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The 5 Go-To German Podcasts for Language Learners


German is a stereotypically hard language to learn.

At some point, you’ve probably stumbled upon memes and videos comparing words in German to those in other languages. And, expectedly, the German words are almost always longer or more difficult to pronounce.

But let’s face it: While German may be slightly unorthodox, it definitely isn’t an impossible language to learn.

The real problem lies not in learning the language, but in mastering it—understanding all of its grammar rules, knowing all the exceptions, and being intimately familiar with all its nuts and bolts. Mastery of German requires full immersion in the language.

Speaking of immersion, few methods compare to intentional listening. German podcasts, in particular, provide a variety of benefits that will help you master the language. Below, we’ll break down just a few of these potential benefits before diving into a list of our favorite German podcasts for language learners.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Benefits of Using Podcasts to Learn German
  2. The 5 Go-To German Podcasts for Language Learners
  3. The Best German Podcasts to Practice Listening
  4. Tricks to Learn German More Effectively with Podcasts
  5. Conclusion

1. Benefits of Using Podcasts to Learn German

Improve your listening skills.

A Woman Talking to a Man

If you live in a German-speaking country and are actively interacting with locals, chances are you’ve already realized the benefits of listening.

On the other hand, if you’re isolated from native speakers or don’t make an effort to interact with them, you’re probably lacking some important skills that every German learner should possess.

Podcasts fill this gap and provide a perfect immersion solution to guarantee you grow your listening skills. In addition, regular listening can help you develop a better feel for German and more easily memorize new vocabulary. That leads us to the next benefit…

Learn new words.

Sticky Note Words

The advancement of your vocabulary is what usually defines your level as a language learner. The more words you know, the higher your fluency level is. A bit of grammar here and there helps, but vocabulary is always the main variable. When you know more words, you’re guaranteed to have smoother conversations with locals and a whole lot more confidence. 

Listening to German-language podcasts will help you grow your vocabulary, give you a feel for the different word cases, and show you how to best articulate sentences in German. 

Familiarize yourself with the culture.

German Flag

Having a strong grasp of German culture is essential if you want to have good conversations with locals. It might surprise you how much the language differs from one German-speaking country to another, largely as the result of cultural differences. 

Podcasts will help you understand how Germans perceive different things according to their culture, and consequently, allow you to handle different conversations with greater ease.

2. The 5 Go-To German Podcasts for Language Learners

Woman Listening to Something with Headphones

All Levels


GermanPod101 is the most consistent, diverse, and active German podcast you can find. The number of available episodes, coupled with our coverage of all learning levels, makes us the go-to resource for a versatile audience of German learners.

If you’ve been learning German primarily through informal methods—such as speaking to friends and family, or even just browsing the internet in German every once in a while—chances are you’re not totally sure about your current level.

The GermanPod101 podcast will save you time and help you slowly assess your level. If you feel, at any point, like you can jump to another level or explore a new topic, you can easily opt for episodes that interest you along the way.

Our podcast episodes range from very short clips of just a few minutes to four-hour compilations of past episodes. You can also find a 24/7 German listening live stream on our official YouTube channel.

This German language learning podcast is a reliable resource for the demanding learner who’s always hungry for new content and information. For access to even more lessons and tools, you can create a free lifetime account on


Coffee Break German

Coffee Break German is one of the best German podcasts for beginners who want to get their feet (or rather, their ears!) wet with German listening. 

The hosts speak slowly and clearly, using an intelligent mix of English and German. In each episode, they present a topic specific to the culture of a German-speaking country and then discuss it in English afterward. 

The podcast is updated weekly, with a few long breaks in between. 


Easy German

Easy German is the most spontaneous of all the podcasts on our list. Each episode consists of the hosts simply going out to the streets of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland to interview people about their day-to-day lives.

Another thing that makes this podcast stand out is the English and German subtitles you can find through their YouTube channel.

The podcast also provides formal language learning episodes covering different topics, so you get a mix of the more “boring” side of language learning along with the more informal Easy German teaching method. 

Slow German mit Annik Rubens

Annik is a successful radio host of Armenian-German descent, famous for the show Schlaflos in München. She has won several awards for her work, and her podcast had 10,000 daily listeners.

Today, she runs the podcast Slow German, where she covers several topics in very slow German. All of the episodes are accompanied by subtitles to help you follow along.

Annik publishes new episodes around every two weeks, averaging two to three episodes per month. The length of the episodes ranges from five to fifteen minutes.



For the advanced learner, podcasts like Elementarfragen present a great challenge. Host Nicolas Semak invites different guests over to ask and discuss questions on a variety of topics: viruses, Mars, the mafia, and more.

Elemntarfragen is updated on a weekly basis. It will help expand your vocabulary within lexical groups you may not have had exposure to yet.

3. The Best German Podcasts to Practice Listening

Now, if you’re a little bit more advanced or just want to get used to the “everyday” German that’s used in daily conversations, we recommend listening to some regular podcasts in German. You might learn some new words and phrases, and you’ll also start to understand German culture and people better.

Here are some of our recommendations:

Almost Daily

In hundreds of episodes and counting, the crew behind Almost Daily talks about literally everything that’s on their minds. There’s usually one leading topic per episode, and all participants share their thoughts and experiences. The topics vary from very absurd ones (like how to prepare for a zombie apocalypse) to more serious ones like first jobs or first apartments. Sometimes, they just play word games such as Stadt-Land-Fluss (“Categories”).

The tone is usually very light and entertaining. This German podcast is a great resource for learning new vocabulary and for getting tips before visiting Germany.


The name of the podcast literally translates to “gossip sisters,” and it’s all about the German social media cosmos. If you’re interested in German YouTube/TikTok/Instagram trends—not to mention some insider information on how the influencer world works—this podcast is a great fit for you. 

This podcast will help you add some social media-related words and slang expressions to your vocabulary. In addition, it’s a great starting point if you’d like to dive into the German YouTube world and discover new people to follow.

Die Sprechstunde 

This podcast is trash talk par excellence—no serious topics, with a focus on pure entertainment. Every few days, the group around the famous German YouTube producer LeFloid gets together and discusses what they’ve experienced the past few days, sometimes even involving topics suggested by listeners. 

If you want to learn German slang and conversational German, then this podcast is for you. Think of it as just a group of friends talking about everything under the sun. 

Weird Crimes

Weird Crimes is just what the title promises. The German journalist and writer Visa Vie talks about true crimes, while input from German comedian Ines Anioli turns her stories into a weird mix of mystery, thriller, and comedy. This podcast offers a unique experience, though it’s not for everyone since the hosts often describe violence.

You might hear some vocabulary related to crimes and the German legal system. 

Fest und Flauschig

What happens when the leading German late-night show host and a sarcastic singer-songwriter come together? Well, then we get Fest und Flauschig (lit. “solid and fluffy”), a highly popular and awarded show. The topics vary from German politics to spirituality, and they’re always discussed with a twinkling eye. 

This podcast is a Spotify original, so it’s limited to one platform. But this didn’t stop it from becoming one of the most popular podcasts in Germany.

You should listen to this podcast if you’re interested in German culture and current events.

4. Tricks to Learn German More Effectively with Podcasts

This is where it gets interesting. Learning through any method can be ineffective if done incorrectly, especially when it comes to listening and reading. You can easily lose focus when practicing these two skills and end up spending lots of time with little in return.

Below, we’ve broken down some tricks for getting the most out of podcast listening. The tips and tricks below will assure you get the most out of your time, whether you’re at home or on the go.

On the Go

A Man Listening on the Go

If you’re an adult, chances are you have certain commitments you need to commute for every day: school, work, picking up the kids from kindergarten, or anything in between.

During your commutes, you can put on a German podcast and take advantage of that time, instead of wasting your time merely staring at traffic or people. But of course, podcasts come with no visuals or graphics to keep your brain engaged at all times. It’s hard to pay attention, especially when you have distractions all around you during your commute.

That’s where these tricks will come in handy. 

  • Train yourself to repeat words and phrases after the host. Many podcasts designed for language learners have specific repetition exercises integrated into each episode, so definitely take advantage of this. Even if you’re listening to podcasts for native speakers, you should try repeating after the host(s) whenever you can. This will help enhance your pronunciation, ingrain new vocabulary into your mind, and keep you attentive throughout the podcast. 
  • Do this twice: on the way there and on the way back. Listening to and repeating after the same episode twice will ensure you memorize even more vocabulary per episode. 
  • Write down new vocabulary words to practice later at home. You can even add them to a digital flashcard deck

At Home

Home sweet home. In the convenience of your own place, you’re in control of pretty much everything when it comes to how you learn using podcasts.

A podcast like GermanPod101 will enable you to access vocabulary lists and cheat sheets created specifically for each episode you listen to. That will allow you to really capitalize on the content of every episode and make sure you don’t miss out on anything. 

To access the materials for an episode, you can check the description for a link. There, you can leverage the different GermanPod101 tools—voice comparison, slowed-down audio, digital flashcards, and more—to get the most out of every podcast.

5. Conclusion

Congratulations on getting this far. You’re now ready to rock and roll with the top German podcasts for your level, as well as the best study methods you can use both on the go and at home.

We recommend you start small with podcasts regardless of your level.

Maybe go down a level, or start out with episodes you may find easier to grasp. Even better, you can opt for a podcast like GermanPod101 that offers episodes for every level. 

After you’ve built a habit of listening to podcasts and have familiarized yourself with German audio, you can start shifting to higher-level podcasts.

Happy learning!
Viel Spaß beim Lernen!

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Intermediate German Words to Level Up Your Vocab


German may sound complicated at first.

It scares off many learners, especially when they listen to people speaking some of its more complicated dialects.

Even as a fluent German speaker, I find it unbelievably hard to understand the Swiss German variety. To this day, I still have to ask if the person can switch to Hochdeutsch (formal German).

But some people, including yourself, may end up managing to get the courage to push past the fear and frustration. Once you do, things will get much easier, especially once you start picking up the essential beginner and intermediate German words. 

Words will start to make more sense, and you’ll slowly but surely start to figure out that a lot of German vocabulary consists of compound words with unique meanings. You’ll start getting more and more compliments on your German, and you’ll start to have a better feel for the German sentence structure.

At this stage, you’re a pre-intermediate learner: someone who is past the beginner level and on a steady road to fluency. On your way there, picking up a lot of vocabulary will be key to having meaningful conversations with native speakers on a greater variety of topics. After all, you don’t want to be pausing mid-conversation to ask what a word means! 

That’s where this article comes in handy.

We’ve taken the time to put together a list of several intermediate German words by category, accompanied by their English translations. In addition, we’ve broken down some of the best ways to retain and practice new vocabulary so that you can efficiently memorize the words below.

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

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Large Numbers – große Zahlen
  2. Nouns – Nomen
  3. Verbs – Verben
  4. Adjectives – Adjektive
  5. Adverbs – Adverbien
  6. Prepositions – Präpositionen
  7. Conjunctions – Konjunktionen
  8. Particles – Partikel
  9. Conclusion

1. Large Numbers – große Zahlen

Number 28 Raised Up

One of the first things you should learn as you approach the intermediate level in German is how to form large numbers. This will help you deal with a variety of everyday situations, such as making expensive purchases or telling someone your age. 

English TranslationGerman WordNumber
“a hundred”einhundert100
“a thousand”eintausend1,000
“ten thousand”zehntausend10,000
“a hundred thousand”Hunderttausend100,000
“a million”eine Million1,000,000

2. Nouns – Nomen

Words in a Dictionary: Hospitable, Hospital, Hospitality

Nouns make up the bulk of our vocabulary, so it’s good for intermediate German learners to pick up as many as they can in different categories. 

Time – Zeit

English TranslationGerman Word

Places – Plätze

English TranslationGerman Word

Technology – Technologie

English TranslationGerman Word

Home – Zuhause

English TranslationGerman Word
“Living room”Wohnzimmer

City & Transportation – Stadt & Verkehr

English TranslationGerman Word

People – Menschen

English TranslationGerman Word

Body Parts – Körperteile

English TranslationGerman Word

Food – Essen

English TranslationGerman Word

Work & Studies – Arbeit & Studium

English TranslationGerman Word

Clothes – Kleider

English TranslationGerman Word

3. Verbs – Verben

List of Verbs

At this point, you already know the most important action words and auxiliaries. To help you level up and expand your vocabulary, here are the essential intermediate German verbs that will allow you to get your point across more accurately. 

German WordEnglish Translation
dienen   “to serve”
verlassen“to leave”
erlauben“to allow”
senden“to send”
bekommen“to get” / “to receive”
leben“to live”
anrufen“to call”
erinnern“to remind”
vorstellen“to introduce”
akzeptieren“to accept”
ablehnen“to refuse”
handeln“to act”
spielen“to play”
erkennen“to recognize”
wählen“to choose”
berühren“to touch”
erklären“to explain”
aufstehen“to get up”
öffnen“to open”
schließen   “to close”
gewinnen“to win”
verlieren“to lose”
existieren“to exist”
erfolgreich sein“to succeed”
wechseln“to change”
arbeiten“to work”
studieren“to study”
schlafen“to sleep”
gehen“to walk”
versuchen“to try”
stoppen“to stop”
weitermachen“to continue”
kochen“to cook”
gehören“to belong”
riskieren“to risk”
lernen“to learn”
treffen“to meet”
erschaffen“to create”
werden“to become”
betreten“to enter”
beenden“to exit”
anbieten“to offer”
bringen“to bring”
benutzen“to use”
erreichen“to reach”
vorbereiten“to prepare”
hinzufügen   “to add”
bezahlen“to pay”
berücksichtigen“to consider”
kaufen“to buy”
drücken   “to push”
einkaufen“to shop”
reisen“to travel”

4. Adjectives – Adjektive

A Woman Sitting by the Sea

If nouns and verbs are the bread and butter of language, adjectives are the honey. These words add a bit of flavor and personality to your speech, allowing you to give vivid descriptions of the world around you. Below are a few German adjectives to get you started. 

German WordEnglish Translation

5. Adverbs – Adverbien

A Woman Reading Quietly

Adverbs help us give more apt descriptions of how (or to what extent) something was done. Here are just a few of the more common German adverbs for you:

When – Wann

German WordEnglish Translation
vor langer Zeit“a long time ago”
zu guter Letzt“at last”

How Often – Wie Oft

German WordEnglish Translation
in der Regel“usually”
die ganze Zeit“all the time”

Where – Wo

English TranslationGerman Word

How – Wie

English TranslationGerman Word

How Much – Wie Viel

German WordEnglish Translation
wie viel“how much”
so viele“so many”
so wenig“so few”

6. Prepositions – Präpositionen

The next set of words we’ll add to your intermediate German vocabulary are prepositions.

Time – Zeit

Quarter of an Hour on a Clock to Express Time

English TranslationGerman Word
“after”nach dem

Space – Raum

English TranslationGerman Word
“next to”neben an
“to the right”nach rechts
“to the left”nach links
“in front of”vor dem

Other – Andere

German WordEnglish Translation
dank an“thanks to”

7. Conjunctions – Konjunktionen

German WordEnglish Translation
weder… noch…“neither… nor…”
so / also“so”
da“since” (as)

8. Particles – Partikel

To conclude our list, let’s look at a few German particles that are used for affirmation, negation, and intensification. 


German WordEnglish Translation


German WordEnglish Translation
auf keinen fall“no way”


German WordEnglish Translation

9. Conclusion

Herzlichen Glückwünsch! (“Congratulations!”)

You should now have a pretty good idea about intermediate German particles, conjunctions, prepositions, adverbs, and more.

Without these words as your weapons, you’d struggle to cross that intermediate learner mark! 

Want to make sure you memorize as many words as possible?

Enter flashcards.

Flashcards are a proven language learning tool for effective memorization. In case you’re interested, there are dedicated apps and online tools for this technique. On, for example, you get automatic access to your own customizable flashcard decks. Don’t have the time to manually add all of your target words? Don’t fret! We also provide ready-to-go flashcard decks for learners at every level. 

What else can our website offer you?

  • Customizable vocabulary tools (wordlists, vocab builders, and more)
  • Slowed-down audio 
  • Line-by-line breakdowns
  • Voice recording tools for pronunciation comparison

Moreover, GermanPod101 has vetted professional, native-speaking German language experts to work with you. They can help you create a personalized learning program and assist you with any questions you may have concerning the German language.

Our platform hosts thousands of written, audio, and video lessons on more topics than you could imagine, all explained and designed by language experts. These lessons will help you make the most of your study time, as they’re based on proven learning methods that guarantee results.

The great news is that GermanPod101 is available on both mobile devices (iPhone/Android) and your desktop browser. All you need to do is sign up for free at and take it from there.

Viel Spaß beim Lernen!
Happy learning!

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German Animal Names: The Ultimate Vocabulary List


Germany is a big country with tons of diversity and an expansive territory.

You can take a swim in the North Sea at Germany’s island of Sylt, go skiing in the Bavarian Alps, or even check out Berlin’s East Side Gallery to see some murals from the post-WWII era.

All of this and more makes Germany an appealing country to visit as a tourist, especially thanks to the country’s abundance and variety of nature. 

One of the most appealing elements of nature—and life in general—is animals. Picking up a few German animal names before your visit is sure to enhance your experience, especially if you plan to spend some time in the great outdoors. 

Even if you never set foot in Germany, learning these basic words will take your German-language skills up a notch and maybe even help you see the world through a fresh set of eyes. After all, many animals are rather similar to us: they have emotions, they survive, and they have many of the same essential needs as we do. 

To help you build your animal vocabulary and limit how often you resort to English, we’ve compiled this masterlist of words for animals in German. 

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

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. At Home (Pets)
  2. On the Farm (Farm Animals)
  3. In the Wild / Forest / Safari (Land Animals)
  4. In the Ocean (Aquatic / Marine Animals)
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds
  7. Reptiles & Amphibians
  8. Animal Body Parts
  9. Animal-Related Idioms and Slang Expressions
  10. Conclusion

1. At Home (Pets)

Cute Cat

Cats are the #1 pet of choice in Germany. In fact, a mere 22 percent of households in Germany are home to more than 14 million cats in total. (Dogs are a close second!)

Not only is Germany pet-friendly, but the treatment they give to their pets is simply outstanding. Yet, if you’re a foreigner (especially from outside the European Union) planning to move to Germany with your pet, you’ll want to make sure you become familiar with the legal procedures.

All pets are tax-exempt in Germany, except for non-rescue dogs. For these, you’ll have to pay a Hundesteuer every year.

Here’s a list of nine at-home pet names in German:

Meerschweinchen“Guinea pig”

2. On the Farm (Farm Animals)


Germany is one of the most developed countries in terms of agriculture, and 80% of the country’s total land is used for forestry and agricultural activities.

Germany is known for its fast adoption of technology in agriculture, as it’s replacing more and more farm workers with machinery over time. 

With the great significance agriculture carries in Germany, you never know when the need may arise for some animal vocabulary. Below, you’ll find the names of a few farm animals in German to get you started.


3. In the Wild / Forest / Safari (Land Animals)

Green Forest

Germany hosts several beautiful national parks, most notably the Bavarian Forest National Park and the Eifel National Park. Considering that 2% of Germany’s territory is covered by wilderness, there are more than enough options to satisfy adventurers and nature lovers.

Your adventures are bound to be more interesting when you could stumble upon wolves, foxes, boars, and a number of other wild animals on your trek! 

    → Intrigued by wildlife? Then head over to our video lesson on forest animal vocabulary to learn more useful words for wild animals in German!

Eisbär“Polar bear”

4. In the Ocean (Aquatic / Marine Animals)

Dolphin Hopping Out of the Water

Germany is mostly landlocked, but it does border two large bodies of water up north:

  • the North Sea (Nordsee) to the West 
    • This is Europe’s most significant shipping lane and a major fishing source for Western Europe.
  • the Baltic Sea to the East

There are also a variety of lakes (such as Lake Constance [Bodensee] and Chiemsee) that are home to beautiful marine animals and fish.

Here’s a list of 12 aquatic animals in German and English to get you started:

Seegurke“Sea cucumber”

5. Bugs and Insects

Wasp on Skin

Over the last 30 years, more than 75% of total flying insect mass has disappeared from German skies. These numbers are not unheard of in other countries, and they should sound an alarm to us humans that we ought to become more environmentally aware.

While it does not help the environment, less bugs and insects in the sky does mean less trouble to deal with. This would guarantee better sleep than what you would get in, say, Indonesia or another tropical country—especially if you like to camp or keep the windows open at night.

With that being said, there are several situations where knowing some German vocabulary to describe bugs and insects could come in handy. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 12 bugs and insects in German along with their English translations:


You can also hear and practice the pronunciation of different bugs and insects on our website! 

6. Birds

Birds are arguably some of the most beautiful animals. They come in a rich variety of body types and colors, and there are endless species to enjoy. 

Like with pets, Germany is a very nice country for birds. It is home to several bird protection organizations, and there is continuous collaboration with the European Union for the same purposes.


7. Reptiles & Amphibians

Reptiles are always an interesting topic to talk about, especially when we’re talking about the more dangerous species (think black mambas!). 

Germany may not be well-known for its reptiles and amphibians, as Australia and Southeast Asian countries would definitely beat it in this department. But in reality, the country is large and diverse enough to host a good variety of species. For example, you can spot wall lizards in Stuttgart, European pond turtles in Geisenheim, and sand lizards in Dotzheim.

Below is a short list of reptiles and amphibians in German for you to review: 

Meeresschildkröte“Sea turtle”

8. Animal Body Parts

Detail is important, and a good animal description should never lack it. 

We’ve compiled a list of animal body parts to help you describe your favorite animals:


9. Animal-Related Idioms and Slang Expressions

Now that you’ve acquired a good bit of German animal vocabulary, you may enjoy finding creative ways to put these words to use. Here are several idioms and slang expressions in German that mention animals: 

Da wird ja der Hund in der Pfanne verrückt.
“The dog in the pan is going crazy.”
That’s enough to drive you round the bend!
Jemanden einen Bären aufbinden.
“To untie someone a bear.”
To lead someone up the garden path.
Ein blindes Huhn findet auch ein Korn.
“A blind chicken happens to find corn too.”
A blind hen happened to find a grain.
Die Katze im Sack kaufen.
“To buy a cat in a bag.”
To buy a pig in a poke.
Mit dir habe ich noch ein Hühnchen zu rupfen.
“I still have a chicken to pick with you.”
I still have an axe to grind with you.
Du benimmst dich wie ein Elefant im Porzellanladen.
“You act like an elephant in a porcelain shop.”
Like a bull in a china shop.
Das geht auf keine Kuhhaut.
“It doesn’t fit on a cow’s skin.”
It beggars description.
Mein Name ist Hase, ich weiß von nichts.
“My name is Hare, I know nothing.”
I have no clue. / I have nothing to do with that.
Da steppt der Bär.
“There the bear steps.”
The mood is great there.
Du hast doch ‘nen Vogel.
“You have a bird.”
You are insane.
Alles für die Katz.
“Everything for the cat.”
It was all a waste of time.

Want to spice up your German a little more? Then head over to our vocabulary list Essential Idioms That Will Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker and our lesson Some of the Most Common Slang Expressions in Germany

10. Conclusion

There you have it. You have now learned tons of information about wildlife in Germany, and you’re ready to hold a conversation about its most ferocious and beautiful animals. To practice, let us know the name of your favorite animal in German! 

Feel like you want even more practice? Are you struggling to create your own sentences and hold comfortable conversations in German?

An efficient learning resource might be what you’re looking for.

That’s where GermanPod101 comes in. 

With thousands of audio, video, and text lessons, GermanPod101 is a comprehensive resource that learners of all levels (beginner, intermediate, or advanced) can rely on. 

What makes GermanPod101 effective is the integrations that make our program work. Lessons come with cheat sheets and transcripts, and you can use tools for line-by-line breakdowns, pronunciation comparison, online flashcards, and even more. With our MyTeacher service, you can also study 1-on-1 with a native-speaking German language expert. 

Don’t just take my word for it. Go to and try it all for yourself.

Signup is free and straightforward, and no credit card is required.

Viel Spaß beim Lernen!
Happy learning!

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30+ German Phone Call Phrases


Remember the last time you had to make an important call? 

When you had that shaky feeling in your chest…the one you get right after you hear the ring on the other end?

Or maybe you’re one of those gifted people who can screw up their courage and take it easy.

While we’re slowly ditching what used to be the main function of telephones—voice calling—for things like texting and Facebook, there are still moments when we need to pick up the phone. 

This in mind, language learners will still benefit from memorizing a few German phone call phrases in today’s SMS-based world. While in Germany, you’ll have to order food from a new favorite restaurant, call the local barbershop for a reservation, or phone your boss with an urgent question. 

Things that are socially challenging in your own language become even more intense when a foreign language like German is involved! 

To make your life easier, GermanPod101 has put together a list of more than 30 phrases for phone calls in German. We’ve also included conversation examples to give you a better idea of how to use them and to help you become an effective communicator over the phone

Let’s dig in…

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Picking up the Phone
  2. Saying Who You Are
  3. Stating the Reason for Your Call
  4. Asking to Speak to Someone
  5. Asking Someone to Wait
  6. Leaving a Message
  7. Asking for Clarification
  8. Ending the Phone Call
  9. Sample Phone Conversations
  10. Conclusion

1. Picking up the Phone

Woman on the Phone

To get started, let’s look at a few different ways you can answer a phone call in German. Remember that the greeting you use will depend on whether the call is formal or casual in nature. 

If you’re talking to a friend, use this:


And if you’re talking to an unknown or formal caller, then use one of the next expressions:

[Last name] at the telephone.
[Last Name] am Apparat.

[Last name].

Good morning!
Guten Morgen!

Good day!
Guten Tag!

Good evening!
Guten Abend!

Such a phone call might proceed as follows:

A: Schmidt.
B: Guten Tag Frau Schmidt.

A: “Schmidt.”
B: “Good day Mrs. Schmidt.”

2. Saying Who You Are

The next thing you’ll want to do is introduce yourself. This is rather formal in German, especially when talking to a stranger or someone with whom you have a formal relationship. Here’s the most ideal expression to use: 

This is [name].
Hier spricht [Name].

Literally, the phrase above translates to: “Here speaks [name].”

If you’re receiving a call from a customer or someone at work, use the following expression:

This is [name], from [company].
Hier Spricht [Name] von [Firma].

3. Stating the Reason for Your Call

Pan on the Phone

This is the most crucial part of your phone call. Not knowing what to say here will make your call pretty much pointless. Before you get on the phone or expect a call, make sure you rehearse this part to make it easier for whoever is on the other end.

If you’re calling to make a certain request, use the following phone call phrase:

I’m calling to ask… / confirm… / make a reservation.
Ich rufe an, um zu fragen … / zu bestätigen … / eine Reservierung vorzunehmen.

Need help with something in particular? Use this expression:

I’d like to speak to someone about… 
Ich würde gerne mit jemandem über… sprechen.

If you missed someone’s call, you can call back and say:

I’m calling back, because someone tried to reach me from this number.
Ich rufe zurück, da jemand versucht hat, mich von dieser Nummer zu erreichen.

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

Stressed Out Woman on the Phone

When asking to speak to someone—such as a friend via their home phone number or an individual in a specific position via their company’s fixed telephone number—the following expressions will come in handy.

May I speak to…? 
Kann ich mit… sprechen?

Is [name] there? 
Ist [Name] da?

5. Asking Someone to Wait

Waiting in line can get very frustrating, especially when it’s a matter of urgency. Therefore, it’s crucial for you to master the necessary stay-on-the-line expressions in German:

Let me check quickly. 
Lassen Sie mich kurz nachschauen.

I’ll put you on hold for a second. 
Ich werde Sie für eine Sekunde in die Warteschleife legen.

I’ll transfer you to the right office. Stay on the line please. 
Ich werde Sie mit dem richtigen Büro verbinden. Bleiben Sie bitte in der Leitung.

6. Leaving a Message

A Man Using His Cell Phone

Voicemail among friends and family is slowly becoming obsolete. But in business, it’s still relevant and very important for urgent calls.

Here are three expressions you can use to leave a message next time you have to make a business phone call in German: 

Please let him know… 
Bitte sagen Sie ihm…

Can I leave a message? 
Kann ich eine Nachricht hinterlassen?

Can you tell him to call me back at [phone number]? 
Können Sie ihm sagen, er soll mich unter [Telefonnummer] zurückrufen?

7. Asking for Clarification

Asking for clarification is especially relevant when you’re at that beginner stage, or if you often face network issues that might interrupt your call.

Sorry, could you say that again? 
Entschuldigung, können Sie das noch einmal sagen?

I’m sorry, but I’m having a hard time hearing you. I think there’s a bad connection.
Es tut mir leid, aber ich kann Sie kaum hören. Ich glaube die Verbindung ist schlecht.

Could you spell your name for me, please? 
Könnten Sie bitte Ihren Namen buchstabieren?

Just to double check… 
Nur um sicher zu gehen…
Lit. “Just to make sure…”

You can also ask your caller if they speak English, just in case:

Do you speak English?
Sprechen Sie Englisch?

8. Ending the Phone Call

Woman on the Phone Checking the Time

Whether your call went well or not, it’s always worth leaving a nice impression at the end.

Anything else I can help with? 
Kann ich sonst noch helfen?

You’ve been very helpful. Thank you. 
Sie waren sehr hilfreich. Vielen Dank.

See you on (day) at (time). 
Wir sehen uns am (Tag) um (Zeit).

Have a great day. 
Ich wünsche ihnen einen wunderschönen Tag.

9. Sample Phone Conversations

To give you a better idea of how a phone conversation in German might go, we’ve included two sample dialogues for you: one informal and one formal. 

Informal phone conversation

Two friends are setting up a time to meet for lunch on a weekend. Here is a short conversation they’ve had on the phone.

Paul: Hallo.
Marie: Hallo.

Paul: Hello.
Marie: Hello.

Paul: Wie geht’s dir?
Marie: Gut. Ich lerne für eine Prüfung. Und dir?

Paul: How are you doing?
Marie: Good. I’m studying for an exam. How about you?

Paul: Mir geht es gut, danke. Ich lese ein Buch. 
Marie: Schön.

Paul: I’m good, thanks. I’m reading a book.
Marie: Nice.

Paul: Bist du am Wochenende in der Stadt?
Marie: Ja, hast du irgendwelche Pläne?

Paul: Are you in town on the weekend?
Marie: Yes, you have any plans?

Paul: Wollen wir zusammen Lunch essen?
Marie: Ja, warum nicht! Wann genau?

Paul: Should we have lunch together?
Marie: Yeah, why not! When exactly?

Paul: Samstag Nachmittags?
Marie: Können wir uns gegen 14:00 Uhr treffen?

Paul: In the afternoon.
Marie: Could we meet around two p.m.?

Paul: 15 Uhr wäre besser.
Marie: Hört sich gut an.

Paul: I prefer three p.m.
Marie: Sounds good.

Paul: Bis dann!
Marie: Bis dann, tschüss!

Paul: See you!
Marie: See you, bye!

Formal phone conversation

After they set the time and place, one of the friends calls the restaurant to reserve a table. Here is an example of a short phone conversation for this situation. 

Paul: Guten Tag!
Rezeptionistin: Hamburgs Hamburger – Guten Tag!

Paul: Good day!
Receptionist: Hamburg Hamburgers – Good day!

Paul: Ich möchte einen Tisch für zwei Personen reservieren.
Rezeptionistin: Für wann möchten Sie reservieren?

Paul: I would like to reserve a table for two.
Receptionist: For when would you like to reserve?

Paul: Ich würde gerne für Samstag reservieren.
Rezeptionistin: Gerne, wie viel Uhr?

Paul: I’d like to reserve a table for Saturday.
Receptionist: Surely, what time?

Paul: 15 Uhr, bitte.
Rezeptionistin: Samstag, 15 Uhr, zwei Person. Auf welchen Namen?

Paul: Three in the afternoon, please.
Receptionist: Saturday, three p.m., two people. And what’s your name please?

Paul: Paul Schmidt.
Rezeptionistin: Perfekt, Herr Schmidt. Bis Samstag!

Paul: Paul Schmidt.
Receptionist: Perfect, Mr. Schmidt. See you on Saturday!

10. Conclusion

And there you go.

You’re now all set to start taking and making phone calls in German like a boss. How confident are you? Are there any phrases or situations you’d still like to learn before your next all-German call?

As long as you let your interlocutor know that you’re not a native speaker, a few basic sentences to get the point across will do.

You’ll have people speak to you in slower-than-usual German, and that’ll make it easier for you to understand.

You should also rehearse what you have to say for different conversations, as this will help you get more and more comfortable with phone convos. 

Not convinced you can pull that off easily?

Then you might want to grasp a few more German words before making that phone call.

For that, I recommend checking out GermanPod101.

Here, you can find pretty much all the lessons you might need to go from beginner to advanced.

In fact, our system is equipped with some of the most effective language learning techniques. This includes features like pronunciation comparison, slowed-down German audio, online flashcards, slideshows, and more. 

All of these features and more are incorporated within a proven learning system. This ensures that you learn the language in the shortest amount of time possible. 

You also get access to dedicated tutors who can answer your questions and help explain any German rules or words you might be struggling with.

Take advantage of GermanPod101’s free trial and check it all out for yourself. No credit card required.

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200+ Basic German Words for Beginners


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

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty relieving to know this, right? 

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

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

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

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

1. Pronouns

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

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

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

Personal Pronouns

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

you (plural)ihr
memich / mir
youdich / dir
himihm / ihn

Demonstrative Pronouns

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


Interrogative Pronouns / Question Words

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

English German 
whomwen / wem

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


2. Numbers

Multicolored Numbers

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

NumbersEnglish German 
8eight acht

3. Nouns

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


Wall Clock

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

hour Stunde


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

English German 
butcherMetzger (m.) / Metzgerin (f.)
woodmanHolzfäller (m.) / Holzfällerin (f.)
police officerPolizist (m.) / Polizistin (f.)
doctorArzt (m.) / Ärztin (f.)
nurseKrankenpfleger (m.) / Krankenschwester (f.) 
firefighterFeuerwehrmann (m.) / Feuerwehrfrau (f.)
teacherLehrer (m.) / Lehrerin (f.)

Places Around Town

A Building in South Africa

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

English German 
city hallRathaus
main squareHauptplatz
police stationPolizeistation
train stationBahnhof
bus stationBushaltestelle

School/Office Essentials

Man Shaking Hand in Office

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

English German
pencil caseFedermappe

Body Parts

English German 


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


4. Verbs

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

Daily Routine Verbs

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

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

Other Common Verbs

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

5. Adjectives

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

Describing Objects

English German 

Describing People

English German
short klein

Describing Emotions

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

stressed outgestresst

Describing Weather

English German 

6. Conjunctions

English German 
and und
soso / also

7. Others

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

I see (sudden understanding)ach so

8. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Wondering where and how to learn those other 800 words?

Buckle up and head to

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

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

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

No credit card or unnecessary information required.

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

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German Filler Words: Speak Deutsch Like a Native


Imagine if everything in language was straightforward and perfect.

Like, literally.

No typos. No jokes. No slang.

Just everyone meaning business.

It wouldn’t be much fun, would it?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A- What are filler words?

Question Mark on a Blackboard

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

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

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

B- Why do we use them?

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

We want to be polite.

Three Individuals Talking Politely

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

That’s where filler words come in.

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

We want to be understood.

A Man and Woman Communicating

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

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

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

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

We want to lie or deceive.

Pinocchio Nose

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

2. The Top 10 German Filler Words

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

1 – Also (So)

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

Example #1

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

Example #2

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

2 – Eigentlich (Actually)

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

Example #1

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

Example #2

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

3 – Stimmt. (That’s right.)

Example #1

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

Example #2

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

4 – Bestimmt (Definitely)

Example #1

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

Example #2

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

5 – Ach so (I see)

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

Example #1

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

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

Example #2

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

6 – Klar (Sure)

Klar is used to express agreement in German.

Example #1

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

Example #2

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

7 – Halt (Simply)

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

Example #1

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

Example #2

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

8 – Tja (Well)

Example #1

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

Example #2

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

9 – Schon (Already)

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

Example #1

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

Example #2

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

10 – Doch (Nevertheless)

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

Example #1

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

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

Example #2

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

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

3. Pros and Cons of Filler Words

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

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

A- Pros of Using Filler Words

Four Friends Hanging Out

You sound more natural.

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

You sound friendlier.

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

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

B- Cons of Using Filler Words

A Woman Shrugging with an Uncertain Look on Her Face

You’re considered hesitant.

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

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

You’re perceived as having low self-confidence.

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

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

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

C- How to Substitute Filler Words

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

“Silence speaks when words can’t.”

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

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

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

4. Conclusion

And, congratulations!

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can also take advantage of several easy-to-use features like word lists, flashcards, slideshows, a voice-recording tool, slowed-down audio, and more.

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Viel Spaß beim Lernen!
Happy learning!

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


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

Makes sense, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four People Making Heart Signs with Their Hands

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

You are pretty.
Du bist hübsch.

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

You are attractive.
Du bist attraktiv.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Couple Giving Cheers on a Date

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

I love you.
Ich liebe dich.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I miss you.
Ich vermisse dich.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smiling Couple

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

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

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

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

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

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

Will you marry me? 
Willst du mich heiraten?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Endearment Terms

Couple Cooking and Smiling

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


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


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

Little bear 

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


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

Mouse bear

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


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

5. Must-Know Love Quotes

A Man Looking at a Woman Romantically

Love conquers all.
Liebe überwindet alles.

Love is blind.
Liebe ist blind.

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

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

Opposites attract.
Gegensätze ziehen sich an.

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

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

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

6. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Enter GermanPod101.

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

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

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

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

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Negation in German: How to Form Negative Sentences


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Negative Sentences

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

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

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

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

A- When to Use Nicht

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

Have a look at the examples below:

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

B- Where to Put Nicht

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

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

  • Wir warten nicht.
    We are not waiting.

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

A Family Waiting Outside the Bathroom for Another Family Member

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

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

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

We place nicht before prepositions:

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

C- When to Use Kein

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

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

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

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

2. How to Answer with a No

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Doch in German

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

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

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

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

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

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

The game is on. Aren’t you coming?

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

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

3. Other Useful Negative Expressions

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

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

An Old Man Shrugging His Shoulders

I don’t understand anything.

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

  • A- Noch nicht

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

    This means “nothing” or “not anything”:

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

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

    Niemand hat mir geholfen.
    No one helped me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. How Our Website Can Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why learn German? Here are 10 great reasons.


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

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

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

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

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

The German Flag Against a White Background

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

1. Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

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

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

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

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

Reason 1: It changes the way you think.

A Man in Deep Thought about Something

Learning a foreign language opens your mind. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reason 3: It can improve brain function.

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

A White Sketch of a Brain Against a Black Background

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

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

2. Personal and Professional Benefits

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

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

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

A Christmas Market in Munich, Germany

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

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

Reason 5: It’s great for business.

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

People Discussing Something in a Business Meeting

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Is it Easy?

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

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

Reason 8: English speakers have a head start.

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

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

Reason 9: Life in European countries will be easier. 

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

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

A Woman Lying on the Grass with Headphones On

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

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

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

4. The Fastest Way to Learn German

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

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

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

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

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

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German Tenses: All You Need to Know


First of all, what is a verb? 

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

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

A Man Studying Using His Laptop

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

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

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

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

1. The Use of Tenses in German

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

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

1. Present (Präsens)

2. Present perfect (Perfekt)

3. Past simple (Imperfekt/Präteritum)

4. Past perfect (Plusquamperfekt)

5. Future (Futur I

6. Future perfect (Futur II)

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

A Simple Clock against a White Background

2. Present 

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

We use the German Präsens to express…

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

Das ist Andreas.
That’s Andreas.

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

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

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

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

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

A Football Stadium

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

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

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

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

3. Past

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

A- Simple Past

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

B- Present Perfect

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

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

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

  • Ich habe gelernt. (I have learned.)

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

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

This works with all regular verbs. 

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

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

A Couple at the Supermarket

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

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

C- Past Perfect

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

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

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

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

4. Future

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

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

A Woman Writing Something at a Wooden Desk with a Typewriter

A- Futur I

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

In German, we use it to express:

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

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

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

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

B- Future Perfect

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

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

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

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

5. German Tenses: A Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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