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100 Hand-Picked German Verbs for Your Everyday Life

You know, German treats verbs differently.

In contrast to pretty much any other European language, German moves the verb all the way around the sentence quite often. They call it “verb-second” and “verb-final.”

All that to say, you’re going to need to know your German verbs well if you want to be a good German speaker. Here are one hundred of the best German verbs for beginners to learn—how many do you know already?

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in German Table of Contents
  1. Regular Tourist Verbs in German
  2. Verbs at Home
  3. Verbs in the Kitchen
  4. Verbs at the University
  5. Verbs at Work
  6. Verbs for Your Spare Time
  7. Verbs at the Gym
  8. Verbs on a Date
  9. Conclusion

1. Regular Tourist Verbs in German

City of Bremen in Germany

Everybody wants to travel to Germany at some point! Remember, work on your German accent and stay confident, and people will be surprised and pleased at your language abilities.

Here are some German verbs you need to know for your travels.

1. gehen – “go”

Wo gehen Sie hin?

“Where are you going?”

2. schlafen – “sleep”

Ich kann nicht schlafen.

“I can’t sleep.”

3. bleiben – “stay”

Wie lange bleibst du hier?

“How long are you staying here?”

4. bezahlen – “pay”

Kann ich mit der Karte bezahlen?

“Can I pay with a card?”

5. essen – “eat”

Was wollen Sie essen?

“What do you want to eat?”

6. trinken – “drink”

Gibt’s noch was zum trinken?

“Is there anything else to drink?”

7. kaufen – “buy”

Ich kaufe nur Android Handys.

“I only buy Android phones.”

8. verkaufen – “sell”

Ich möchte meine alten Kleider verkaufen.

“I want to sell all of my old clothes.”

9. bestellen – “to order (food)”

Möchten Sie bestellen?

“Would you like to order?”

10. bummeln – “to wander”

Nach der arbeit, bummelte er noch durch die Stadt.

“After work, he wandered through the city.”

11. chillen – “to relax,” “to chill”

Ich möchte heute etwas in dem Park chillen.

“I’d like to relax in the park for a bit today.”

12. wandern – “to hike”

Kann man in den Bergen wandern?

“Can you hike in the mountains?”

13. reservieren – “to reserve”

Sie haben kein Zimmer reserviert.

“You haven’t reserved a room.”

14. feiern – “to celebrate,” “to party”

Er feiert nächste Woche seinen Geburtstag.

“He’s celebrating his birthday next week.”

15. saufen – “to get drunk”

Saufen wir zu viel?

“Do we drink too much?”

Top Verbs

2. Verbs at Home

One of the best ways to practice your German with nobody around is to simply describe to yourself what you’re doing at home, as you’re doing it. With nobody to hear, who cares if you make mistakes?

Here’s a list of German action verbs you can use around the house.

16. aufwachen – “wake up”

Ich muss jeden Tag um sechs Uhr früh aufwachen.

“I have to wake up every morning at 6 A.M.”

17. aufstehen – “to get up”

Ich stehe um zehn Uhr auf.

“I get up at ten.”

18. schlafen – “to sleep”

Sie schläft immer noch.

“She’s still sleeping.”

19. sich die Zähne putzen – “brush teeth”

Ich putze mir gerade die Zähne, warte mal kurz.

“I’m brushing my teeth right now, wait a moment.”

20. sich die Haare bürsten – “brush hair”

Ich hasse es, wenn jemand mir die Haare bürstet.

“I hate it when someone brushes my hair.”

21. das Bett machen – “make the bed”

Wann wirst du dein Bett machen?

“When are you going to make your bed?”

22. sich duschen – “to shower”

Ich dusche mich zweimal in der Woche.

“I take a shower twice a week.”

23. staubsaugen – “to vacuum”

Bitte, könntest du unter dem Bett noch mal staubsaugen?

“Please, could you vacuum under the bed again?”

24. bügeln – “to iron”

Ich bügle nie meine Hemden.

“I never iron my shirts.”

25. waschen – “to wash”

Hast du deine Hände gewaschen?

“Did you wash your hands?”

26. aufräumen – “to clean up”

Können Sie bitte die Küche aufräumen?

“Could you please clean up the kitchen?”

27. fernsehen – “to watch TV”

Ich sehe selten fern.

“I don’t watch TV often.”

28. lesen – “to read”

Was lesen Sie gerade?

“What are you reading now?”

29. anhören – “to listen (to something)”

Hörst du deutsche Hörbücher?

“Do you listen to German audiobooks?”

3. Verbs in the Kitchen

Couple Preparing Food in the Kitchen

You don’t find a whole lot of German restaurants outside of Europe, but if you should happen to visit Germany, be sure to check out the local specialties in every state. When you come back, use these verbs to describe how the dishes are made!

Here are some good German verbs to know related to the kitchen and cooking.

30. kochen – “to cook,” “to boil”

Ich koche jeden Tag Eier.

“I cook eggs everyday.”

31. umrühren – “to stir”

Rühr die Suppe um.

“Stir the soup.”

32. backen – “to bake”

Kannst du Kekse backen?

“Can you bake cookies?”

33. vorheizen – “to preheat”

Den Backofen auf einhundert achtzig Grad vorheizen.

“Preheat the oven to one hundred eighty degrees.”

34. erhitzen – “to heat up”

Erhitzen Sie das Öl in der Pfanne.

“Heat up oil in the pan.”

35. einfrieren – “to freeze”

Wenn du es nicht essen willst, können wir es einfrieren.

“If you don’t want to eat it, we can freeze it.”

36. frühstücken – “to eat breakfast”

Ich frühstücke immer auf Arbeit.

“Where are we going to eat breakfast?”

37. Abendessen essen – “eat dinner”

Er isst Abendessen allein zu Hause.

“He is eating dinner alone at home.”

38. anbrennen – “to burn (food)”

Oh nein, ich habe das Sandwich angebrannt!

“Oh no, I burned the sandwich!”

39. schneiden – “to cut”

Wir schneiden den Teig mit einem Messer.

“We cut the dough with a knife.”

40. nach etwas schmecken – “to taste like something”

Das hier schmeckt nach altem Käse.

“This tastes like old cheese.”

41. probieren – “to try”

Schnecken würde er niemals probieren.

“He would never give snails a try.”

42. salzen  – “to salt”

Als Nächstes werde ich das gericht salzen.

“Next, I’ll salt the dish.”

4. Verbs at the University

People Taking a Test in a University Classroom

German universities generally have some strict entrance requirements, but that’s because they want to keep their well-known academic standards high. With nearly free tuition for international students and an unforgettable immersion experience, what’s not to love?

Here’s a list of common German school verbs you’ll hear all the time while attending a university. 

43. schreiben – “to write”

Ich kann nicht so gut schreiben.

“I can’t write very well.”

44. studieren – “to study (a subject)”

Ich studiere Geschichte als Hauptfach.

“I’m studying history as my major.”

45. lernen – “to study (for review),” “to learn”

Haben Sie für die Prüfung gelernt?

“Did you study for the test?”

46. auswendig lernen – “to learn something by heart”

Du hast das ganze Buch auswendig gelernt?!

“You learned the whole book by heart?!”

47. anmelden – “to register”

Wo melde ich mich an?

“Where do I register?”

48. forschen – “to research”

Forschen Sie lieber oder lehren Sie lieber?

“Do you prefer researching or teaching?”

49. sich verabreden – “make an appointment”

Wir haben uns schon verabredet.

“We’ve made an appointment.”

50. den Unterricht schwänzen – “to skip classes”

Ich habe niemals im Leben den Unterricht geschwänzt.

“I have never, in my life, skipped classes.”

51. spicken – “to cheat”

Sie wurden beim spicken erwischt.

“They were caught cheating.”

52. bestehen – “to pass”

Ich will meine Deutschprüfung bestehen!

“I want to pass my German test!”

53. durchfallen – “to fail”

Viele Studenten sind dieses Jahr durchgefallen.

“Lots of students failed this year.”

54. wiederholen – “to repeat”

Können Sie das bitte wiederholen?

“Could you please repeat that?”

55. überzeugen – “to convince”

Ich bin immer noch nicht überzeugt.

“I’m still not convinced.”

56. vorlesen – “to read aloud”

Kannst du den Satz bitte vorlesen?

“Could you please read the sentence aloud?”

57. lehren – “to teach”

Er lehrt im Gymnasium.

“He teaches at the secondary school.”

58. verpassen – “to miss”

Ich habe meinen Bus verpasst!

“I missed my bus!”

59. einen Abschluss machen – “to graduate”

Sie hat ihren Abschluss noch nicht gemacht.

“She hasn’t yet graduated.”

5. Verbs at Work

Two Women Going Over Work-related Papers

It’s only logical that you’d get a job in a German-speaking country after your German degree. And even if you haven’t moved to Germany yet, speaking German is a valuable asset to include on your resume.

 Here are a few German verbs you must know before snatching that job.

60. Kaffee machen – “to brew coffee”

Ich werde mir einen Kaffee machen, möchtest du auch einen?

“I’ll brew myself a coffee, would you like one as well?”

61. pünktlich sein – “to be on time”

Wie kann er immer pünktlich sein?

“How can he always be on time?”

62. sich verspäten – “to delay,” “to be late”

Das Kind verspätet sich immer.

“The child is always late.”

63. anstellen – “to hire”

Stellen Sie hier viele Frauen an?

“Do you hire many women here?”

64. entlassen – “to fire”

Vorsicht, du könntest dafür entlassen werden.

“Watch out, you could be fired for that.”

65. arbeiten – “to work”

Wo arbeiten Sie?

“Where do you work?”

66. kündigen – “to quit”

Ich werde in zwei Wochen kündigen.

“I’m quitting in two weeks.”

67. erklären – “to explain”

Wir können diese Situation erklären.

“We can explain this situation.”

 68. jammern – “to babble”

Er jammert stundenlang in seinem Büro.

“He babbles constantly in his office.”

69. telefonieren – “to make a call”

Haben Sie mit der Abteilungsleiterin telefoniert?

“Did you call the department manager?”

70. drucken – “to print”

Wir drucken zu viele Sachen.

“We’re printing too many things.”

71. speichern – “to save”

Ich habe das Dokument nicht gespeichert!

“I didn’t save the document!”

72. schicken – “to send”

Ich habe es dir in einer E-Mail geschickt.

“I sent it to you via email.”

73. verhandeln – “to negotiate”

Ich muss ein besseres Gehalt verhandeln.

“I have to negotiate a better salary.”

More Essential Verbs

6. Verbs for Your Spare Time

Everybody has their hobbies. Whether you just have to take a German exam or like to chat, having interesting hobbies can make you a fascinating conversationalist.

Here are a few German hobby verbs to memorize.

74. zeichnen – “to draw”

Ich zeichne keine Menschen.

“I don’t draw people.”

75. skizzieren – “to sketch”

Er skizziert ein Turm.

“He sketches a tower.”

76. malen – “to paint”

Ich male gern mit den Kindern.

“I like to paint with the kids.”

77. fotografieren – “to take photos”

Ich fotografiere viele Blumen.

“I take a lot of pictures of flowers.”

78. Gitarre spielen – “to play guitar”

Es ist lange her seitdem ich Gitarre gespielt habe.

“It’s been a long time since I played guitar.”

79. programmieren – “to program”

Ich programmiere sechs Stunden pro Tag.

“I program for six hours a day.”

80. klettern – “to climb”

Ist es erlaubt, hier zu klettern?

“Is it allowed to climb here?”

81. aufnehmen – “to record”

Ich nehme alle meiner Lieder auf.

“I record all my songs.”

82. üben – “to practice”

Ich übe jeden Tag Deutsch.

“I practice German everyday.”

83. fahren – “to drive,” “to ride”

Ich fahre gern Fahrrad.

“I like riding bikes.”

84. bolzen – “to play soccer”

Manchmal nach der Arbeit gehe ich mit den Jungs bolzen.

“Sometimes after work, I play soccer with the boys.”

7. Verbs at the Gym

Woman and Man Weightlifting at the Gym

Overall, Germany is a pretty healthy country. People do a lot of walking and biking, and if you want to get in on that action, you should have the vocabulary to say so in German.

Here are a few different German verbs for the gym and outdoor exercise. 

85. trainieren – “to exercise”

Trainierst du jeden Tag?

“Do you work out everyday?”

86. laufen – “to run”

Sie läuft im Park.

“She is running in the park.”

87. Gewichte heben – “to lift weights”

Wieviel kannst du heben?

“How much can you lift?”

88. pumpen – “to work out”

Ich war gestern im Fitnessstudio pumpen.

“I went to the gym yesterday to work out.”

89. joggen – “to jog”

Ich jogge zwei mal die Woche im Mauerpark.

“I’m jogging twice a week in Mauerpark.”

90. schwimmen – “to swim”

Kann man in dem Rhein schwimmen?

“Can you swim in the Rhine?” 

91. einen Muskelkater kriegen – “(to get) muscle soreness”

Kriegst du keine Muskelkater?

“Don’t you ever get sore muscles?”

92. sich wiegen – “to weigh oneself”

Du solltest dich nicht zu oft wiegen.

“You shouldn’t weigh yourself too often.”

93. sich entspannen – “to relax oneself”

Es ist schwer, mich zu entspannen.

“It’s hard to relax.”

94. abnehmen – “to lose weight”

Ich versuche etwas abzunehmen.

“I’m trying to lose some weight.”

95. zunehmen – “to gain weight”

Ich nehme immer noch zu.

“I’m still gaining weight.”

Negative Verbs

8. Verbs on a Date

Have you met a special someone? These are the activities you might get up to in German:

96. rauchen – “to smoke”

Rauchst du?

“Do you smoke?”

97. lachen – “to laugh”

Sie lachten laut und lang.

“They laughed loud and long.”

98. lächeln – “to smile”

Er lächelte und sagte, sie sei schön.

“He smiled and said she was beautiful.”

99. umarmen – “to hug”

Sie haben sich zum Abschied umarmt.

“They hugged each other goodbye.”

100. küssen – “to kiss”

Kann ich dich küssen?

“Can I kiss you?”

That’s enough for this section—take a look at our Valentine’s Day article for more!

9. Conclusion

Congratulations! That’s 100 German verbs in sentences for context.

How many of the words on this German verbs list were new to you? Let us know in the comments! 

The best way to study a list like this is to read it a couple of times for several days in a row. After the second or third time through, you’ll have already internalized some of the key structures.

Even better than that is going onto GermanPod101.com and listening to our vast podcast lesson library, complete with transcripts and translations. Listen for a couple of hours, and you’ll hear more verbs than you ever dreamed of!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Useful Verbs in German

Build Your Vocabulary with These 100 German Nouns

Thumbnail

What’s that word?

It’s on the tip of your tongue!

Put plain and simply, there’s just no getting around the fact that you need a good vocabulary if you’re going to speak good German.

We’ve got that for you. Right here, stripped-down, are the top 100 German nouns, broken down into different categories so that you can easily find what you need. Basically, the perfect German nouns list for any beginner. If you’re wondering why there are so many capitalized words on the list, it’s because every noun in German is capitalized. Now, let’s go!

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Table of Contents
  1. Nouns You Need for Travel
  2. Relaxing at Home
  3. Big Ideas
  4. In the Classroom
  5. University Life
  6. Hard at Work
  7. Sit Down for a Meal
  8. All About You
  9. Your Clothes and Accessories
  10. What Do You Do?
  11. Conclusion


1. Nouns You Need for Travel

Nouns 1

Whether you’re hitting the nightlife in Vienna or the quiet suburbs of Berlin, here are the most common German nouns you’ll need to make your trip to Germany smooth and easy.

1. der Bahnhof — train station

Wo ist der Bahnhof?
“Where is the train station?”

2. der Koffer — suitcase

Wie viele Koffer hast du?
“How many suitcases do you have?”

3. das Gepäck — baggage; luggage

Kannst du mir mit meinem Gepäck helfen?
“Can you help me with my bag?”

4. das Ticket — ticket (usually for planes)

Ich habe mein Ticket verloren.
“I lost my ticket.”

5. die Fahrkarte — ticket (usually for buses or trains)

Wo kann ich eine Fahrkarte kaufen?
“Where can I buy a train ticket?”

6. die Jugendherberge — hostel

Ich suche die Jugendherberge “Flower City.”
“I’m looking for the Flower City Hostel.”

7. das Zimmer — room

Hast du ein großes Zimmer?
“Do you have a big room?”

8. der Zug — train

Wann fährt der Zug ab?
“When does the train leave?”

9. die Plattform — platform

Welche Plattform ist der Zug nach Moskau?
“What platform is the train to Moscow?”

10. das Geld — money

Ich habe kein Geld.
“I don’t have any money.”

11. die Tür — door

Bitte halten Sie die Tür geschlossen.
“Please keep the door closed.”

12. das Essen — food

Du kannst kein Essen in die Bibliothek bringen.
“You can’t bring food in the library.”

13. die Straße — street

Welche Straße ist das?
“Which street is this?”

14. der Flug — flight

Ich habe meinen Flug verpasst.
“I missed my flight.”

15. die Haltestelle — bus stop

Ich stehe an der Haltestelle.
“I’m standing at the bus stop.”

16. der Schlüssel — key

Hier ist dein Schlüssel.
“Here is your key.”

2. Relaxing at Home

Family at Home wwtching TV

With winter approaching, temperatures are falling and you need good warm blankets. Curl up by the fire and memorize some of these everyday German nouns:

17. der Löffel — spoon

Gib mir bitte den Löffel.
“Please pass me the spoon.”

18. die Gabel — fork

Diese Gabel ist schmutzig.
“This fork is dirty.”

19. das Messer — knife

Ich hätte gerne noch ein Messer, bitte.
“I would like another knife, please.”

20. das Kissen — pillow

Mein Kissen ist zu hart.
“My pillow is too hard.”

21. die Decke — blanket

Meine Decke ist warm.
“My blanket is warm.”

22. das Fenster — window

Warum hast du das Fenster eingeschlagen?
“Why did you break the window?”

23. der Tisch — table

Sie setzten sich an den Tisch.
“They sat down at the table.”

24. der Sessel — armchair

Meine Katze mag meinen Sessel sehr.
“My cat really likes my armchair.”

25. der Fernseher — television

Sein neuer Fernseher ist kaputt.
“His brand-new TV is broken.”

For more German household nouns, check out GermanPod101’s relevant vocabulary list!

3. Big Ideas

Nouns 2

It’s important to know about abstract topics in a foreign language, even if you aren’t perfectly comfortable giving a lecture on them. Here are some good starter nouns in German to get you talking about these topics.

26. die Gier — greed

Gier zerreißt die Welt.
“Greed tears the world apart.”

27. die Zusammenarbeit — collaboration; cooperation; teamwork

Zusammenarbeit ist der Schlüssel zum Erfolg.
“Teamwork is the key to success.”

28. die Freiheit — freedom

Gibt es Freiheit in Ihrem Land?
“Is there freedom in your country?”

29. der Frieden — peace

Irgendwann wird es Frieden auf der Welt geben.
“One day, there will be peace in the world.”

30. die Regierung — government

Gibst du der Regierung die Schuld?
“Do you blame the government?”

31. der Hass — hatred

Hass ist keine Lösung.
“Hate is not a solution.”

32. die Liebe — love

Ich glaube an die Liebe auf den ersten Blick.
“I believe in love at first sight.”

33. die Umweltverschmutzung — pollution

Die Umweltverschmutzung ist meine Hauptsorge für die Zukunft.
“Pollution is my main worry about the future.”

34. die Bildung — education

Wir geben zu wenig Geld für Bildung aus.
“We’re spending too little money on education.”

4. In the Classroom

Doing Schoolwork

Whether you’re living in a German-speaking country or taking a German test back at home, the school rules are probably about the same. Here are the top German nouns to know for the classroom!

35. der Taschenrechner — calculator

Taschenrechner sind in der Klausur verboten.
“Calculators are not allowed for the test.”

36. das Papier — paper

Darf ich auf dem Stück Papier schreiben?
“Can I write on this piece of paper?”

37. der Stift — pencil

Kannst du mir meinen Stift zurückgeben?
“Could you give me my pencil back?”

38. der Klebstoff — glue

Lass kein Klebstoff in die Augen kommen.
“Don’t get glue in your eyes.”

39. das Pult — lectern

Das Mikrofon am Pult ist nicht angeschlossen.
“The microphone on the lectern isn’t connected.”

40. das Klassenzimmer — classroom

Das Fliegende Klassenzimmer ist mein Lieblingsbuch von Erich Kästner.
“The Flying Classroom is my favorite book written by Erich Kästner.”

41. die Hausaufgaben — homework

Wo sind deine Hausaufgaben?
“Where is your homework?”

42. der Aufsatz — essay

Dein Aufsatz ist zu kurz.
“Your essay is too short.”

5. University Life

Nouns 3

So you passed your German exam—great job! Now let’s see what it’s like to actually go and study in Germany. Here are the essential German nouns for your time on campus.

43. die Veranstaltung — event; session

Die Veranstaltung wird um 16:30Uhr starten.
“The event will start at 4:30 P.M.”

44. die Burschenschaft — fraternity

Bist du in irgendeiner Burschenschaften?
“Are you in any fraternities?”

45. der Professor — professor

Mein Professor ist geduldig.
“My professor is patient.”

46. die Sprechstunde — office hour

Seine Sprechstunde ist immer nur Dienstags.
“His office hours are always only on Tuesdays.”

47. die Bewerbung — application

Sind Sie mit Ihrer Bewerbung fertig?
“Are you finished with your application?”

48. die Vorlesung — lecture

Schlafen Sie nicht während einer Vorlesung.
“Don’t sleep during a lecture.”

49. die Mensa — dining hall

Das Essen in der Mensa schmeckt wie das Essen im Gefängnis.
“The food in the dining hall tastes like the food they serve in prisons.”

50. das Stipendium — scholarship

Ich hoffe ich werde das Stipendium bekommen.
“I hope I will get the scholarship.”

6. Hard at Work

People Discussing Graphs and Charts

One of the most popular German TV comedies is based off of the antics of coworkers in an office setting. Knowing these useful German nouns will give you a brief foundation in that world of business vocabulary.

51. die Frist — deadline

Die Frist für die Bewerbung ist der letzte Tag im Januar.
“The deadline for the application is the last day of January.”

52. der Kopierer — copier

Ich hasse unseren Kopierer.
“I hate our copier.”

53. die Kaffeepause — coffee break

Kaffeepausen sind das schönste an meinem Job.
“Coffee breaks are the best thing about my work.”

54. das Gehalt — salary

Ich bekomme mein Gehalt nächsten Freitag.
“I will get my salary next Friday.”

55. der Gehaltsscheck — paycheck

Mein Gehaltsscheck wird jedes Jahr größer.
“My paycheck gets bigger every year.”

56. der Vertrag — contract

Wir konnten den Vertrag während des Treffens nicht unterschreiben.
“We couldn’t sign the contract during the meeting.”

7. Sit Down for a Meal

When you learn German nouns, food is something you surely don’t want to skip over. You’ll have a pretty bad time in Germany if you limit yourself to eating at restaurants that can serve you in English!

57. das Fleisch — meat

Ich esse kein Fleisch.
“I don’t eat meat.”

58. die Kartoffel — potato

Was kosten die Kartoffeln?
“How much are the potatoes?”

59. der Kohl — cabbage

Kohl ist in Deutschland sehr billig.
“Cabbage is very cheap in Germany.”

60. die Wurst — sausage

Welche Wurst magst du lieber, die Currywurst oder die Weißwurst?
“Which sausage do you prefer, the Currywurst or the Weißwurst?”

61. die Pommes — french fries

Zweimal Pommes, bitte.
“Two orders of french fries, please.”

62. der Salat — salad

Vom Salat allein werde ich nicht satt.
“Only salad won’t get me full.”

63. das Eis — ice cream

Eine Kugel eis, bitte.
“A scoop of ice cream, please.”

64. der Sekt — sparkling wine

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen einem Sekt und Champagner?
“What’s the difference between sparkling wine and champagne?”

65. das Mineralwasser — mineral water

Die meisten Deutschen trinken Mineralwasser.
“Most Germans drink mineral water.”

66. die Schorle — spritzer

Wir servieren hier keine Schorle.
“We don’t serve spritzers here.”

67. das Brot — bread

Ich hätte gerne noch etwas Brot, bitte.
“I’d like some more bread, please.”

68. der Essig — vinegar

Öl und Essig, bitte.
“Oil and vinegar, please.”

8. All About You

(Woman Stretching After Workout

Lots of German body part words are actually perfect cognates with English, so we haven’t put them on here. Instead, here are some you might not have seen before!

69. die Zunge — tongue

Ich habe mir die Zunge mit dem Kaffee verbrannt.
“I burned my tongue on the coffee.”

70. das Bein — leg

Mein linkes Bein ist länger als mein rechtes Bein.
“My left leg is longer than my right leg.”

71. der Knöchel — ankle

Hast du dir jemals den Knöchel gebrochen?
“Have you ever broken your ankle?”

72. das Auge — eye

Halt dir die Augen zu.
“Cover your eyes.”

73. die Wange — cheek

Darf ich deine Wange küssen?
“Can I kiss your cheek?”

74. der Ellenbogen — elbow

Sei vorsichtig mit deinem Ellenbogen.
“Be careful with your elbow.”

75. die Achselhöhle — armpit

Rasierst du dir die Achselhöhlen?
“Do you shave your armpits?”

76. das Knie — knee

Er fiel auf die Knie.
“He fell to his knees.”

77. der Hals — neck; throat

Mein Hals ist sonnengebräunt.
“My neck is sunburnt.”

9. Your Clothes and Accessories

Nouns 4

When describing other people, it’s important to talk about what they’ve got on in terms of both clothing and jewelry or gadgets. Here’s a very basic German nouns list for this. These are also excellent words for shopping!

78. die Halskette — necklace

Ich liebe diese Halskette.
“I love that necklace.”

79. das Armband — bracelet

Das war das Armband meiner Großmutter.
“This was my grandmother’s bracelet.”

80. der Gürtel — belt

Ein Gürtel passt zu vielen Kleidern.
“A belt goes with lots of dresses.”

81. der Schuh — shoe

Wie viele Schuhe hast du?
“How many shoes do you have?”

82. das Handy — cell phone

Brauchst du wirklich zwei Handys?
“Do you really need two cell phones?”

83. die Kopfhörer — earphones

Ich verliere immer meine Kopfhörer.
“I always lose my earphones.”

84. das Ladegerät — charger

Ich habe mein Ladegerät vergessen.
“I forgot my charger.”

85. die Krawatte — necktie

Ich habe Soße auf meine Krawatte verschüttet.
“I spilled sauce on my necktie.”

10. What Do You Do?



German jobs have masculine and feminine forms. The way to switch them is to simply add the suffix -in to the root verb and flip the gender of the noun to female!

86. der Praktikant — intern

Wir haben ausgezeichnete Praktikanten.
“We have excellent interns.”

87. der Chef — boss

Mein Chef arbeitet hart.
“My boss works hard.”

88. der Schriftsteller — writer

Mein Onkel ist Schriftsteller.
“My uncle is a writer.”

89. der Taxifahrer — taxi driver

Hat der Taxifahrer uns gesehen?
“Did the taxi driver see us?”

90. der Musiker — musician

Ich wünschte, ich wäre ein Musiker.
“I wish I was a musician.”

91. der Mechaniker — mechanic

Mechaniker verdienen viel Geld.
“Mechanics make a lot of money.”

92. der Zimmermann — carpenter

Ich habe einen Zimmermann angeheuert, um mein Haus zu reparieren.
“I hired a carpenter to fix my house.”

93. der Klempner — plumber

Schnell, wir brauchen einen Klempner!
“Quick, we need a plumber!”

94. der Filialleiter — branch manager

Ich war fünf Jahre lang Filialleiterin.
“I was a branch manager for five years.”

95. der Kassierer — cashier

Können die Kassierer hier kostenlos zu Mittag essen?
“Can the cashiers here eat lunch for free?”

96. der Koch — cook

Der Koch kommt aus Belgien.
“The cook is from Belgium.”

97. der Spion — spy

Wir haben einen Spion in unserer Organisation.
“We have a spy in our organization.”

98. der Seeräuber — pirate

Gibt es noch Seeräuber?
“Are there still pirates?”

99. der Freiwillige — volunteer

Ich bin Freiwilliger in einem Kinderkrankenhaus.
“I’m a volunteer in a children’s hospital.”

100. der Straßenkehrer — street cleaner

Die Straßenkehrer sind die Helden der Nacht.
“The street cleaners are the heroes of the night.”

11. Conclusion

Nice work! One hundred nouns, and they’re all yours.

By the way, that’s far from all of them. Read through them again, and try to think of some English ones we didn’t cover.

Then head on over to GermanPod101.com and see if you can’t find a lesson on that very topic. That’s the real challenge!

As always, if you have a question about anything we went over in this article, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments! We’ll do our best to help you out.

Happy German learning!

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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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Guide to German Travel Phrases for Tourists and Travelers

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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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The 5 Longest Words in German and Their Meanings

Longest Words in German

The German language is currently the 15th most spoken language in the world. The number of first language speakers according to the 21st edition of Ethnologue is 76 million. Speakers of German are found in 28 countries, located in 6 continents. German has official language status in Belgium, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Austria. You’ll also find German speakers in Kazakhstan, Russia, Brazil, Namibia, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, South Africa and Australia.

Being part of the Indo European language family, the English language and the German language share around 60% of their lexicon. Like most languages, the German language has its own set of quirks and unique features, which at times add to the confusion of German language learners.

Quirky German Language

1. Quirky German language

  • German is a language that is known for being logical. However, the language also has many characteristics that make it confusing as well as inspiring. Here are some of these interesting characteristics.
  • Among the languages in Europe, German is the most spoken. It still ranks first among the most common European languages, besting English, Spanish, French and Italian. German is spoken as a first language by 16% of the population in Europe.
  • In the past, German and English have three genders, but with the changes in English grammar, it uses masculine and feminine and use a gender-neutral nouns and pronouns for persons of undetermined gender. German on the other hand retained the old rule, so it has masculine, feminine and neuter genders.
  • Telling time in German is a bit tricky for language learners. When a German tells you that it’s halb drei or half-three, this does not mean that it is half past the hour of two. Rather, this means that it is 30 minutes to three.
  • Germans are also known for their propensity in creating compound words – words that contain several consonants. Here are a few examples:
    1. der Kühlschrank. The literal meaning of this is cool cupboard, but technically, this refers to a refrigerator.
    2. das Weichei. This is not a very complimentary word. Literally, it’s translated as soft egg, but wimp is its real meaning.
    3. der Tagedieb. You might have guessed correctly. This translates to day thief, but it does not really mean that someone is stealing the day. What it actually means is someone who dawdles, someone who is a layabout or somebody who wastes the day doing nothing.
    4. der Handschuh.This is somewhat understandable, isn’t it. If you guessed that it meant the hand shoe, you got it right! But your hands do not wear shoes. Instead you wear gloves, which is the correct translation of the term.
    5. das Fingerspitzengefühl. This is definitely not the last in the list of German compound word, but this one is quite meaningful. Its literal meaning isthe fingertip feeling. The accurate translation of this phrase is intuitive instinct or flair. It also means tactfulness.
  • Depending on which study results you are looking at, German can be the third or the seventh most studied language in the world. It is safe to say that it belongs to the world’s top 10 most taught languages.
  • The Koreans may have invented the movable printing type but Germany introduced mechanical printing to the world. It printed the first book in movable metal type – the Gutenberg Bible. Contrary to what some people believe, the Gutenberg Bible is not German but rather written in Latin.
  • The German alphabet has 26 letters just like the English language, but it has three umlauted (letters with two dots on top) letters, ä, ö, ü as well as a ligature, ß that is called ein scharfes (sharp S or double S). It is a peculiar letter. If you use double S for ‘Masse‘ when you do not have a German keyboard, it translates to mass. But if you write Maße, it refers to dimensions.

Despite the confusion that is natural to the German language, do not let this deter you from learning German.

Because Germans love using compound words, it is easy for them to construct very long words by combining these compound texts, resulting in words that could be about 30 to over 60 letters in length. At the same time, expect to see lengthy meanings for these words.

Longest Word

2. Longest words in German

Creating compound words is not exclusive to the German language. There are several more languages where you’ll encounter compound words, although German is legendary for having very long words. Even Mark Twain said that due to their length, some of the German words have their own perspective.

1- Siebenhundertsiebenundsiebzigtausendsiebenhundertsiebenundsiebzig

This word contains 65 letters and looks like you’ll run out of breath before you finish saying it. If you look carefully, you might have a clue as to what it actually is. That’s right; it’s about numbers and number 7 to be precise. Because all numbers can be expressed in long words in German, this one is the compound word for seven hundred seventy-seven thousand, seven hundred seventy-seven or 777,777.

2- Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz

This 63-letter term refers to the law for the delegation of monitoring beef labeling. It is officially the longest word that appears in government documents. The law which was passed in 1999 was meant to protect beef consumers from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) or mad cow disease. However, the law has been dropped as the EU declared that testing is not needed anymore. Hence the word will now be a part of history.

3- Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften

There are only 39 letters in Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften, which translates to insurance companies providing legal protection. It’s included here because it holds a Guinness Book of World Records recognition as German’s longest word that is commonly used.

4- Kaftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung

At 36 letters, it is one of the shortest compound words in German. Kaftfahrzeug-Haftpflichtversicherung equates to motor vehicle liability insurance. It is the longest word that is included in the Duden German dictionary.

5- Sozialversicherungsfachangestelltenauszubildender

This 49-letter word is a modern term. It refers to a trainee assistant social insurance broker.
Some of these are not even the longest words Germans ever came up with, but they are quite distinct. Several more are truly unique and tongue twisting.

For example, Betäubungsmittelverschreibungsverordnung (regulation for requiring a prescription for an anesthetic), Massenkommunikationsdienstleistungsunternehmen (companies providing mass communications services) and Nahrungsmittelunverträglichkeit (food intolerance).

Keep Learning

3. Keep Learning German!

Don’t stop learning a new language. German is similar to English so in time you’ll be able to pick up the pace as you learn to recognize the German words and their English equivalent. Find the most suitable online lessons on the German language to support your formal language learning. If you need language translation services, find the best translation company that will meet your requirements.

Author’s bio:
Sean Patrick Hopwood is a polyglot whose interests include technology, the Internet, education, and positive thinking. He is the President and CEO of Day Translations, Inc., a company serving international clients with a wide range of language services including translating, interpreting and website and app localization.

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