Der Abend           Evening
Die Nacht           Night


7. Questions and Answers about Dates

We want to prepare you as best as possible for talking about dates in German. This requires that you really understand expressing dates in German, both in writing and verbally.

So we want to help you with some typical questions that you may be asked during your time in Germany. And of course, we’ll give you the perfect answers for each one.

A Woman with a Question Mark Over Her Head and a Man with Letters Coming Out of Mouth.

Question Answer
Wann ist dein Geburtstag?
“When is your birthday?”
Mein Geburtstag ist am 03.10.1993.
“My birthday is on the 03/10/1993.”
Wann wollen wir uns treffen?
“When do we want to meet each other?”

Lass uns am ersten April treffen. Das ist in zwei Wochen.
“Let’s meet on the first of April. That is in two weeks.”
Welchen Tag haben wir heute?
“Which day do we have?”

*This is the same as asking “What is today?”

Wir haben heute den vierten März.
“Today, we have the 4th of March.”

*This is the same as saying “Today is the 4th of March.”

Wann ist Einstein gestorben?
“When did Einstein die?”
Einstein ist am 18. April 1955 gestorben.
“Einstein died on the 18th of April in 1955.”


8. German Cultural Insights and Special Days

This chapter will help you practice everything you learned in this lecture, while giving you some insight into German culture at the same time. There are a few days in the German calendar that you should keep in mind when living there.

Christi Himmelfahrt Ascension of Christ Christi Himmelfahrt ist immer an einem Donnerstag.
The Ascension of Christ is always on a Thursday.”
Pfingstmontag Whit Monday An einem Montag im Mai ist Pfingstmontag.
“Whit Monday is on a Monday in May.”
Tag der deutschen Einheit Day of German Unity Am dritten Oktober ist der Tag der deutschen Einheit.
“On the third of October is the Day of German Unity.”
Neujahr New Year Der erste Tag im Jahr, der 01.01.2019 ist Neujahr.
“The first day of the year, the 01/01/2019, is New Year.”
Weihnachtstag Christmas Day Der erste und der zweite Tag nach Heiligabend sind Feiertage.
“The first and the second day after Christmas Eve are holidays.”
Valentinstag Valentines Day Der vierzehnte Februar ist der Tag der Verliebten.
“The 14th of February is the day of people in love.”
Oktoberfest Oktoberfest Das Oktoberfest findet zwei Wochen im September und Oktober statt.
The Oktoberfest is celebrated for two weeks during September and October.”
Festivals Festivals Der Sommer ist die Jahreszeit für Festivals in Deutschland.
“The summer is the season for festivals in Germany.”
Fasching Carnival Fasching ist wie eine fünfte Jahreszeit für viele Deutsche. Er beginnt am 11.11. Um 11 Uhr.
“Carnival is like a fifth season for some Germans. It begins on the 11/11 at 11 o’clock.”


9. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Overcome Bureaucracy Problems in Germany

Well, congratulations for making it through our intense, but surely helpful, lesson about dates, days, and times of day in the German language. We hope that you now have a much better understanding of how dates in German grammar work, how to give dates in German, and perhaps most importantly, how to format them.

We know that this isn’t an easy topic, and that this requires some time to understand completely. But once you see all the similarities and differences between English and German dates, you’ll be an expert in this subject in no time.

To practice telling dates in German, why not drop us a comment with today’s day in German? ;)
If you want to really boost your German skills, we suggest that you try out our private teacher program which focuses on your goals and your current level.

But we won’t leave you without making a quick gift to you. We have free courses and lessons on GermanPod101.com that can help German learners at every level and stage of their learning journey:

Save yourself a spot today!

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Learn to Say “Father” in German and More

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Imagine that you’re traveling to good old Germany, and you want the real experience (not just staying in a hotel or hostel like everyone else). Well, this is fair enough, and we definitely encourage going for the full Germany experience. But first, you’ll need to know some basic family terms, like how to say “father” in German.

Why is it so important to know the words for family members in German? Imagine the following situation:

You arrive at your freshly booked Airbnb, and your host welcomes you with a nice dinner. But there’s one hitch: you find yourself eating with his parents, some friends, his cousin, and his grandmother, too. Your host starts to introduce everyone, pointing to each person as he states their name:

Ich möchte dich meinen Eltern vorstellen. Das sind mein Papa und meine Mutter. Und dort sitzt meine Großmutter und mein Cousin.

Despite your host’s best efforts to familiarize you with his family, you actually find yourself more confused about who’s who. Oh no!

While learning things like family member terms in German first-hand is always a great idea, you may be more comfortable studying up on this before your trip. After all, when it comes to family in German, words like the one in our example are going to come up all the time, so you should prepare using German lessons about family like this one!

GermanPod101 has prepared a guide just for you, covering vocabulary terms for any family member you may find yourself introduced to! Going through this guide, you can work on your language skills beforehand, so that you can make the most of your first-hand learning experiences in Germany. So let’s get started!

Table of Contents

  1. Family in German - Die Familie
  2. List of Closest Family Members + Basic Sentence Patterns
  3. More Family and Endearment Terms
  4. How to Talk about Family
  5. Cultural Insights in a German Family
  6. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn about Family in German

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1. Family in German - Die Familie

Family Words

Familie is the German word for “family.” As you can see, the word is more similar to English than you thought. Might this be because German families aren’t so different from those in the U.S. or other countries? Let’s take a look.

When you look over the demographics of Germany, you can clearly see that we are a dying nation. This means that every year, more people die than are being born, and our average age is getting older and older from year to year. (This is, of course, not exclusive to Germany, and is also happening in other first-world countries.)

I want to give you a short example of the above statistics using my family history. My grandmother was one of six children in her family at the end of the Second World War, and this was considered a normal-sized family. Now, my mom and dad are both one of three children. And today, there’s just me and my sister. From each of my uncles and aunties, I have between zero and three cousins.

Do you see what I mean? German families have become much smaller over the last seventy-eighty years. Today, people tend to think first about their lives and careers, and secondly about kids and family.

Families are the most important reference point for a child until the end of his or her time in college. But for many people, the end of college also represents a diminishing significance for their parents’ home. Keep in mind that I don’t want to say German kids don’t love their parents. Of course they do.

The family is, and will always be, important in Germany, so learn about it and adapt to it!


2. List of Closest Family Members + Basic Sentence Patterns

Family

1- General Terms for German Immediate Family

We created an overview of the most important family in German vocabulary words, such as your siblings, parents, and grandparents. The German is on the left, and the English equivalent is on the right.

die Eltern “the parents”
der Vater “the father”
die Mutter “the mother”
das Kind
die Kinder
“the child”
“the children”
die Geschwister “the siblings”
die Schwester
die Halbschwester
“the sister”
“the half-sister”
der Bruder
der Halbbruder
“the brother”
“the half-brother”
der Sohn “the son”
die Tochter “the daughter”
die Ehefrau “the wife”
der Ehemann “the husband”
der Großvater
der Opa
“the grandfather”
“the grandpa”
die Großmutter
die Oma
“the grandmother”
“the grandma”

To help you out with some basic words and the pronunciation for family member terms, we created a free lesson in our free-of-charge course. With enough practice, you’ll be able to talk about your parents and siblings in German like it’s nothing!

2- Talking about Family Members

There are usually three situations when talking about family:

  • You’re trying to talk about your family
  • You’re talking about someone else’s family members
  • You’re asking someone about their family

That means you need to describe who’s family you’re talking or inquiring about. This is done with possessives.

Similar to “my,” “yours,” “his” in English, in Germany we use meine, deine, and seine. To prepare you for the upcoming challenges associated with each of the situations outlined above, we’ve provided you with some basic questions and answers.

Wer ist deine Mutter?
“Who is your mother?”
Das ist meine Mutter.
“This is my mother.”
Sind deine Eltern verheiratet?
“Are your parents married?”
Nein, meine Eltern sind geschieden.
“No, my parents are divorced.”
Wie viele Geschwister hast du?
“How many siblings do you have?”
Ich habe zwei Geschwister, zusammen sind wir 3 Kinder.
“I have two siblings, together we are three kids.”
Hast du einen Bruder oder eine Schwester?
“Do you have a brother or a sister?”
Ja, ich habe zwei Brüder und eine Schwester.
“Yes, I have two brothers and one sister.”
Wie ist der Name deines Bruders?
“What is the name of your brother?”
Mein Bruder heißt Peter.
“My brother’s name is Peter.”
Wie alt sind deine Großeltern?
“How old are your grandparents?”
Meine Oma ist 65 und mein Opa ist 70 Jahre alt.
“My grandma is sixty-five and my grandpa is seventy years old.”
Ist sie deine Ehefrau?
“Is she your wife?”
Ja, das ist meine Ehefrau Eva.
“Yes, this is my wife Eva.”

Take a close look at how we used the possessive pronouns. They always have to be adapted to the person you’re talking about.


3. More Family and Endearment Terms

Parent Phrases

1- German Extended Family

Everybody has family members outside of their immediate family. Below, we give you some family member terms that you’ll face every day while living with a German family. We won’t go into too much detail, as the half-sister of your siblings’ aunt isn’t really interesting anymore.

der Onkel “the uncle”
die Tante “the aunt”
der Cousin [kuˈzɛŋ] “the cousin” (m)
die Cousine “the cousin” (f)
der Neffe “the nephew”
die Nichte “the niece”

This doesn’t seem too hard to understand, does it? With all of the terms we’ve gone over so far, you’re almost ready to talk about your family in various contexts. There are some more things we’ll cover in the next chapters, but what we have so far are the closest family members.

2- Endearment Terms

Families are cute, and you can always hear little grandsons or granddaughters calling their grandparents “granny” or “grandpa.” Those are just a couple examples of so-called endearment terms, and of course we have them in Germany as well.

A Cute Kitten.

We’ll show you two quick ways to create endearment terms, and give you some examples. Before we go on, we want to let you know that this doesn’t work with all family members the same way.

1. Adding an i

The first way to create endearment terms in Germany is to cut the last letter(s) of the term, and replace it with the letter i. It’s no mistake that we mentioned it can be the last letter or letters. When the term ends with a vowel, you replace only the last letter. In any other case, you need to replace the last two letters.

Here are some examples:

Mama -> Mami
“mother” -> “mom/mommy”

Mutter -> Mutti
“mother” -> “mom”

Papa -> Papi
“father” -> “daddy”

Vater -> Vati
“father” -> “dad”

Opa -> Opi
“grandmother” -> “granny”

Oma -> Omi
“grandfather” -> “grandpa”

But there are also examples where it doesn’t work, such as:

Onkel -> Onki
Tante -> Tanti
Großmutter -> Großmutti
(theoretically this works, but you’re never going to use this)

2. Adding chen to the end of the word

This might be the better-known form for any German learner. This one is a bit trickier and has some special rules. The basic rule is that you just add chen after each term. But be aware that when doing this, in some cases, if the word ends with a vowel, you have to cut this vowel before adding the chen. Or, if the word has a vowel in-between, you change it to ü, ö, or ä (instead of u, o, a).

Good examples are:

Großmutter -> Großmütterchen (grandmother -> grandma)
Onkel -> Onkelchen
Tante -> Tantchen
(aunt -> auntie)
Cousine -> Cousinchen

As you can see, sometimes there’s not even a proper English translation for the endearment term you can create in German. The good thing about this way of creating endearment terms is that you can use it with almost everything, and you’re not limited to people or family members. Take a look at these examples:

Bierchen from the word Bier (beer)
Tischchen from the word Tisch (table)
Tässchen from the word Tasse (cup)


4. How to Talk about Family

It’s quite easy to introduce your family to another person in German. Let’s imagine ourselves sitting around a large table, where all the family is eating together, and a friend of yours arrives for the first time. You both stand in front of the table.

A Family Sitting Together Outside in a Park Talking and Eating.

Das ist meine Mutter und das mein Papa. “This is my mother and this is my dad.”
Dort drüben sitzen meine Großeltern. “Over there are sitting my grandparents.”
Neben ihnen siehst du den Bruder meiner Mama, meinen Onkel. “Next to them, you can see the brother of my mother, my uncle.”
Mein Cousin, der Sohn meiner Tante ist heute nicht hier. “My cousin, the son of my aunt, he is not here today.”
Meine Oma ist leider schon gestorben. “My granny unfortunately has already passed away.”


5. Cultural Insights in a German Family

Family Quotes

The family is, for most Germans, one of the fundamental aspects of their lives. The family is an important part of every German. Children usually grow up close to their grandparents (who sometimes take care of their grandchildren when the parents are at work). Further, trust is a big thing for German families. But even with this strong bond, Germans are moving out of their parents’ home quite early to study, work, and become financially independent.

We’ve already mentioned that most German families are fairly small compared to those in other countries. Family size strongly depends on where you live, though. For instance, in the countryside, it’s normal for multiple generations to live on a big farm together, or even more than one family from one generation.

So it can be possible to find houses with up to ten people in the more rural areas, but even there, everybody has their own space and flat. You can live there with your parents, your grandparents, and maybe even your uncle’s family.

In the city, the situation is typically different, and families don’t live together. Everybody has their own flat or house, and don’t see each other in daily life.

Traditionally, the man is the head of the family. But let’s face it: this isn’t really how it works anymore. Women enjoy the same rights as men, and all decisions are made as a couple, or even among the entire family including children.

In the old days, it was common for people to get married after living together for a while. Now, you can find couples that stay together their whole lives and never get married. But trends are now coming back to the traditional way.

For some more information about German culture, we’ve prepared another lesson for you.


6. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn about Family in German

We hope that you got some helpful insight from our article about families in Germany, such as how to talk about family members. You now know a little bit about the typical family situation in Germany today, and how people are organizing their daily lives.

Four Arms Held Up and All Showing the Thumbs Up.

You should be able to talk about your immediate and extended family, introduce them to others, and talk to someone about them.

If you want to really boost your German skills, then we recommend our private teacher program which focuses on your personal goals based on your current level.

But we won’t leave you without making a quick gift to you. We have free-of-charge courses on GermanPod101.com for learners of every level:

Save yourself a spot today!

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Adventssonntag: First Sunday of Advent in Germany

The First Sunday of Advent in Germany marks the beginning of a four-week-long celebration before Christmas. During Advent, Christians await the Second Coming of Christ with additional fervor and hope, and Germany’s more secular population enjoys the festivities and traditions leading up to Christmas.

In this article, you’ll learn about modern Advent traditions in Germany, what date it falls on, a little bit about the holiday’s origins, and other facts about Advent in Germany.

At GermanPod101.com, we aim to make every aspect of your language-learning journey both fun and informative! What better way than by showing you one of the warmest and most significant holidays of the year?

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1. What is Advent in Germany?

The word Advent means “arrival,” and during Advent, Christians prepare for the arrival of Jesus Christ. Once Advent begins, it also means that Christmas is near—much to the excitement of many children, who look forward to the holiday coziness and gifts that await them! During each Advent Sunday, Germany has many fun traditions that we’ll go over later.

While the origins of Advent Sunday aren’t well-known, some believe that it has roots in an ancient monk tradition of fasting from the beginning of December until Christmas. The actual Advent holiday is thought to have picked up around the fifth and sixth centuries, usually as a fast that people could choose to participate in to show devotion.

In 1963, Advent became the holiday that many people know it as today. The Second Vatican Council decided that the holiday would, from then on, focus much more on Jesus Christ’s return.

2. When is Advent?

Church Year Calendar

The First Sunday of Advent falls on a different date each year, based on the church calendar (also called the liturgical year). It’s always four weeks before Christmas. For your convenience, here’s a list of this holiday’s date for the next ten years.

  • 2019: December 1
  • 2020: November 29
  • 2021: November 28
  • 2022: November 27
  • 2023: December 3
  • 2024: December 1
  • 2025: November 30
  • 2026: November 29
  • 2027: November 28
  • 2028: December 3

3. How Do Germans Celebrate Advent?

Church Service

If you happen to be in Germany during Advent, you’re going to find many homes and buildings lavishly decorated for the holiday. Common decorations include strung Christmas lights, stars, and Advent wreaths. The Advent wreath in Germany is decorated with four candles, which are usually red or white. On each Advent Sunday, another candle is lit.

In addition to making Christmas decorations, people send Christmas wishes, write wish lists, buy Christmas gifts, and bake Christmas cookies during the time of Advent. Among other cookies, butter cookies, vanilla cookies, shortbread biscuits, macaroons, and cinnamon stars are particularly popular. Imagine all the warm smells of baking, and all the cookie-sampling that surely goes on!

One of the most common Advent traditions in Germany is that of parents gifting Advent calendars to their children. From December 1 to 24, one of the twenty-four doors of the Advent calendar is opened each day. In the Advent calendar in Germany, there’s usually a small chocolate behind these “little doors” to shorten the waiting time until Christmas Eve.

Another pre-Christmas tradition is exchanging gifts. This usually takes place during the Christmas holidays with friends or colleagues. Gifts are exchanged as follows: The wrapped presents of all recipients are gathered so that by the end, everyone gets to pick a different gift.

In many cities, the decorated Christmas trees and hanging strings of lights reflect a festive atmosphere. Christmas markets attract numerous visitors and are a favorite rendezvous point during Advent. At the stalls, Christmas items, cookies, warm drinks, and light meals are offered. As for other Advent foods in Germany, there’s the smell of roasted almonds, hot chestnuts, and mulled wine (called Glühwein in German) everywhere, and sometimes you can hear the sounds of Christmas music.

4. Advent Sunday Songs

There are also a lot of songs and poems for Advent. Can you fill in the blank in this German Advent verse?

“Advent, Advent, a candle burns, first one, then two, then three, then four; then the ____ is standing in front of the door.”

The missing word in this famous children’s verse is Christkind or “Christ Child.”

5. Must-Know Vocabulary for Advent Sunday

Lit Candles for Advent

Here’s some German vocabulary to memorize before the First Sunday of Advent!

  • GottesdienstChurch service
  • Christliche Adventszeit — Advent season
  • Katholisch — Catholic
  • Evangelisch — Evangelical
  • Lutherische Liturgie — Liturgy
  • Jesu in Jerusalem — Jesus in Jerusalem
  • Wiederkunft Christi — The return of Christ
  • Johannes der Täufer — John the Baptist
  • Maria — Mary
  • Kirchenjahr — Church year

You can hear each of these words pronounced and read them alongside relevant images on our German Advent Sunday vocabulary list!

Final Thoughts

The First Sunday of Advent is a day that many Germans await all year long! There is something special about those end-of-the-year holidays, isn’t there?

What are your thoughts on the traditions of Advent in Germany? Does your country have similar Advent celebrations, or are they very different? We look forward to hearing from you!

Learning about a country’s culture may be the most fascinating and enriching aspects of trying to master its language. If you would like more cultural information on Germany, or perhaps some more vocabulary to practice throughout this autumn and winter, you may find the following pages on GermanPod101.com useful:

Learning German doesn’t have to be overwhelming or stuffy. At GermanPod101, we do everything possible to make your learning experience both fun and effective! If you’re serious about mastering the language, get started right by creating your free lifetime account today!

Happy Advent!

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Guide to German Travel Phrases for Tourists and Travelers

Thumbnail

When you’re traveling outside of your home country, there’s a very good chance that you won’t speak the language of that country. For that reason, it can be really helpful to learn some basic German travel phrases before going to Germany, Austria, or even parts of Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxemburg.

In this article, we’ll provide you with German phrases for tourists that will help you survive basic daily situations.

For instance, when traveling to the center of Europe, you’ll probably have to take a train at some point. (And if you don’t have to take one, we suggest you take one anyway. This experience is part of traveling to Germany.)

Once you’ve bought your ticket at Deutsche Bahn (the German railway company) and you’re ready to discover a new city, the conductor may want to see your ticket or ask some questions. If you didn’t know, even though this is an international company, their staff isn’t one-hundred percent trained to speak English. Trust us, you don’t want to come into this situation unprepared. You’ll need to know phrases for travelers in German.

But no worries. To prevent you from this embarrassing situation, we have free courses for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students. You can even find free bonus material on our website.

Without a lot of hustle and bustle, let’s just get straight to it. Here are the most useful German phrases for travelers.

Table of Contents

  1. Why Should You Learn German?
  2. German Pronunciation Specialities
  3. Greetings
  4. Basic Questions and Their Perfect Answers
  5. Restaurants and Ordering Food
  6. At the Hotel
  7. Locations and Transportation
  8. Working Through Communication Barriers
  9. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master Urgent Travel Situations

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1. Why Should You Learn German?

Preparing to Travel

We know that learning another language can be frustrating and hard, and this may be more true of German than some other languages. But here are some facts that should convince you to learn German:

  • Studying in Germany is free - While you have to pay for a college education in most countries, studying in Germany is free of charge.
  • Germany is Export King - Germany is the country with the biggest export market in Europe, and the third biggest worldwide.
  • Easy for native English speakers - English and German belong to the same language family, which makes it easy to learn (and vice versa).
  • Startup hotspot - The startup scene is growing rapidly in the cities of Berlin, Munich, Cologne, and Hamburg.

Knowing even just the basic German travel phrases for beginners can greatly help you make the most of your time in Germany.


2. German Pronunciation Specialities

Airplane Phrases

Before we move on to learning German phrases for travelers, you should have a little information on German pronunciation specialties.

As already mentioned, German is really close to the English language, which makes it easy for good English speakers to adapt to German. But there are some combinations that require special effort in terms of pronunciation. On the left, you see the letter combination; on the right, an English equivalent to that sound.

ei line
ie lean
ö Worm without the ‘r’
ü Tea with rounded lips
ä get
eu / äu boy
sch shoe
sp shp
st sht
ß boss
z cats


3. Greetings

Survival Phrases

Now, onto the most basic German words and phrases for travellers: Greetings. These are the most common German travel phrases, and always important to have at the ready.

  • Hallo!
    Hello!
  • Guten Morgen!
    Good morning!
  • Guten Tag!
    Good day!
  • Guten Abend.
    Good evening!
  • Bitte.
    Please.
  • Danke.
    Thanks. / Thank you.
  • Tschüss.
    Bye.
  • Auf Wiedersehen.
    Goodbye.
  • Ich heiße …
    My name is …
  • Ich bin in Deutschland für … Wochen.
    I am in Germany for … weeks.
  • Ich komme aus …
    I am from …
  • Wie geht’s?
    How are you?
  • Mir geht es gut.
    I am fine.


4. Basic Questions and Their Perfect Answers

Basic Questions

To help you out with the pronunciation and some practice for these questions, you can find a free lesson on our website. Also feel free to click on the links in the chart; they’ll take you to relevant German vocabulary lists on our site to help you answer the questions yourself!

Question Answer
Wo ist die Toilette
Where is the bathroom?
Die Toilette ist neben der Küche.
The toilet is next to the kitchen.
Wo kommst du her?
Where are you from?
Ich komme aus London, England.
I am from London, England.
Wie geht es dir?
How are you?
Mir geht’s gut und dir?
I am fine and you?
Wie alt bist du?
How old are you?
Ich bin 25 Jahre alt.
I am 25 years old.
Wie ist dein Name?
What’s your name?
Mein Name ist … . Wie ist dein Name?
My name is … and yours?
Wie lautet deine Telefonnumer?
What’s your phone number?
Meine Telefonnumer lautet: 555-555-555.
My phone number is: 555-555-555.
Was hast du gesagt?
What did you just say?
Ich habe dich nicht verstanden.
I didn’t understand you.
Wo arbeitest du?
Where do you work?
Ich arbeite bei … .
I work at …
Was ist das?
What is this?
Das ist ein … .
That is a … .
Was ist dein Lieblingsessen?
What is your favorite food?
Ich esse am liebsten Pizza.
My favorite food is pizza.


5. Restaurants and Ordering Food

A Cook Seasoning a Plate with Food.

  • Einen Tisch für zwei/drei/vier Personen, bitte.
    A table for two/three/four persons, please.
  • Wir haben eine Reservierung.
    We have a reservation.
  • Die Speisekarte, bitte.
    The menu, please.
  • Ich hätte gerne das Steak mit Pommes.
    I would like the steak with fries.
  • Haben Sie ein veganes Gericht?
    Do you have a vegan meal?
  • Können Sie etwas empfehlen?
    Can you recommend something?
  • Noch ein Glas Wasser, bitte.
    Another glass of water, please.
  • Getrennt oder zusammen?
    Together or separately?
  • Guten Appetit.
    Enjoy your meal.
  • Die Rechnung, bitte.
    The check, please.

We have a complete vocabulary list for you, with words for the restaurant.


6. At the Hotel

A Couple at the Front Desk of the Reception.

  • Wir haben eine Reservierung.
    We have a reservation.
  • Haben Sie noch freie Zimmer?
    Do you have free rooms available?
  • Wie viel kostet ein Zimmer pro Nacht?
    How much is a room per night?
  • Ich möchte ein Zimmer reservieren.
    I would like to reserve a room.
  • Ist das Frühstück inklusive?
    Is the breakfast inclusive?
  • Zimmerservice.
    Room service.
  • Um wie viel Uhr ist Check-Out?
    At what time is the check out?


7. Locations and Transportation

World Map

1- Asking for and Giving Directions

Entschuldigung, wo ist die Bank / der Supermarkt / das Stadtzentrum / die Tankstelle / der Bahnhof / der Flughafen?
Excuse me, where is the bank / the supermarket / the city center / the gas station / the train station / the airport?
Norden / Süden / Westen / Osten
North / South / West / East
In welcher Richtung finde ich … ?
In which direction can I find … ?
Oben / Unten / Vorne / Hinten
Upstairs / Downstairs / Forward / Backward
Ist es noch weit von hier?
Is it still far from here?
Sie müssen geradeaus laufen.
You have to walk straight.
Kann ich dorthin zu Fuß laufen?
Can I get there on foot?
Sie müssen links / rechts abbiegen.
You have to turn left / right.
Welche Straßenbahn, Metro oder Bus muss ich nehmen?
Which underground or bus do I have to take?
Zum Flughafen / Bahnhof, bitte.
To the airport / train station, please.
Ist es in der Nähe von … ?
Is it close to … ?
Um die Ecke.
Around the corner.
Wo ist der Ausgang / Eingang?
Where is the exit / entrance?
Halten Sie hier an, bitte.
Stop here, please.

2- Transportation

  • Wo ist die Haltestelle?
    Where is the station?
  • Wo kann ich eine Fahrkarte kaufen?
    Where can I buy a ticket?
  • Fährt dieser Zug / Bus nach … ?
    Is this train / bus going to … ?
  • Können Sie es mir auf der Karte zeigen?
    Can you show me on the map?
  • Muss ich umsteigen?
    Do I have to change?

Again, we’ve prepared for you a free vocabulary list with words that you can use when asking for directions and locations.


8. Working Through Communication Barriers

Just in case you don’t know what to say or you didn’t understand anything someone just said to you, here are some phrases that can get you out of this sticky situation:

  • Sprechen Sie Englisch?
    Do you speak English?
  • Können Sie das bitte nochmal wiederholen?
    Could you please repeat that again?
  • Ich spreche kein Deutsch.
    I don’t speak German.
  • Ich verstehe Sie nicht.
    I don’t understand you.
  • Können Sie das bitte übersetzen?
    Could you please translate this for me?
  • Hilfe!
    Help!

Maybe you’re asking yourself if you can go to Germany without speaking any German. Sure you can, you can live there even without speaking the language.

Getting along as a tourist with just English will be more than easy for you. Everybody knows at least the basics of English. And as long as they can see that you’re patient, they’ll be patient with you.


9. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master Urgent Travel Situations

In this article, we showed you the most helpful phrases that you can use on your travels. We covered some basic pronunciation specialities of the German language, greetings, numbers, situations in a restaurant and hotel, and asking for directions.

While you can survive traveling Germany with only English, Germans will be really grateful when they see that you’re trying to speak their language. We know that German is a hard language, but to see someone trying makes us happy.

This article was just the beginning; take a look at our free resources. But if you really want to get to it and become a good German speaker, then we can offer you a private teacher to help you learn based on your needs and goals with the German language.

Before you go, let us know in the comments how you feel about using the useful German travel phrases outlined in this article. Feel free to reach out with questions in the comments below, and know that the more you practice and use these essential German travel phrases, the easier it will become.

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Everything You Could Possibly Ask About German Numbers

German Numbers

It’s the language of Einstein, of Euler, of some of the most brilliant minds in history.

And with the reputation German has of being a difficult language, you’d think that the numbering system would be formidable.

Not so! It’s really just as approachable as most other languages—more complex than a few, but not nearly as complicated as others. And numbers in German language-learning really are too essential to skip over.

Since you’re able to read this article in English, you’ve got a great advantage already. It’s easy to map German numbers onto English ones, which you’ll soon find out with our handy German number guide here on GermanPod101.com! With our German numbers lists and useful information on how to use them, your numbers in German vocabulary will be strong indeed.

Table of Contents

  1. Cardinal Numbers
  2. Writing Numbers Down
  3. Special Numbers with Special Sounds
  4. Ordinal Numbers
  5. Once, Twice, Thrice
  6. Fractions and More (Easy) Math
  7. Lemme Get Your Number
  8. German Numbers and Dates
  9. Checking the Time
  10. Numbers When Shopping
  11. Conclusion: How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master German!

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1. Cardinal Numbers

German Numbers

All right, let’s get right to it. Here are the numbers from zero to twelve in German (you can also look at our Numbers vocabulary list to hear each of the German numbers written down here pronounced). Note that, for the most part, the German numbers 1-20 are pretty regular.

Number German English
0 Null Zero
1 Eins One
2 Zwei Two
3 Drei Three
4 Vier Four
5 Fünf Five
6 Sechs Six
7 Sieben Seven
8 Acht Eight
9 Neun Nine
10 Zehn Ten
11 Elf Eleven
12 Zwölf Twelve

A note about German numbers pronunciation: These numbers already sound awfully close to English. More so when you realize that words starting with “t” in English very often have a counterpart starting with “z” in German—remember the German “z” is pronounced [ts].

While we’re on the topic of pronunciation, let’s recall that an “s” at the beginning of a word is pronounced like “z” in English.

I’ll also mention that we went all the way up to twelve because eleven and twelve are “irregular” in both English and German. What do I mean by that?

Well, look at thirteen through nineteen:

Number German English
13 Dreizehn Thirteen
14 Vierzehn Fourteen
15 Fünfzehn Fifteen
16 Sechzehn Sixteen
17 Siebzehn Seventeen
18 Achtzehn Eighteen
19 Neunzehn Nineteen

When talking about the “ten” numbers in English, we use the word “teen” at the end. But in German, it’s clear as day. Couldn’t be simpler. Eight and ten make eighteen. Germans make this easy by using the number and tacking the word for “ten” (zehn) to the end. See, numbers in German language really aren’t that hard!

Once we hit twenty (which is zwanzig) and beyond, that simplicity keeps going—but in a way that may make you do a double-take at first.

Number German English
21 Einundzwanzig Twenty-one
22 Zweiundzwanzig Twenty-two
23 Dreiundzwanzig Twenty-three

Yes, it’s backwards from what we’re used to. Remember that old rhyme “four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie?” Imagine we talked like that all the time, and you’ve got modern German.

But if you think about it, it really is just keeping the same pattern from thirteen through nineteen. “Eight-ten, nine-ten, twenty, one-and-twenty, two-and-twenty…”

The same pattern continues as long as you’ve got anything in the tens and ones place.

  • Fünftausendzweihundert
    Five-thousand two-hundred
  • Zweiunddreißigtausendsechshundertfünfundfünfzig
    Thirty-two thousand six-hundred fifty-five.

Yeah, they’re all one word, up to the millions at least.

  • Drei Million vierhunderttausend
    Three-million four-hundred-thousand

Watch out here: in German, the really big numbers are false friends.

  • Die Million, die Milliarde, die Billion
    The million, the billion, the trillion


2. Writing Numbers Down

(Woman Writing Things Down

In Europe—not just Germany—most people write numbers with commas and decimals flipped from the way we use them in many English-speaking countries.

To separate hundreds, Germans use spaces or periods instead of commas.

  • 35 000/35.000
    35,000

And it’s even called das Komma!

  • 3,3 Million (drei Komma drei Millionen)
    3.3 million (three point three million)

Lastly, prices are expressed this way too, though we’ll go into that a little bit later.

  • €13,45
    €13.45


3. Special Numbers with Special Sounds

You know how airplane pilots in English always say stuff like “That’s Victor-seven-four-niner, over?” They say “niner” so that nobody confuses “nine” with “five.”

Pilots in Airplane

People reading out numbers in German will often say “zwo” for the same reason—nobody wants to confuse zwei and drei when the stakes are high!

In English, we have the special numbers “score” and “dozen,” meaning 20 and 12 units of something, respectively. “Score” was brought to England by the Vikings, but “dozen” is old enough to be in both German and English. You’ll find it in your German dictionary under Das Dutzend.


4. Ordinal Numbers

If you’ve had to learn English as a foreign language, you’ll be thrilled to hear that German ordinal numbers are much simpler than those in English.

Well, sort of. Here’s how they look in their nominative forms:

Numeral German English
1st Erste First
2nd Zweite Second
3rd Dritte Third
4th Vierte Fourth
5th Fünfte Fifth
6th Sechste Sixth

That’s right, they all end in -te!

So what’s the bad news? Well, they all have to follow the rules of German adjectives.

On the one hand, you’re just learning a bunch more adjectives and they’re all regular and predictable. Nothing too serious there.

On the other hand, you do have to stop and think about the cases when you use these words—at least until it all becomes automatic.

When writing these down, Germans follow other European conventions and simply put a full stop after the number to indicate that it’s an ordinal. There’s no written hint to tell you about the declension, unfortunately.

  • 4. Stock (vierter Stock)
    Fourth floor
  • zum 3. Mal (zum dritten Mal)
    For the third time
  • am 12. Mai (am zwölften Mai)
    On the twelfth of May


5. Once, Twice, Thrice

The word “time,” as in “there’s a first time for everything,” is mal in German. So the words for “once,” “twice,” “thrice,” and so on are simply einmal, zweimal, and dreimal. And where English stops at two or three (depending on if you like the word “thrice” or not), German continues ad infinitum.

  • Man lebt nur einmal.
    You only live once.

The word mal in German also carries the same meaning as “times” when talking about how many times larger, smaller, and so on that two things can be in comparison to each other.

  • Fünfmal so breit.
    Five times as wide.

One thing surprisingly absent from all of my German classes in school is how Germans order things at counter-service bakeries or restaurants. In our numbers in German lessons, we’ll try to cover this so you’re not left dazed and confused when ordering!

  • Einmal Brezel, bitte.
    One pretzel, please.

You’ll hear this used in every German city you go to, so you can likely use it wherever you go. If you go to order some food and it turns out that you’re not understood, simply go with ich hätte gern ein…bitte (meaning “I would like a…” in English) instead.


6. Fractions and More (Easy) Math

Math Equation on Blackboard

Are you out of school? You might have thought you wouldn’t need any math in your foreign language, but as it happens, basic math words are an important part of being able to use German effectively and precisely.

And it’s something that people tend to use in speech without thinking, maybe saying under their breath something like “let me see, that’s…thirty-five divided by seven…five dollars each!” If those numbers relate to you, you’re going to want to understand what’s going on.

There are three different words for “equals”: ergibt, ist, and macht.

  • Fünf plus zehn macht fünfzehn.
    Five plus ten equals fifteen.
  • Zwanzig minus dreizehn ist sieben.
    Twenty minus thirteen equals seven.
  • Neunundneunzig durch neun ergibt elf.
    Ninety-nine divided by nine equals eleven.
  • Zwölf mal zwölf macht einhundertvierundvierzig.
    Twelve times twelve equals one-hundred forty-four.

As in English, a word for “times; by; multiplied by” is also used for noting dimensions of physical objects.

  • Das Zimmer ist sechs Meter mal sieben Meter.
    The room is six meters by seven meters.

Now, let’s take a look at fractions and percents. As in English, there are specific nouns meaning “an Xth part of,” and in German they’re just as regular. Check this out:

German English
Die Hälfte The half
Das Drittel The third
Das Viertel The fourth
Das Fünftel The fifth
Das Sechstel The sixth
Das Zehntel The tenth
  • Er hat ein Viertel einer Flasche Whiskey getrunken.
    He drank a fourth of a bottle of whiskey.

Percentages in German work exactly the same as in English, with one word that’s practically the same in both languages.

  • Ich verstehe vielleicht neunzig Prozent.
    I understand about ninety percent.


7. Lemme Get Your Number

Man and Woman Exchanging Numbers on Date

In English, when we tell someone our phone number, we usually break it up into sections. This varies, of course, depending on where you’re from. For example, American telephone numbers have a three-digit area code, and the number itself is broken up into two groups of three and four numbers. Or in Morocco, phone numbers are broken up into five groups of two numbers.

In Germany, phone numbers used to be of no fixed lengths. Some numbers were as short as two digits!

However, in 2010, the telecoms agreed on a new plan to use eleven-digit numbers for all subsequent landlines. It’s still not entirely consistent (think of how many people you know that haven’t changed their number for eight years), but more so than it was before. Germans usually separate the area code from the regular number with a slash like this:

  • Meine Nummer ist 0125/12345678.
    My number is (0125) – 12345678.

Why so much detail here? Well, when you’re giving or taking a phone number down, it’s surprisingly easy to be caught off guard by the numbers being too few or too many than you’re used to.


8. German Numbers and Dates

Giving the date in German is only slightly different from doing so in English. We use the ordinal forms in both languages.

  • Heute ist der vierte Mai.
    Today is the 4th of May.

The definite article “the” isn’t necessary here in German. It would be necessary if we were specifying a specific day, week, month, or year, like so:

  • Die dritte Woche in Januar.
    The third week in January.

How about talking in terms of decades or centuries? After all, German culture has been around for a long time.

In German, as in English, we don’t say “the ninety decade”; we just say “the nineties.” There are two words for “decade,” incidentally, and those are: das Jahrzehnt and die Dekade.

  • die Achtziger [note that this is written as “80er”]
    the eighties

Jahrzehnt is wonderfully clear in meaning—it’s literally “year-ten.” How about century?

  • 18. Jahrhundert
    18th century

Remember that this “18.” is actually pronounced achtzehnte.


9. Checking the Time

The first thing you’ll notice is that Germany, like most of the world, uses the 24-hour clock as standard. So definitely get used to that before you visit.

Saying the hour is a little different than what we’ve been doing with years. You just use the cardinal number without any kind of declension.

  • Es ist dreizehn Uhr.
    It’s 13 o’clock (one o’clock).

This is what you’ll see posted on shop signs and in any kind of official correspondence. However, just because something is standard doesn’t make it universal. There are plenty of people who use the 12-hour clock when speaking.

When it’s necessary to distinguish between a.m. and p.m., they’ll use vormittags for the morning, nachmittags for the afternoon, abends for the evening, and nachts for the night.

  • Es ist drei Uhr nachts, was machst du gerade so?!
    It’s three a.m., what are you doing?!

Man Studying Late at Night

  • Unser Termin ist morgen um 9 Uhr vormittags.
    Our meeting is tomorrow at 9 a.m.

There’s one more peculiarity about telling time in German, and that’s the way they talk about halves of hours.

They literally say “half of the next hour” to say what English-speakers know as “half past.”

  • Jetzt ist es halb sechs.
    Now it’s half past five.

This can be really confusing if you don’t know to look out for it. Remember that Germans value punctuality!


10. Numbers When Shopping

When you go out to buy a Currywurst or Schinkenbrot, you’ll need to understand the prices you hear at the register. There’s no sales tax added on after the price, but you’ll learn that prices tend to slide right out of your memory when you’re bringing your breakfast pastry to the register—especially in a foreign language!

Store Selling Pastries

By the way, in Germany, it’s still extremely common to pay in cash. Most tiny shops either reluctantly take credit cards or not at all, and you can forget about mobile pay.

Better get used to counting out coins, though a lot of shops round to the nearest five cents so you don’t have to deal with the one- and two-cent Euro coins anymore (das ein-Cent-Stück and das zwei-Cent-Stück, respectively).

Here’s what you’ll hear when the cashier rings up your total:

  • Das macht vier Euro fünfzig. (€4,50)
    That’s four euros fifty.

Or:

  • Vierzehn Euro achtzig Cent. (€14,80)
    Fourteen euros eighty cents.

Guten Appetit! (Enjoy your meal!)


11. Conclusion: How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master German!

It may seem like a ton of detail to remember right now, but there’s no way you need to learn all German numbers at once.

One of the best ways to internalize German numbers at home is to watch documentaries. You’ll constantly hear prices, percentages, hundreds, millions, and more.

And if you’re really ambitious, you could try translating all the digits you see during the day into German. It’s really easy to skip numbers when reading out loud, so by quietly murmuring sale prices or times of the day in German while you’re out and about, you’ll build up that skill of automatically switching to German numbers.

Then when it’s time to use them for real, you won’t stumble at all. So go out there and enjoy our world of numbers—our Nummernwelt—in German!

GermanPod101.com wants to be here with you for each step of your journey to German mastery! We provide practical learning tools for every learner, including insightful blog posts like this one, free German vocabulary lists, an online community forum, and even a MyTeacher program for those with a Premium Plus account! With your determination and our support, you’ll know German culture and the German language inside and out!

Author: Yassir Sahnoun is a HubSpot certified content strategist, copywriter and polyglot who works with language learning companies. He helps companies attract sales using content strategy, copywriting, blogging, email marketing & more.

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