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Master Simple German Questions and Answers for Beginners

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Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to tonight’s round of German Questions Extraordinaire! 

Does that sound like a quiz show you would watch? It would certainly help out your German!

Perhaps you’ve realized that every time you have a German conversation, you’re kind of on a quiz show yourself. Conversations tend to be built around questions and answers—especially the kinds of conversations that you’re likely to have as a foreign student of German.

Therefore, practicing the following German questions and answers for beginners will provide you with the tools you need to sail through opening conversations like they’re nothing.

In a typical German conversation, questions and answers like the ones we’ll introduce today will come up all the time. Try them out now and see how you like them!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Contestant Number One
  2. You and Your Home
  3. Whose Language is it Anyway?
  4. Language Follow-Ups
  5. Travel Time
  6. Compare a Few Places
  7. All Eyes on Food
  8. What Do You Do?
  9. What’s Going On?
  10. The Price is Right
  11. Conclusion

1. Contestant Number One

Two People Shaking Hands with Each Other
  • Wie heißen Sie?
    “What’s your name?”

We begin the show today with the verb heißen, meaning “to be called.” As you can see, the pronoun here is the formal Sie, as opposed to the informal du. In general, younger people and people commenting online use du with one another (there’s even a verb for that: duzen), while one would use Sie with older people and in very formal situations.

To answer the question, simply use the same verb:

  • Ich heiße Martin.
    “My name is Martin.”

There’s actually another way to form this sentence that’s perhaps a little less common, but still familiar amongst native German-speakers. This one is a near-carbon copy of the English question:

  • Wie ist ihr Name?
    “What is your name?”
  • Mein Name ist Gloria.
    “My name is Gloria.”

The only difference compared to the English version is that German uses wie, meaning “how,” here instead of was, or “what.” 

2. You and Your Home

First Encounter

Log on to any online language chat room and introduce yourself as a German-learner; people will absolutely ask you where you’re from. It’ll happen in Germany, too!

  • Woher kommen Sie?
    “Where do you come from?”

The first word here, woher, is an interesting quirk of German grammar. It means “from where” because wo is the “where” part and her is a particle meaning “to here.” So literally, you’re saying “From where to here do you come?”

To answer, we’ll need a preposition:

  • Ich komme aus Ungarn.
    “I come from Hungary.”

Aus simply means “out,” so literally, you’re expressing coming “out of a place.” There’s no need to use the her particle because it’s already been established by the context and the preposition.

3. Whose Language is it Anyway?

Let’s bring ourselves back to the basics for a moment. Here’s a German question you probably heard in movies long before you actually started studying the language. 

  • Sprechen Sie Deutsch?
    “Do you speak German?”

Germans traveling abroad sometimes seem to have a sixth sense about who can speak German. You may end up getting this question even if you’re not in Germany!

There are a couple of good answers, depending on your comfort level.

  • Ja, ein bisschen.
    “Yes, a little.”
  • Ja, wie kann ich Ihnen helfen?
    “Yeah, what can I do for you?”
  • Natürlich!
    “Of course!”

If you find yourself lost for words in German-speaking lands, it’s a good idea to learn the names of other languages you can handle, just in case. 

  • Sprechen Sie Japanisch?
    “Do you speak Japanese?”
  • Können Sie Englisch?
    “Can you speak English?”

There’s another German quirk right there: it’s acceptable to say “I can English” without specifying the verb “to speak.” Don’t try that with other skills, though. That sentence structure is reserved only for languages!

4. Language Follow-Ups

Introducing Yourself

Once you’ve established that you’re not from Germany and are, in fact, capable of speaking the German language, people tend to get curious. After all, they’ve probably met at least one foreigner with pretty flawed German, and you, on the other hand, are doing quite well. 

  • Wie lange lernen Sie schon Deutsch?
    “How long have you been learning German?”

German doesn’t have a tense that corresponds to “have been doing” in English. Instead, Germans simply use the present tense. The answer works the same way:

  • Ich lerne Deutsch seit vier Jahren.
    “I’ve been learning German for four years.”

The use of seit, meaning “since,” instead of für, meaning “for,” causes confusion in both German and English. Look carefully for people making this mistake in English-language internet comments, and you’ll probably find a couple of Germans!

The use of schon, or “already,” is optional here, but it can be readily adopted into the answer as well:

  • Schon elf Jahre.
    “Eleven years already.”

5. Travel Time

Berlin, Germany

Let’s assume that you’re learning German at home in a country far away from Germany, Austria, or Switzerland. If you happen to come across a native speaker and strike up a conversation, you may get tossed this question:

  • Waren Sie schon mal in Deutschland?
    “Have you ever been to Germany?”

Here, we’re substituting waren, or “were,” as the past tense instead of the English “have you ever been.” It’s possible to say that in German, of course:

  • Sind Sie schon mal in Deutschland gewesen?
    “Have you ever been to Germany?”

However, this is rather stilted and definitely a mark of older speech or writing. 

Also note the use of mal. This literally means “time” or “occurrence,” as in “one time, two times…” Here, it doesn’t really have a word-for-word translation; instead, it simply lends the flavor of “ever been.” You can think of schon mal as a set phrase in that regard.

  • Ich war 2015 in Berlin.
    “I went to Berlin in 2015.”
  • Ja, dreimal insgesamt.
    “Yeah, three times in total.”

Here, mal has its traditional meaning as part of dreimal, or “three times.”

6. Compare a Few Places

Germans are educated folks, and they tend to be quite open to traveling and new perspectives. Just go on YouTube and look for kultur shock (culture shock) to find a bunch of different vloggers talking about their experiences abroad. 

It’s not uncommon for a German conversation to include a genuinely interested question about what things are like in your country.

  • Und wie ist es in Amerika?
    “And what is it like in America?”
  • Gibt es so etwas in Mexiko?
    “Do they have this in Mexico?”

You can, of course, give as simple or as complicated of an answer as you want. In fact, some of the most high-level German exams ask you specifically to compare things in your home country to those in Germany.

So you have virtually unlimited options for description here. Let’s keep it basic with these sample answers:

  • Nein, so was haben wir gar nicht!
    “No, we don’t have that kind of thing at all!”
  • Ja, aber es ist bei uns anders.
    “Yes, but it’s different with us.”

Again, we can see some differences in the way that English and German use prepositions. It’s bei uns, meaning “by us,” instead of mit uns, or “with us.” 

7. All Eyes on Food

A German Christmas Dinner

Germans probably wouldn’t say that they’re particularly proud of German food, but it’s a common-enough conversation topic that it’s good to practice. Here are some good questions in German you can try out.

  • Was mögen Sie an deutsches Essen?
    “What do you like about German food?”
  • Mögen Sie deutsches Essen?
    “Do you like German food?”

This is a situation where telling a bit of a white lie doesn’t hurt (assuming you’re not a fan of the food, of course).

  • Ja, alles schmeckt sehr gut!
    “Yes, everything tastes very good!”
  • Ich esse gern Weißwurst.
    “I like eating white sausage.”

Here we’ve got the great particle gern, which can’t really be translated on its own, but instead is used after a verb to express enjoyment of that action.

8. What Do You Do?

People Working on a Creative Advertising Campaign

Everybody’s got to do something to bring home the bacon. How about you?

  • Was machen Sie beruflich?
    “What do you do for your job?”

If you haven’t already brushed up on the names for jobs and careers in German, definitely check out our vocab list. 

People aren’t going to need a complicated description of what you do, especially if you’re in a niche field like insurance or SEO marketing. 

Instead, stick to a general field:

  • Ich schreibe Werbungen.
    “I write advertisements.”
  • Ich bin Krankenschwester.
    “I’m a nurse.”

Remember, when you talk about job titles in German, you don’t need to use an article the way you would in English.

9. What’s Going On?

To be frank, an introduction question like this is much more of a set phrase than an actual inquiry into your well-being.

  • Wie geht es Ihnen?
    “How’s it going?”

The easy answer is Gut or Sehr gut, but your answer could also be the opening to any one of several classic conversation topics.

  • Nicht so gut bei diesem Wetter!
    “Not so well in this weather!”

10. The Price is Right

A Man Paying with a Twenty-Buro banknote

Germany isn’t really a country known for street markets or haggling, but a phrase for asking the cost of something is one worth knowing.

  • Wie viel kostet es?
    “How much does it cost?”

Even if you’re not haggling, you can still get use out of this phrase in cafes and restaurants that might not have all of the prices posted. 

  • Es kostet zwei Euro.
    “It costs two euros.”

Just as we’re wrapping up here, we get a nice sentence that perfectly maps onto English. The only thing to note is that wie viel, or “how much,” is sometimes written as one word: wieviel. But with the new spelling reforms of the 21st century, using two words is considered correct.

11. Conclusion

Congratulations! You’ve won a ticket to German fluency! 

These common German questions and answers represent just the smallest beginning of the wide expanse of German conversations available to you. 

For more excellent resources to take you from the beginning all the way through advanced German levels, try out GermanPod101! Listening to real-life situations in podcasts and following along with the transcripts and vocab lists will help you pick up the German language smoothly and painlessly. 

Check it out now, and watch your questions about German disappear into thin air!

Before you go, why not try practicing these questions and answers in German straight away? Answer one or more of the questions in this article in German. We look forward to hearing from you!

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

German Keyboard: How to Install and Type in German

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You asked, so we provided—easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up your electronic devices to write in German! We’ll also give you a few excellent tips on how to use this keyboard, as well as some online and app alternatives if you prefer not to set up a German keyboard.

Log in to Download Your Free German Alphabet Worksheet Table of Contents
  1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in German
  2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for German
  3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer
  4. How to Change the Language Settings to German on Your Computer
  5. Activating the German Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet
  6. German Keyboard Typing Tips
  7. How to Practice Typing German

1. Why it’s Important to Learn to Type in German

A keyboard

Learning a new language is made so much easier when you’re able to read and write/type it. This way, you will:

  • Get the most out of any dictionary and German language apps on your devices
  • Expand your ability to find German websites and use the various search engines
  • Be able to communicate much better online with your German teachers and friends, and look super cool in the process! 

2. Setting up Your Computer and Mobile Devices for German

A phone charging on a dock

It takes only a few steps to set up any of your devices to read and type in German. It’s super-easy on your mobile phone and tablet, and a simple process on your computer.

On your computer, you’ll first activate the onscreen keyboard to work with. You’ll only be using your mouse or touchpad/pointer for this keyboard. Then, you’ll need to change the language setting to German, so all text will appear in German. You could also opt to use online keyboards instead. Read on for the links!

On your mobile devices, it’s even easier—you only have to change the keyboard. We also provide a few alternatives in the form of online keyboards and downloadable apps.

3. How to Activate an Onscreen Keyboard on Your Computer

1- Mac

1. Go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Check the option “Show Keyboard & Character Viewers in Menu Bar.”

3. You’ll see a new icon on the right side of the main bar; click on it and select “Show Keyboard Viewer.”

A screenshot of the keyboard viewer screen

2- Windows

1. Go to Start > Settings > Easy Access > Keyboard.

2. Turn on the option for “Onscreen Keyboard.”

3- Online Keyboards

If you don’t want to activate your computer’s onscreen keyboard, you also have the option to use online keyboards. Here are some good options:

4- Add-ons of Extensions for Browsers

Instead of an online keyboard, you could also choose to download a Google extension to your browser for a language input tool. The Google Input Tools extension allows users to use input tools in Chrome web pages, for example.

4. How to Change the Language Settings to German on Your Computer

Man looking at his computer

Now that you’re all set to work with an onscreen keyboard on your computer, it’s time to download the German language pack for your operating system of choice:

  • Windows 8 (and higher)
  • Windows 7
  • Mac (OS X and higher)

1- Windows 8 (and higher)

  1. Go to “Settings” > “Change PC Settings” > “Time & Language” > “Region & Language.”
  2. Click on “Add a Language” and select “German.” This will add it to your list of languages. It will appear as Deutsch (Country of your choice) with the note “language pack available.”
  3. Click on “Deutsch” > “Options” > “Download.” It will take a few minutes to download and install the language pack.
  4. As a keyboard layout, you’ll only need the one marked as “German – Deutsch.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts.

2- Windows 7

1. Go to Start > Control Panel > Clock, Language, and Region.

2. On the “Region and Language” option, click on “Change Keyboards or Other Input Methods.”

3. On the “Keyboards and Languages” tab, click on “Change Keyboards” > “Add” > “German.”

4. Expand the option of “German” and then expand the option “Keyboard.” Select the keyboard layout marked as “German.” You can ignore other keyboard layouts. Click “OK” and then “Apply.”

3- Mac (OS X and higher)

If you can’t see the language listed, please make sure to select the right option from System Preferences > Language and Region

1. From the Apple Menu (top left corner of the screen) go to System Preferences > Keyboard.

2. Click the Input Sources tab and a list of available keyboards and input methods will appear.

3. Click on the plus button, select “German,” and add the “German” keyboard.

Adding a system language

5. Activating the German Keyboard on Your Mobile Phone and Tablet

Texting and searching in German will greatly help you master the language! Adding a German keyboard on your mobile phone and/or tablet is super-easy.

You could also opt to download an app instead of adding a keyboard. Read on for our suggestions.

Below are the instructions for both iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.

1- iOS

1. Go to Settings > General > Keyboard.

2. Tap “Keyboards” and then “Add New Keyboard.”

3. Select “German” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by tapping and holding on the icon to reveal the keyboard language menu.

2- Android

1. Go to Settings > General Management > Language and Input > On-screen Keyboard (or “Virtual Keyboard” on some devices) > Samsung Keyboard.

2. Tap “Language and Types” or “ + Select Input Languages” depending on the device and then “MANAGE INPUT LANGUAGES” if available.

3. Select “Deutsch” from the list.

4. When typing, you can switch between languages by swiping the space bar.

3- Applications for Mobile Phones

If you don’t want to add a keyboard on your mobile phone or tablet, these are a few good apps to consider:

6. German Keyboard Typing Tips

Typing in German can be very challenging at first! Therefore, we added here a few useful tips to make it easier to use your German keyboard.

A man typing on a computer

1- Computer

  • Windows 10: Hot keys to activate the keyboard – “Windows + Strg + O”
  • Windows 10: Open the Start menu > enter “Bildschirmtastatur,” > click on “Bildschirmtastatur” among the available options. This will bring up the Windows keyboard pre-installed on your computer.
  • You have the Umlauts “Ü” (to the right of the “P”) and “Ö” and “Ä” to the right of the “L” available, as well as the “ß” next to “0” (zero).
  • Decimal separators in German and English are vice-versa(!): English – 999.50 EUR. German – 999,50 EUR. English – 1,000.50 EUR. German – 1.000,50 EUR.

2- Mobile Phones

  • To type the German umlauts ä, ö, ü, and the ß: Tap and hold the letter to which you’ll add the umlaut. For example, to type an ä, tap and hold the “a” key. Wait for the symbols list to open. Swipe your finger along the line until you reach the “ä” and then take your finger off the screen to insert it. Use the same process with the corresponding letters to create an ö or an ü. For the ß, use the “s.”
  • Decimal separators in German and English are vice-versa(!): English – 999.50 EUR. German – 999,50 EUR. English – 1,000.50 EUR. German – 1.000,50 EUR.

7. How to Practice Typing German

As you probably know by now, learning German is all about practice, practice, and more practice! Strengthen your German typing skills by writing comments on any of our lesson pages, and our teacher will answer. If you’re a GermanPod101 Premium PLUS member, you can directly text our teacher via the My Teacher app—use your German keyboard to do this!

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100 Hand-Picked German Verbs for Your Everyday Life

You know, German treats verbs differently.

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

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

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

1. Regular Tourist Verbs in German

City of Bremen in Germany

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

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

1. gehen – “go”

Wo gehen Sie hin?

“Where are you going?”

2. schlafen – “sleep”

Ich kann nicht schlafen.

“I can’t sleep.”

3. bleiben – “stay”

Wie lange bleibst du hier?

“How long are you staying here?”

4. bezahlen – “pay”

Kann ich mit der Karte bezahlen?

“Can I pay with a card?”

5. essen – “eat”

Was wollen Sie essen?

“What do you want to eat?”

6. trinken – “drink”

Gibt’s noch was zum trinken?

“Is there anything else to drink?”

7. kaufen – “buy”

Ich kaufe nur Android Handys.

“I only buy Android phones.”

8. verkaufen – “sell”

Ich möchte meine alten Kleider verkaufen.

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

9. bestellen – “to order (food)”

Möchten Sie bestellen?

“Would you like to order?”

10. bummeln – “to wander”

Nach der arbeit, bummelte er noch durch die Stadt.

“After work, he wandered through the city.”

11. chillen – “to relax,” “to chill”

Ich möchte heute etwas in dem Park chillen.

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

12. wandern – “to hike”

Kann man in den Bergen wandern?

“Can you hike in the mountains?”

13. reservieren – “to reserve”

Sie haben kein Zimmer reserviert.

“You haven’t reserved a room.”

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

Er feiert nächste Woche seinen Geburtstag.

“He’s celebrating his birthday next week.”

15. saufen – “to get drunk”

Saufen wir zu viel?

“Do we drink too much?”

Top Verbs

2. Verbs at Home

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

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

16. aufwachen – “wake up”

Ich muss jeden Tag um sechs Uhr früh aufwachen.

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

17. aufstehen – “to get up”

Ich stehe um zehn Uhr auf.

“I get up at ten.”

18. schlafen – “to sleep”

Sie schläft immer noch.

“She’s still sleeping.”

19. sich die Zähne putzen – “brush teeth”

Ich putze mir gerade die Zähne, warte mal kurz.

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

20. sich die Haare bürsten – “brush hair”

Ich hasse es, wenn jemand mir die Haare bürstet.

“I hate it when someone brushes my hair.”

21. das Bett machen – “make the bed”

Wann wirst du dein Bett machen?

“When are you going to make your bed?”

22. sich duschen – “to shower”

Ich dusche mich zweimal in der Woche.

“I take a shower twice a week.”

23. staubsaugen – “to vacuum”

Bitte, könntest du unter dem Bett noch mal staubsaugen?

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

24. bügeln – “to iron”

Ich bügle nie meine Hemden.

“I never iron my shirts.”

25. waschen – “to wash”

Hast du deine Hände gewaschen?

“Did you wash your hands?”

26. aufräumen – “to clean up”

Können Sie bitte die Küche aufräumen?

“Could you please clean up the kitchen?”

27. fernsehen – “to watch TV”

Ich sehe selten fern.

“I don’t watch TV often.”

28. lesen – “to read”

Was lesen Sie gerade?

“What are you reading now?”

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

Hörst du deutsche Hörbücher?

“Do you listen to German audiobooks?”

3. Verbs in the Kitchen

Couple Preparing Food in the Kitchen

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

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

30. kochen – “to cook,” “to boil”

Ich koche jeden Tag Eier.

“I cook eggs everyday.”

31. umrühren – “to stir”

Rühr die Suppe um.

“Stir the soup.”

32. backen – “to bake”

Kannst du Kekse backen?

“Can you bake cookies?”

33. vorheizen – “to preheat”

Den Backofen auf einhundert achtzig Grad vorheizen.

“Preheat the oven to one hundred eighty degrees.”

34. erhitzen – “to heat up”

Erhitzen Sie das Öl in der Pfanne.

“Heat up oil in the pan.”

35. einfrieren – “to freeze”

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

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

36. frühstücken – “to eat breakfast”

Ich frühstücke immer auf Arbeit.

“Where are we going to eat breakfast?”

37. Abendessen essen – “eat dinner”

Er isst Abendessen allein zu Hause.

“He is eating dinner alone at home.”

38. anbrennen – “to burn (food)”

Oh nein, ich habe das Sandwich angebrannt!

“Oh no, I burned the sandwich!”

39. schneiden – “to cut”

Wir schneiden den Teig mit einem Messer.

“We cut the dough with a knife.”

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

Das hier schmeckt nach altem Käse.

“This tastes like old cheese.”

41. probieren – “to try”

Schnecken würde er niemals probieren.

“He would never give snails a try.”

42. salzen  – “to salt”

Als Nächstes werde ich das gericht salzen.

“Next, I’ll salt the dish.”

4. Verbs at the University

People Taking a Test in a University Classroom

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

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

43. schreiben – “to write”

Ich kann nicht so gut schreiben.

“I can’t write very well.”

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

Ich studiere Geschichte als Hauptfach.

“I’m studying history as my major.”

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

Haben Sie für die Prüfung gelernt?

“Did you study for the test?”

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

Du hast das ganze Buch auswendig gelernt?!

“You learned the whole book by heart?!”

47. anmelden – “to register”

Wo melde ich mich an?

“Where do I register?”

48. forschen – “to research”

Forschen Sie lieber oder lehren Sie lieber?

“Do you prefer researching or teaching?”

49. sich verabreden – “make an appointment”

Wir haben uns schon verabredet.

“We’ve made an appointment.”

50. den Unterricht schwänzen – “to skip classes”

Ich habe niemals im Leben den Unterricht geschwänzt.

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

51. spicken – “to cheat”

Sie wurden beim spicken erwischt.

“They were caught cheating.”

52. bestehen – “to pass”

Ich will meine Deutschprüfung bestehen!

“I want to pass my German test!”

53. durchfallen – “to fail”

Viele Studenten sind dieses Jahr durchgefallen.

“Lots of students failed this year.”

54. wiederholen – “to repeat”

Können Sie das bitte wiederholen?

“Could you please repeat that?”

55. überzeugen – “to convince”

Ich bin immer noch nicht überzeugt.

“I’m still not convinced.”

56. vorlesen – “to read aloud”

Kannst du den Satz bitte vorlesen?

“Could you please read the sentence aloud?”

57. lehren – “to teach”

Er lehrt im Gymnasium.

“He teaches at the secondary school.”

58. verpassen – “to miss”

Ich habe meinen Bus verpasst!

“I missed my bus!”

59. einen Abschluss machen – “to graduate”

Sie hat ihren Abschluss noch nicht gemacht.

“She hasn’t yet graduated.”

5. Verbs at Work

Two Women Going Over Work-related Papers

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

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

60. Kaffee machen – “to brew coffee”

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

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

61. pünktlich sein – “to be on time”

Wie kann er immer pünktlich sein?

“How can he always be on time?”

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

Das Kind verspätet sich immer.

“The child is always late.”

63. anstellen – “to hire”

Stellen Sie hier viele Frauen an?

“Do you hire many women here?”

64. entlassen – “to fire”

Vorsicht, du könntest dafür entlassen werden.

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

65. arbeiten – “to work”

Wo arbeiten Sie?

“Where do you work?”

66. kündigen – “to quit”

Ich werde in zwei Wochen kündigen.

“I’m quitting in two weeks.”

67. erklären – “to explain”

Wir können diese Situation erklären.

“We can explain this situation.”

 68. jammern – “to babble”

Er jammert stundenlang in seinem Büro.

“He babbles constantly in his office.”

69. telefonieren – “to make a call”

Haben Sie mit der Abteilungsleiterin telefoniert?

“Did you call the department manager?”

70. drucken – “to print”

Wir drucken zu viele Sachen.

“We’re printing too many things.”

71. speichern – “to save”

Ich habe das Dokument nicht gespeichert!

“I didn’t save the document!”

72. schicken – “to send”

Ich habe es dir in einer E-Mail geschickt.

“I sent it to you via email.”

73. verhandeln – “to negotiate”

Ich muss ein besseres Gehalt verhandeln.

“I have to negotiate a better salary.”

More Essential Verbs

6. Verbs for Your Spare Time

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

Here are a few German hobby verbs to memorize.

74. zeichnen – “to draw”

Ich zeichne keine Menschen.

“I don’t draw people.”

75. skizzieren – “to sketch”

Er skizziert ein Turm.

“He sketches a tower.”

76. malen – “to paint”

Ich male gern mit den Kindern.

“I like to paint with the kids.”

77. fotografieren – “to take photos”

Ich fotografiere viele Blumen.

“I take a lot of pictures of flowers.”

78. Gitarre spielen – “to play guitar”

Es ist lange her seitdem ich Gitarre gespielt habe.

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

79. programmieren – “to program”

Ich programmiere sechs Stunden pro Tag.

“I program for six hours a day.”

80. klettern – “to climb”

Ist es erlaubt, hier zu klettern?

“Is it allowed to climb here?”

81. aufnehmen – “to record”

Ich nehme alle meiner Lieder auf.

“I record all my songs.”

82. üben – “to practice”

Ich übe jeden Tag Deutsch.

“I practice German everyday.”

83. fahren – “to drive,” “to ride”

Ich fahre gern Fahrrad.

“I like riding bikes.”

84. bolzen – “to play soccer”

Manchmal nach der Arbeit gehe ich mit den Jungs bolzen.

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

7. Verbs at the Gym

Woman and Man Weightlifting at the Gym

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

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

85. trainieren – “to exercise”

Trainierst du jeden Tag?

“Do you work out everyday?”

86. laufen – “to run”

Sie läuft im Park.

“She is running in the park.”

87. Gewichte heben – “to lift weights”

Wieviel kannst du heben?

“How much can you lift?”

88. pumpen – “to work out”

Ich war gestern im Fitnessstudio pumpen.

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

89. joggen – “to jog”

Ich jogge zwei mal die Woche im Mauerpark.

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

90. schwimmen – “to swim”

Kann man in dem Rhein schwimmen?

“Can you swim in the Rhine?” 

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

Kriegst du keine Muskelkater?

“Don’t you ever get sore muscles?”

92. sich wiegen – “to weigh oneself”

Du solltest dich nicht zu oft wiegen.

“You shouldn’t weigh yourself too often.”

93. sich entspannen – “to relax oneself”

Es ist schwer, mich zu entspannen.

“It’s hard to relax.”

94. abnehmen – “to lose weight”

Ich versuche etwas abzunehmen.

“I’m trying to lose some weight.”

95. zunehmen – “to gain weight”

Ich nehme immer noch zu.

“I’m still gaining weight.”

Negative Verbs

8. Verbs on a Date

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

96. rauchen – “to smoke”

Rauchst du?

“Do you smoke?”

97. lachen – “to laugh”

Sie lachten laut und lang.

“They laughed loud and long.”

98. lächeln – “to smile”

Er lächelte und sagte, sie sei schön.

“He smiled and said she was beautiful.”

99. umarmen – “to hug”

Sie haben sich zum Abschied umarmt.

“They hugged each other goodbye.”

100. küssen – “to kiss”

Kann ich dich küssen?

“Can I kiss you?”

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

9. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

You And Me Against the World Of German Pronouns

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You already know you need to learn about German pronouns. They’re a small but absolutely indispensable part of learning a new language.

Congratulations – you mostly know them already!

German pronouns are almost the same as the English ones, with just a couple more here and there. You know, plural second person, formal address, all that good stuff like in other European languages.

The only difficult part is, well, the grammar. Each pronoun has several different forms based on what case it’s in. You not only need to know what that means, but you also need to get used to actually making those changes during natural speech.

Since cases are the key to really understanding German pronouns, let’s start with those.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in German Table of Contents
  1. Opening Up The Cases
  2. German Pronouns in the Nominative
  3. Accusative German Pronouns
  4. Dative German Pronouns
  5. Genitive Case
  6. Conclusion

1. Opening Up The Cases

Introducing Yourself

Cases, for all their difficult reputation, are just different forms of words to mark their grammatical function, such as subject or object in the sentence. English shows that only with pronouns: she is the subject form (“she does something”) of an English pronoun, and her is the object (“something happens to her”).

German marks many parts of speech for case, especially pronouns. German has four cases, but that doesn’t mean four pronoun forms – there are overlaps. You’ll see that very quickly.

Traditionally, the German cases are known as Nominative (subject), Accusative (object), Dative (indirect object), and Genitive (possession).

Let’s have a look at an English sentence to illustrate.

         Her brother gave me the book.

Here, “her” is a possessive pronoun. “Brother” is the subject. “Me” is the indirect object. And “the book” is the direct object.

All of these kind of blend together in English, but in German, the parts of the sentence are usually crystal clear.

This, by the way, doesn’t mean German is any better or worse of a language than English for having cases.

It’s simply the way the language developed. Thousands of years ago, every language spoken in Europe had complex cases, but over time, some of them combined and others were lost entirely in different languages. It’s a natural cycle, and in a few more centuries German might lose its cases – or even give them to English!

2. German Pronouns in the Nominative

Woman Looking in Rearview Mirror

“Nominative” is the first German case, used to mark the subject. It’s the basic form of the word, and therefore the simplest to translate directly into English.

Here’s a brief chart of the personal pronouns in English and their counterparts in German, all in the nominative case.

EnglishGerman
Iich
You (informal)du
You (plural)ihr
Wewir
Heer
Shesie
Ites
You (formal)Sie
Theysie

As you can tell, German distinguishes between three different kinds of “you:” Formal, used for talking to strangers older than you or people like bosses or professors; informal, used for friends, relatives, and strangers younger than you, and plural, used when you’re talking to a group of people in an informal setting. When speaking formally to a group, the formal pronoun pulls double duty.

This makes sense from an English perspective too, by the way. A couple of centuries ago, “you” was both the plural and the formal in English, and “thou” was the informal singular. German still makes that  distinction – and even uses ihr to refer to one person in particularly formal or traditional settings, such as an apprentice to their master.

Also take note of capitalization! Only the formal Sie is always capitalized in German, though du is sometimes capitalized in advertisements or in magazines for young people. It can seem a little weird for English speaker to keep ich in lowercase, though naturally that’s balanced out by all the other capital letters floating around in German.

Let’s see some examples!

Sie ist Taxifahrerin.

She is a taxi driver.

Sie sind ein guter Lehrer.

You’re a good teacher.

Sie haben heute viel zu tun.

They have a lot of work to do today / You have a lot of work to do today.

These sentences illustrate how you have to rely on either the verb conjugation, the context, or both to make the meaning clear. Here, though, are some easier ones:

Ich wohne in Belgien.

I live in Belgium.

Hast du Hunger?

Are you hungry?

3. Accusative German Pronouns

One Man Helping Another Climb Mountain

“Accusative” is the case that marks the object. First, the chart for reference.

EnglishGerman
Memich
You (informal)dich
You (plural)euch
Uswir
Himihn
Hersie
Ites
You (formal)Sie
Theysie

Not a whole lot of difference from the nominative case! Less than half change at all from nominative to accusative. And here’s how you know when to make that change.

Whenever you’d say “me” in English to express the same concept, use the accusative in German. Think about a couple of verbs for a moment: “Pat sees me.” “The coach hit me.” Those verbs are going to be accusative in German too, and so look at the examples:

Hast du ihn gesehen?

Did you see him?

Ich werde euch nicht beraten.

I won’t give you (plural) advice.

Magst du mich?

Do you like me?

It’s easy to find lists online of the most common accusative verbs in German. You can also look for set phrases, because many German preposition-verb combinations take a specific case. Thus, for “to think of somebody,” the preposition is always an and the phrase is an jemanden dachten.

Of course, knowing when to use the pronouns is one thing, but learning to actually produce them accurately under pressure is more difficult.

4. Dative German Pronouns

A Weekly Planner

The “dative” case marks the indirect object. In German, some verbs require a dative case pronoun even if you think it would logically be accusative, such as “to help.”

Können Sie mir helfen?

Can you help me?

That’s not mich like we learned before! Take a look at the next chart:

EnglishGerman
Memir
You (informal)dir
You (plural)euch
Usuns
Himihm
Herihr
Itihm
You (formal)Ihnen
Theyihnen

English no longer distinguishes between accusative and dative. Instead, you can think of dative as being something like “to me.” Whenever you want to say “to me” in English, translate it as mir in German.

These pronoun forms, if anything, are used more frequently than accusative forms in everyday German.  Of course that depends on what you’re talking about and what verbs you’re using, but take service German for instance.

Wir wünschen Ihnen einen schönen Tag.

We wish you a good day.

5. Genitive Case

Basic Questions

By the way, what happened to the genitive case?

To be honest, there are in fact genitive pronouns in German, but they’re very rarely used. Here’s a list of those pronouns:

  • meiner “of me”
  • deiner “of you “
  • Ihrer “of you”
  • seiner “of him, of it” 
  • ihrer “of her, of it” 
  • seiner “of it” 
  • unser “of us” 
  • euer “of you”
  • Ihrer “of you “
  • ihrer “of them” 
Person Washing Hands

So fall, all of our charts have been separated by case. That was to make it easier to handle. Crack open any German textbook, though, and you’ll see a nice big chart with every case all at once. 

Now that you’re comfortable with each case at a time, let’s open it up and show off the demonstrative pronouns in every German case.

MasculineFeminineNeutralPlural
Nominativedieserdiesediesesdiese
Accusativediesendiesediesesdiese
Dativediesemdieserdiesemdiesen
Genitivediesesdieserdiesesdieser

This looks surprisingly like the charts for ordinary German articles – so once you learn the case endings for those, you’re good to go here as well!

In written or formal German, the word jener is used to say “those,” while dieser is used for “these.” Jener has the same endings, so it’s not too hard to learn, but the truth is, people just say dieser for both “these” and “those.”

Kennen Sie diesen Mann?

Do you know this man?

Mit der Hilfe meiner Frau, habe ich diese Stelle bekommen.

With the help of my wife, I got this job.

One more important type of pronoun is a reflexive pronoun, used with a huge number of German verbs.  It’s the equivalent to English pronouns like “myself” or “ourselves.” Also, it’s mostly identical to the accusative and dative pronouns we saw earlier, but with one nice simplification.

The only change is that you have to say sich (in both accusative and dative) for the third person. Put another way, “himself,” “herself,” and “itself” all translate to sich in German.

Sie wäscht sich täglich.

She is washing herself everyday.

6. Conclusion 

Improve Listening

You might be thinking, “Do I really have to memorize those charts?”

Well, yes and no. Memorizing the charts and being able to write them by hand does have some real advantages. You’ll be able to compose and revise accurate texts, for one, since you’ll know all the rules by heart.

But developing a feel for the language is just as important.

And that comes with time. It’s a slow process that requires a whole lot of actual German content to be read, watched, and listened to.

Fortunately, you can achieve both goals quite easily right here on GermanPod101.com! We have excellent grammar resources as well as a real treasure trove of vocabulary lists – and that’s not even mentioning our flagship podcast series!

Relax with our German learning material and watch as it slowly becomes second nature to use the correct German pronoun every time.

In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comments section with any questions you have about German pronouns. We’ll do our best to help!

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Premium PLUS: The Golden Ticket for Language-Learning

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Do you remember the moment you fell in love with languages?

Do you desire to learn or advance in German quickly and effectively?

Then you need a German tutor.

A common question that first-time language-learners ask is “Where do I begin?” The answer? Guidance.

For native English-speakers who want to learn Asian languages, for example, timelines provided by the U.S. Foreign Service Institute can appear discouraging. However, defeating these odds is not unheard of. If you want to beat the odds yourself, one of the best learning options is a subscription to Premium PLUS from Innovative Language.

As an active Premium PLUS member of JapanesePod101.com and KoreanClass101.com myself, I have an enjoyable experience learning at an accelerated pace with at least thirty minutes of study daily. The following Premium PLUS features contribute to my success:

  • Access to thousands of lessons
  • A voice recorder 
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As someone who decided to make Japanese her second language one year ago, I am extremely grateful for Premium PLUS.

Allow me to emphasize on how these Premium PLUS features strengthen my language studies.

Gain Unlimited Access to Audio and Video Lessons!

Woman learning a language with Premium PLUS on a tablet

As a Premium PLUS member, I have full access to the lesson library and other Premium features. Best of all, I’m not limited to one level; I can learn to my heart’s content with upper-level courses.

There are lessons on various topics that tackle crucial language-learning elements, such as:

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Specifically, there are pathways. Pathways are collections of lessons that center on a specific topic. Some Innovative Language sites, like JapanesePod101.com, even have pathways geared toward proficiency tests. For example, the JLPT N3 Master Course pathway.

Because of the abundance of lessons, I’ve found pathways in the lesson library to help me prepare for certain events. Thanks to the “Speaking Perfect Japanese at a Restaurant” pathway, I spoke fully in Japanese while dining in Japan. Additionally, I participated in conversations at language exchange meetups in South Korea after completing the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway.

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As someone who’s constantly on-the-go, I heavily benefit from mobile access to lessons. Podcasts and lesson notes are available on the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS.

All lessons and their contents are downloadable. Prior to my flights to Japan and South Korea, I downloaded lessons on my iPhone. The apps make learning more convenient for me during my commutes.

Practice Speaking with the Voice Recording Tool!

a young man practicing his pronunciation with a microphone headset

Pronunciation is an essential ingredient in language-learning. Proper pronunciation prompts clear understanding during conversations with native speakers.

Prior to learning full Korean sentences, my online Korean language tutor assigned the “Hana Hana Hangul” pathway to me. It demonstrated the writing and pronunciation of Hangul, the Korean alphabet. Throughout this pathway, I submitted recordings of my Hangul character pronunciations to my language teacher for review.

I was given a similar task on JapanesePod101.com with the “Ultimate Japanese Pronunciation Guide” pathway. My Japanese language teacher tested my pronunciation of the Japanese characters kana. My completion of the two pathways boosted my confidence in speaking.

Speaking is one of the more challenging components of learning a language. The voice recording tool in particular was a great way for me to improve my speaking skills. Further, because the lesson dialogues are spoken by native speakers, I’m able to practice speaking naturally.

This feature is also available for vocabulary words and sample sentences. Being able to hear these recordings improves my pronunciation skills for languages like Japanese, where intonation can change the meaning of a word entirely. The voice recorder examines my speed and tone. I also follow up by sending a recording to my online language tutor for feedback.

A great way to boost one’s speaking confidence is to shadow native speakers. During the vocabulary reviews, it’s helpful for me to hear the breakdown of each word; doing so makes a word that was originally difficult to even read a breeze to say!

Some lessons create opportunities to speak your own sentences. For example, the “Top 25 Korean Questions You Need to Know” pathway presents opportunities to answer questions personally. This helps you gain the ability to give answers as the unique individual you are.

Example Scenario:

The host asks the following question:

어디에 살고 있습니까?

eodieseo salgo isseumnikka

“Where do you live?”

If you live in Tokyo, you would readily say the following:

도쿄에 살고 있습니다.

Tokyo-e salgo isseumnida.

“I live in Tokyo.”

Increase Your Vocab with Spaced-Repetition Flashcards and More!

A child learning words with flashcards

Imagine having a conversation with a native speaker and hesitating because you lack a solid vocabulary base.

Premium PLUS offers various features to expand learners’ vocabulary, including Free Gifts of the Month. GermanPod101’s free gifts for April 2020 included an e-book with “400 Everyday Phrases for Beginners,” and the content is updated every month. When I download free resources like this, I find opportunities to use them with co-teachers, friends, or my language tutors.

An effective way to learn vocabulary is with SRS flashcards. SRS is a system designed for learning a new word and reviewing it in varying time intervals.

You can create and study flashcard decks, whether it’s your Word Bank or a certain vocabulary list. For example, if you need to visit a post office, the “Post Office” vocabulary list for your target language would be beneficial to study prior to your visit.

In addition to the SRS flashcards, each lesson has a vocabulary slideshow and quiz to review the lesson’s vocabulary.

There’s also the 2000 Core Word List, which includes the most commonly used words in your target language. Starting from the 100 Core Word List, you’ll gradually build up your knowledge of useful vocabulary. These lists can be studied with SRS flashcards, too.

With the SRS flashcards, you can change the settings to your liking. The settings range from different card types to number of new cards per deck. Personally, I give myself vocabulary tests by changing the settings.

After studying a number of flashcards, I change the card types to listening comprehension and/or production. Then I test myself by writing the translation of the word or the spoken word or phrase.

The change in settings allow me to remember vocabulary and learn how to identify the words. This is especially helpful with Japanese kanji!

Complete Homework Assignments!

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Homework assignments are advantageous to my language studies. There are homework assignments auto-generated weekly. They range from multiple-choice quizzes to writing assignments.

Language tutors are readily available for homework help. Some writing assignments, for instance, require use of unfamiliar vocabulary. In such cases, my language teachers assist me by forwarding related lessons or vocabulary lists.

In addition to these auto-generated homework tasks, language tutors customize daily assignments. My daily homework assignments include submitting three written sentences that apply the target grammar point of that lesson, and then blindly audio-recording those sentences. My personal language tutor follows up with feedback and corrections, if needed.

Your language tutors also provide assignments upon requests. When I wanted to review grammar, my Korean teacher sent related quizzes and assignments. Thus, you are not only limited to the auto-generated assignments.

Every weekend, I review by re-reading those written sentences. It helps me remember sentence structures, grammar points, and vocabulary to apply in real-world contexts.

Furthermore, I can track my progress with language portfolios every trimester. It’s like a midterm exam that tests my listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills.

Get Your Own Personal Language Teacher!

A woman teaching pronunciation in a classroom

My language teachers cater to my goals with personalized and achievable learning programs. The tangible support of my online language teachers makes it evident that we share common goals.

Once I share a short-term or long-term goal with my teacher, we establish a plan or pathway that will ultimately result in success. I coordinate with my teachers regularly to ensure the personalized learning programs are prosperous. For example, during my JLPT studies, my Japanese language tutor assigned me practice tests.

Your language tutor is available for outside help as well. When I bought drama CDs in Japan, I had difficulty transliterating the dialogue. My Japanese teacher forwarded me the script to read along as I listened.

Additionally, I often practice Korean and Japanese with music. I memorize one line of the lyrics daily. Every time, I learn a new grammar point and new vocabulary. I add the vocabulary to my SRS flashcards, locate the grammar in the Grammar Bank, and study the associated lessons online.

I send my teachers the name of the songs, making them aware of my new goal. One time, my song for Korean was “If You Do” by GOT7. My Korean teacher revealed that she was a huge fan of GOT7 like me! For Japanese, it was “CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA,” also known as the Dragonball Z theme song. My Japanese teacher excitedly told me that she sang the song a lot as a kid!

A remarkable thing happened to me in South Korea. I was stressed about opening a bank account with limited Korean. I sought help from my Korean teacher. She forwarded me a script of a bank conversation.

After two days, I visited the local bank. It all started with my opening sentence:

은행 계좌를 만들고 싶어요

eunhaeng gyejwaleul mandeulgo sip-eoyo.

I want to open a bank account.

Everything went smoothly, and I exited the bank with a new account!

The MyTeacher Messenger allows me to share visuals with my teachers for regular interaction, including videos to critique my pronunciation mechanisms. I improve my listening and speaking skills by exchanging audio with my teachers. In addition to my written homework assignments, I exchange messages with my language teachers in my target language. This connection with my teachers enables me to experience the culture as well as the language.

Why You Should Subscribe to Premium PLUS

It’s impossible for me to imagine my continuous progress with Japanese and Korean without Premium PLUS. Everything—from the SRS flashcards to my language teachers—makes learning languages enjoyable and clear-cut.

You’re assured to undergo the same experience with Premium PLUS. You’ll gain access to the aforementioned features as well as all of the Premium features.

Complete lessons and assignments to advance in your target language. Increase your vocabulary with the “2000 Core Word List” for that language and SRS flashcards. Learn on-the-go with the Innovative Language app and/or Podcasts app for iOS users.

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As of right now, your challenge is to subscribe to Premium PLUS! Complete your assessment, and meet your new German teacher.

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Subscribe to Posted by GermanPod101.com in Feature Spotlight, German Language, German Online, Learn German, Site Features, Speak German, Team GermanPod101

Throw Out Your Talking Clock: Telling Time in German

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Did you know that Germans aren’t that punctual?

They have a reputation for always being on time, sure.

But the Deutsche Bahn, the German train system, has more delayed trains than you might imagine.

Given that fact, and all the other pressures of modern life, you’ll need to be quite aware of the time in Germany. Do you know how to ask for it?

Or, perhaps, how to talk about time in general? 

This article is more than just a phrasebook for telling time in German. Time touches a lot of facets of everyday life and language, and the phrases you learn here are things that you can carry over into the rest of your German studies.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Time Phrases in German Table of Contents
  1. Asking Others for the Time
  2. Hours in German
  3. Minutes and Seconds
  4. Describing Lengths of Time
  5. When Did it Happen?
  6. International Time in German-Speaking Countries
  7. Time in German Idioms
  8. Conclusion

1. Asking Others for the Time

Time

Actually asking people the time in German is dead simple. That said, asking “What time is it?” in German does use a rather different structure than English.

  • Entschuldigung, wie spät ist es jetzt?

“Excuse me, what time is it?”

Here, you’re actually saying “How late is it?” To an English speaker, this might seem like a weird thing to ask, especially in the morning, but in Germany it’s totally fine.

Another equally common way of asking about time in German is with this phrase:

  • Wieviel Uhr haben wir?

“What time is it?”

This is closer to the English question, in a broad sense. If you think about it, saying “what time” doesn’t make a whole lot of sense anyway. In German, this translates to “How many hours do we have?” This at least fits logically into the whole counting-hours thing that our clocks do.

Just as in English, you can also make any question to a stranger slightly more polite by adding “Do you know” in front of it. In German, this actually reverses the word order of the sentence, so we end up with this phrase:

  • Wissen Sie, wie spät es jetzt ist?

“Do you know what time it is now?”

Speaking of hours, the next step we’ve got to take is to understand the answer. No good knowing the question if we can’t!

2. Hours in German

Large Hourglass Against Dark Background

When telling time in German, imagine that the German language has gone and given names to each of the hours on the clock face. Fortunately for you, these are very boring names.

Each name is just the number, from one to twelve, and often from one to twenty-four.

  • Es ist vier Uhr.

“It’s four o’clock.”

  • Jetzt ist es sieben Uhr.

“It’s seven o’clock.”

Remember that the Uhr here is mandatory. There are some cases where you can drop it, but not right now. You can’t say the equivalent of “It’s four.”

In Germany, you’ll always see the twenty-four-hour clock used for schedules, signs, and other official information. Many people continue to use the twelve-hour clock when speaking to one another, however.

This requires an equivalent of what we call “a.m.” and “p.m.” in English. Where English speakers borrow the terms from Latin, German speakers use native German words here: vormittags and nachmittags.

  • Es ist knapp drei Uhr nachmittags.

“It’s almost three p.m.”

Here, German is rather flexible, as you could sub in morgens (“morning”), abends (“evening”), mittags (afternoon”), or nachts (“nighttime”).

  • Es ist zwei Uhr nachts.

“It’s two at night (two a.m.).”

3. Minutes and Seconds

Man Pointing to Wristwatch

The next logical step here is to learn how to combine talking about hours with talking about minutes. After all, there’s only 24 minutes a day when the time is an hour sharp!

  • Es ist zwei Uhr zwanzig.

“It’s two-twenty.”

Simple as that! And in fact, this is the place mentioned earlier where you don’t exactly need to say the word Uhr each time.

  • Es ist achtzehn fünfzig.

“It’s 18:50 (six-fifty p.m.).”

In German, there are several different ways to divide the hour so that you’re not left reading off the numbers as if from a clock.

The word halb in German looks an awful lot like “half,” but here’s one thing that really trips a lot of learners up. If you hear someone say halb sieben, it doesn’t mean “half past seven.” Instead it means “halfway to seven,” or six-thirty!

When it comes to quarter-hours, the word you need is das Viertel, which really refers to a quarter of anything, not just an hour. You’ll also need the prepositions vor (“before”) and nach (“after”). German prepositions can get rather tricky, but fortunately they’re easy as pie when telling time! 

  • Es ist Viertel vor sechs.

“It’s a quarter to six (five forty-five).”

  • Es ist Viertel nach zehn.

“It’s a quarter after twenty (ten-fifteen).”

Sometimes, you may hear people just saying:

  • Viertel zwölf.

    “Quarter twelve.”

This is actually something that many German people get confused with, since whether it’s used or not  depends on the region. Even though not everyone is using it, it’s still seen as a common way to tell the time in German. If you can master this, you’ll sound like a real native.

In this particular example, viertel zwölf means eleven-fifteen. Confusing, eh? The idea behind telling the time like this is to give the information that a quarter of an hour passed until twelve. Imagine having a round cake, and only a quarter is left. You’d say:

  • Ein Viertel der Torte

“A quarter of the cake”

Now exchange “cake” with zwölf, and you’ll have a quarter of twelve, which is eleven-fifteen. You can also say: 

  • Drei viertel zwölf

“Three quarters of twelve”

On the other hand, you could interpret this as eleven forty-five, because three quarters of twelve have already passed.

Don’t worry if you don’t get it straight away. As mentioned before, many Germans in the western part of the country don’t understand this either. 

That should just about cover it! However, learning to tell the time in German is only half the battle. We can use time words and expressions to describe a lot more!

4. Describing Lengths of Time

Woman Thinking about Length of Time

What if you’re not being specific at all? How would you guesstimate how long something takes?

  • Wie lange wird es dauern?

“How long is it going to take?”

  • Wie lange bis wir fertig sind?

“How long until we’re finished?”

Those are the kind of questions everyone asks, from kids on long car rides to bosses looking over your shoulder at your project.

If you can, giving a nice vague answer can be an excellent way to sound natural and push off your real answer, as the situation may require.

  • Es wird ungefähr ein paar Stunden dauern.

“It will take about a couple of hours.”

  • Es wird wahrscheinlich zwei bis drei Minuten dauern.

“It’ll probably take about two to three minutes.”

As you can see, all you really need for talking about time in German is a couple of key phrases to slip into the sentence patterns you’re already familiar with.

Or is it?

5. When Did it Happen?

Improve Listening

Perhaps those vague answers don’t cover your needs, natural though they are. At some point, you’ll have to know how to say what time certain things take place.

There’s another preposition you need to handle here: um. Normally, this means “around,” but when referring to time, it means “at.”

  • Das Konzert findet um zwölf Uhr statt.

“The concert will take place at twelve.”

Remember that when using time expressions, German allows you to use the simple present tense. For other tenses, the time expressions stay the same as the verbs conjugate.

  • Wann ist das geschehen?

“When did it happen?”

  • Es hätte um acht Uhr zwanzig anfangen sollen.

“It should have started at eight-twenty.”

6. International Time in German-Speaking Countries

Airplane Taking Off from Airport on Clear Day

The way most learning resources talk about it, you could be forgiven (perhaps) for thinking they only speak German in Germany. Some extra points for Austria and Switzerland.

Beyond those countries, German is even official in parts of Italy, Liechtenstein, and Belgium. It’s also spoken by minority communities of German speakers in Canada, the USA, Romania, Namibia, Brazil, and Argentina!

Naturally, to describe these communities and facilitate communication between them, one has to take the time difference into account.

  • Hat Belgien die selbe Zeitzone als Österreich?

“Is Belgium in the same time zone as Austria?”

Even if the German-speaking communities aren’t directly contacting one another, German is studied around the world thanks to the economic power of German-speaking countries in Europe.

Fortunately, all you have to do when asking time in German in a certain place is to use the preposition in, exactly like in English.

  • Wie spät ist es in Brasilien?

“What’s the time in Brazil?”

7. Time in German Idioms

Basic Questions

It just so happens that a lot of the time-related idioms and sayings that you already know in English have perfect, nearly word-for-word equivalents in German. These, for instance, work flawlessly:

  • Zeit ist Geld.

“Time is money.”

  • Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm.

“The early bird catches the worm.”

  • Besser spät als nie.

“Better late than never.”

However, there are some that we don’t have in English, common though they may be in German:

  • Kommt Zeit, kommt Rat.

“Time passes and advice comes.”

This could be considered a loose translation of “Good things come to those who wait.” However, Rat here is more like “advice” or “a solution,” and so this idiom is really telling you not to be hasty about solving your problems.

  • Er ist pünktlich wie die Maurer.

“He’s as punctual as a builder.”

English-speakers don’t typically stereotype construction workers as punctual. What gives?

This is actually based on the end of the work day. As the story goes, builders pay very close attention to the very last minute that they have to work, and as soon as that whistle blows, they’re off and away.

By the way, for more German idioms and expressions, check out Essential Idioms That Will Make You Sound Like a Native Speaker

8. Conclusion

By this point, we’ve really only scratched the surface of what’s possible in German when it comes to time and time expressions. Did you learn something new? Let us know in the comments!

The important thing to realize is that you can’t pick it all up from reading guides, and certainly not in English. Some of the examples in this article were taken from sources that are one hundred percent in German.

That’s the key—to actually use the language and learn things with German, not just about German.

And what better tool to help you on your way than GermanPod101? As you might expect, the podcast is our key feature, offering hundreds of lessons at a great price for any skill level.

You can also benefit from the vocabulary resources, grammar guides, and cultural articles like this one. There’s no time to lose. Sign up now and start your journey to German fluency! To begin, why not check out our article on reading dates on the German calendar?

Happy German learning! 🙂

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Directions in German: Stay On the Straight and Narrow



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You leave your hotel and bundle yourself up against the winter cold in Kiel, northern Germany.

It’s your first night and you’re not too sure where you are in town, so you glance at a street sign to make sure you know where to get back to. The directions in German read Einbahnstraße. Perfect.

After a while of walking it gets later and later and you can’t seem to remember any of the landmarks you thought you remembered.

Not to worry, you speak German! You stop a passerby, and in your best accent ask, Wo ist Einbahnstraße?

The person you stop smirks, having marked you as a foreigner right away. “Einbahnstraße,” comes the reply, “means ‘one-way street.’”

A pretty spooky story, and it could happen to you! Unless, that is, you learn all there is to know about German directions.

Mastering the directions in a foreign language is freeing for two simple reasons. First, you can feel quite confident asking anybody nearby about the city.

Second, if you happen to give advice to a local, you’ll feel like a master-class German speaker! Here’s how you can learn that superpower.

1. Where is it?


Asking Directions

The German question for where something is located is almost painfully similar to English.
  • Wo ist…?
    “Where is…?”

Be extra-careful here that you don’t confuse the other question pronoun wer, meaning “who,” for the English “where.” It’s the kind of mistake that’s easy to make as a learner when you’re just starting out with German, but don’t worry—after a couple of months of studying, you’ll be surprised that it was ever confusing.

A more complex and formal way to ask is to use the phrase Wo befindet sich…? Don’t get confused because of the befindet. It might look like this sentence translates to “Where finds itself (the)…?” but the preposition be- turns the verb finden from “find” to “located.” You might hear this used to describe particular parts of a building, or perhaps a famous building.

  • Das Hotel befindet sich in Paris.
    “The hotel is located in Paris.”

When asking directions in German or receiving them, prepositions are your friends. Of course, there are definitely rules about using certain prepositions with certain cases, but don’t let that slow you down. One of the best ways to actually acquire that knowledge is to learn set phrases like this:

  • Sie wohnt an der Hauptstraße.
    “She lives on the High Street.”

The simple phrase an der Straße is easy to commit to memory, and it is in fact the dative form of the word die Straße.

The same with this phrase:

  • Bist du neu hier in der Stadt?
    “Are you new here in the city?”

Again, we have a feminine noundie Stadt—that changes its article to der Stadt when in the dative case. The dative case is usually used for describing directions in Germany because it implies stationary locations, and buildings don’t shift around too much.

  • Die Bäckerei ist neben dem Büro.
    “The bakery is next to the office.”

2. How far is it?


Blurred Road

Even if you’re not familiar with the specifics of German direction words just yet, you can always speak in general terms.

  • Das ist weit weg von hier.
    “That’s far away from here.”

Imagine you’re exploring Berlin with one of your local friends, and you would like to go to the Potsdamer Platz, so you ask if it’s okay to go there now. But your friend politely declines with:

  • Der Potsdamer Platz, das ist weit weg von hier.
    “The Potsdamer Platz, that’s far away from here.”

  • Das ist in der Nähe.
    “That’s right in the vicinity (right nearby).”

Have you ever heard of the famous Mustafas Gemüse Kebab in Berlin? Let’s say you’ve arrived at the U-Bahn Station Mehringdamm, and you ask a woman if she knows where it is. She might answer:

  • Mustafas Gemüse Kebab? Das ist hier in der Nähe.
    “Mustafas Vegetable Kebab? That’s right nearby.”

Now, some general questions. These are simple, easy ways of asking for directions in German:

  • Ist es weit?
    “Is it far?”

  • Wie weit ist es zur Stadt?
    “How far is it to the city?”

Here you should know a couple of great prepositions for distances.

  • Die Gebäude sind weit entfernt.
    “The buildings are very far away.”

Entfernt literally means “removed,” and if you visit German online forums, you’ll see that word used to mean “deleted” for a post or video. You can easily modify it with time expressions.

  • Ich bin 10 Minuten entfernt von der Stadt.
    “I’m ten minutes away from the city.”

Or distance expressions:

  • Sie sind etwa zwei Kilometer entfernt.
    “They’re about two kilometers away.”

Etwa is a bit informal, but it’s used all the time and has the excellent function of softening whatever guess you’re making about time or distance. What if you want to be a little more exact with your directions, though?

3. Giving Directions in German


Directions in German

Whether you’re getting directions in German from a hard-of-hearing old man in a village or giving directions to your taxi driver, you’ll definitely want to be able to understand the verb “to turn.” This verb is a hugely essential part of directions vocabulary in German.

  • Biegen Sie hier ab.
    “Turn here.” [Formal]

The words links, meaning “left,” and rechts, meaning “right,” are quite close to their English counterparts. Interestingly, in English and in German, the word for “the opposite of left” and “legal rights” come from the same root!

  • Haben Tiere Menschenrechte?
    “Do animals have human rights?”

Anyway, in order to give those directions, just stick your direction word into that phrase. Remember that abbiegen is a separable-prefix verb, so the prefix ab- will often go at the end.

  • Biegen Sie da links ab.
    “Turn left there.”

To ask a direction question that requires a specific answer, use this phrase:

  • Wie komme ich zu…?
    “How do I get to…?”

Zu is one of several prepositions in German that are always followed by the dative case, so pay attention to the article you use.

  • Wie komme ich zu den Apartments?
    “How do I get to the apartments?”

We’ve learned left and right, how about forward and back? There are two ways to tell somebody to go back. The first one is:

  • Sie müssen umkehren.
    “You have to turn.”

Um is a preposition indicating that the movement should happen in a circle, while kehren just means “to turn.” Literally, umkehren means something like “turn in a circle.”

  • Gehen Sie geradeaus bis…
    “Go straight ahead until…”

4. Get out your map of Germany


Woman Holding Map /></a>
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To be honest, you can just learn those few phrases and call it a day. Asking and giving directions in German isn’t that complicated!
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But you came for more than that, and that’s what you’ll get. As a foreign visitor, it’s likely that people you meet will ask you where you’ve traveled, and also what part of your own country you’re from.
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That means you should also <a href=know the cardinal directions in German: Nord, Süd, Ost, West. If you can read enough English to understand this article, I bet you can understand that this means: “north, south, east, west!”

To say that you come from or have been to a particular place before, you have to change the article and the noun itself very slightly.

  • Ich wohne im Norden.
    “I live in the North.”

  • Ich war schon im Osten.
    “I was already in the East.”

These two sentences assume that there’s already been some kind of context like:

  • Aus welchem Teil von Amerika kommen Sie?
    “What part of America do you come from?”

If you must specify, then simply tack on the name of the country and you’ll be all set.

  • Meine Mutter wohnt in Norddeutschland.
    “My mom lives in the north of Germany.”

Bonus for people whose country name includes a cardinal direction: add the word der Teil, meaning “part,” to make things clear!

  • Meine Heimatstadt ist im Westen Teil von Südsudan.
    “My hometown is in the western part of South Sudan.”

5. Driving directions in German


Driving

Back at the beginning of this article, we discussed the word for “one-way street.” For a total novice learner, it’s an easy mistake to make because so many street signs in German end in Straße, or “street.” Ein means “one” and bahn means “way” or “path,” so the German word, when broken down, is really identical to the English translation.

What are some other things you should know about driving on German roads? And how does one give or receive street directions in German?

Well, for one, it’s perfectly legal in Germany to drive with a foreign license from many different countries, including the United States. And since you just need to be eighteen or older, plenty of people end up renting cars in Germany for their trips.

If you drive on the famous German Autobahns (“highways”), you’ll notice that there really is no Tempolimit, or “speed limit.” Just stay safe and watch out for supercars!

On the highway you’ll frequently see a sign saying Ausfahrt. That’s not a town name, that’s “exit” in German! Its components are aus-, meaning “out,” and Fahrt, meaning “trip” or “journey.”

  • Welche Ausfahrt ist für Berlin?
    “Which exit do I take for Berlin?”

The opposite of the prefix aus- is ein-. Yes, it does happen to have the same form as the word for “one” in Einbahnstraße. That’s just an irregularity of the German language. But putting that aside for now, what’s the opposite of “exit?” “Entrance,” of course!

  • Die Einfahrt zum Flughafen ist geradeaus.
    “The entrance to the airport is straight ahead.”

6. Conclusion


Basic Questions

With this serious stock of German phrases and vocabulary, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when you actually get to a German-speaking country.

One great way to practice this in a low-stakes environment is to ask, in German, for directions to places you’ve just been.

Strangers are kind and glad to help tourists, as long as you ask politely. Ask how to get to the hotel you just came from, and since you already know kind of what to listen for, you’ll be more likely to understand the full answer.

Not yet in a German-speaking country? No worries!

You’re already in the best place to learn German online! Just follow the links in this article to our fantastic lessons that dive a little deeper into directions in German, and follow along with our podcasts to learn more.

As always, feel free to reach out in the comments with any questions you have! We’re always glad to help you out.

Build Your Vocabulary with These 100 German Nouns

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What’s that word?

It’s on the tip of your tongue!

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

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

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


1. Nouns You Need for Travel

Nouns 1

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

1. der Bahnhof — train station

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

2. der Koffer — suitcase

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

3. das Gepäck — baggage; luggage

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

4. das Ticket — ticket (usually for planes)

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

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

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

6. die Jugendherberge — hostel

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

7. das Zimmer — room

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

8. der Zug — train

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

9. die Plattform — platform

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

10. das Geld — money

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

11. die Tür — door

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

12. das Essen — food

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

13. die Straße — street

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

14. der Flug — flight

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

15. die Haltestelle — bus stop

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

16. der Schlüssel — key

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

2. Relaxing at Home

Family at Home wwtching TV

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

17. der Löffel — spoon

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

18. die Gabel — fork

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

19. das Messer — knife

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

20. das Kissen — pillow

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

21. die Decke — blanket

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

22. das Fenster — window

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

23. der Tisch — table

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

24. der Sessel — armchair

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

25. der Fernseher — television

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

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

3. Big Ideas

Nouns 2

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

26. die Gier — greed

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

27. die Zusammenarbeit — collaboration; cooperation; teamwork

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

28. die Freiheit — freedom

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

29. der Frieden — peace

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

30. die Regierung — government

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

31. der Hass — hatred

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

32. die Liebe — love

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

33. die Umweltverschmutzung — pollution

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

34. die Bildung — education

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

4. In the Classroom

Doing Schoolwork

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

35. der Taschenrechner — calculator

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

36. das Papier — paper

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

37. der Stift — pencil

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

38. der Klebstoff — glue

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

39. das Pult — lectern

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

40. das Klassenzimmer — classroom

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

41. die Hausaufgaben — homework

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

42. der Aufsatz — essay

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

5. University Life

Nouns 3

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

43. die Veranstaltung — event; session

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

44. die Burschenschaft — fraternity

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

45. der Professor — professor

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

46. die Sprechstunde — office hour

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

47. die Bewerbung — application

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

48. die Vorlesung — lecture

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

49. die Mensa — dining hall

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

50. das Stipendium — scholarship

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

6. Hard at Work

People Discussing Graphs and Charts

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

51. die Frist — deadline

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

52. der Kopierer — copier

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

53. die Kaffeepause — coffee break

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

54. das Gehalt — salary

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

55. der Gehaltsscheck — paycheck

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

56. der Vertrag — contract

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

7. Sit Down for a Meal

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

57. das Fleisch — meat

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

58. die Kartoffel — potato

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

59. der Kohl — cabbage

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

60. die Wurst — sausage

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

61. die Pommes — french fries

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

62. der Salat — salad

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

63. das Eis — ice cream

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

64. der Sekt — sparkling wine

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

65. das Mineralwasser — mineral water

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

66. die Schorle — spritzer

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

67. das Brot — bread

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

68. der Essig — vinegar

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

8. All About You

(Woman Stretching After Workout

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

69. die Zunge — tongue

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

70. das Bein — leg

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

71. der Knöchel — ankle

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

72. das Auge — eye

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

73. die Wange — cheek

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

74. der Ellenbogen — elbow

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

75. die Achselhöhle — armpit

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

76. das Knie — knee

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

77. der Hals — neck; throat

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

9. Your Clothes and Accessories

Nouns 4

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

78. die Halskette — necklace

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

79. das Armband — bracelet

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

80. der Gürtel — belt

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

81. der Schuh — shoe

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

82. das Handy — cell phone

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

83. die Kopfhörer — earphones

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

84. das Ladegerät — charger

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

85. die Krawatte — necktie

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

10. What Do You Do?



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

86. der Praktikant — intern

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

87. der Chef — boss

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

88. der Schriftsteller — writer

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

89. der Taxifahrer — taxi driver

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

90. der Musiker — musician

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

91. der Mechaniker — mechanic

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

92. der Zimmermann — carpenter

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

93. der Klempner — plumber

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

94. der Filialleiter — branch manager

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

95. der Kassierer — cashier

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

96. der Koch — cook

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

97. der Spion — spy

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

98. der Seeräuber — pirate

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

99. der Freiwillige — volunteer

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

100. der Straßenkehrer — street cleaner

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

11. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Happy German learning!

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Learn the Best Compliments in German for Any Occasion

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What would you say to lift the spirits of a special person you know? No doubt, you have dozens of kind words that come to mind in English, but do you know many compliments in German?

A compliment can be described as a polite expression of praise, admiration, encouragement or congratulations. It’s sometimes used in absolute sincerity and sometimes to flatter, but either way, human beings love to receive compliments!

Table of Contents

  1. The Importance of Compliments
  2. Compliments you always want to hear
  3. Conclusion

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1. The Importance of Compliments

Giving and receiving compliments is so important in society, that you can be considered rude if you’re a person who never acknowledges anyone. We all need to hear words of affirmation to feel good about ourselves or our achievements, whether big or small. Life is full of daily challenges that can feel overwhelming sometimes – both in terms of the things we have to accomplish and the way we look at the world.

Call it vanity, but it’s a basic human need to hear kindness and appreciation from other people. In the same way, we need to be giving out some of that kindness and helping others to feel good about themselves. Remember the saying “It’s better to give than to receive”? Well, that applies to compliments in a big way. The cool thing is that when you’re generous with your words, you more than likely will invite the same back from people.

So, where did this wonderful idea originate? The word ‘compliment’ has its origins in the mid-17th century; back then it meant ‘fulfilment of the requirements of courtesy’. There was a time when it was normal to compliment others upon meeting for the first time. In some cultures, that’s still the norm. If only we could have more of that today!

If you think about how much it means to receive a genuine compliment from someone whose opinion matters to you, it’s easy to reverse that and realize they probably feel the same way. There is no way around this: it’s vital to pay compliments to each and every person who is a part of your life, and to do so regularly and with sincerity.

2. Compliments you always want to hear

Smiling cat toys

The nuances in the type of personal compliments you’ve been hearing all your life are so deeply present with you by now, that you have a very specific emotional response to each of them. It will be a little different for each of us, since we’ve had different input from the people around us since childhood – especially from family and close friends – but we’re individually used to certain words and as a result, we can detect when they’re spoken with sincerity. How we perceive and receive compliments from specific people has a lot to do with how much we value them, too.

Put yourself in a foreign country and suddenly you’re having to think about the words you’re hearing, doing mental and emotional arithmetic to determine the speaker’s intent. It’s tricky business! When you’ve only been learning German for a little while, you’ll get the gist, but some of the speaker’s truth might be lost on you.

Can you see where I’m going with this? When it comes to compliments in German, do yourself a great favor and use them often. Learn the real meaning and impact of what you’re saying, and you’ll be able to start feeling those squishy emotional responses in no time. You’ll also be able to pay genuine compliments in German that will win people over and earn you a valued place in their hearts.

A compliment in German culture is as important as one in any other culture – perhaps even more so. Part of fitting into your new community means having a likeable and approachable nature, so bring on the compliments and start winning people over!

GermanPod101 has fifteen great compliments to teach you for various situations. Enjoy!

Five hands giving a thumbs up against a cloudy blue sky

1- You’re handsome. – Du bist gutaussehend.

Do you know how to compliment a guy in German? This is one of the best German compliments you can pay a man if you want to make him feel attractive. What man doesn’t like to hear that he’s handsome? The younger generation may see it as quite an old-fashioned word, yet men of all ages respond well to “You’re handsome”.

There are many other ways to tell a guy that he’s good-looking, of course, but these particular words carry a timelessness that is only ever good. It doesn’t have any subtle meanings or flirtatious implications, so it’s pretty safe to say to a man who you have no romantic intentions with. Of course, it certainly can also be said romantically! As with most things, it’s all in the way you do it.

Girl kissing her laughing beau on the cheek

2- Great job! – Großartige Arbeit!

When you’ve worked really hard at something, you want your efforts to be appreciated. There isn’t one of us who doesn’t feel that way. You might know you’ve done a great job, but you need to know that other people have noticed and are appreciative of your effort. Otherwise, why bother giving it your all? Part of our basic makeup as humans is the need to be pleasing to others.

How much more so in a work environment, where your performance could determine the trajectory of your career? We seek validation from our bosses mainly because this is vital information that tells us whether we’re heading for success or failure.

Smiling woman giving a thumbs-up

3- Your resume is impressive. – Ihr Lebenslauf ist beeindruckend.

It’s pretty much a given that attending a job interview is going to be nerve-wracking and the first thing you want to be sure of is that your resume looks good to the interviewer. Hearing the above words will give you hope and help you to relax before the questions start. In other words, these are important German praise words to know if you’re job-hunting. Next time you’re being interviewed by a German boss, listen for these words, as they’re a positive sign.

In my experience working abroad, I found that the most important requirement interviewers had was just that they like me. By the time you get to the interview, you’ve already been screened, so what’s next in the deciding factor? It’s simple: chemistry. The energy between two people is a huge factor in how well you’ll work together, and that magic happens in the first ten minutes. First impressions go a long way!

Man and woman in an interview

4- Your inside is even more beautiful than your outside. – Deine inneren Werte sind noch schöner als dein Äußeres.

Isn’t this just a wonderful compliment to hear? It sure is, and that makes it equally wonderful to give. If you meet someone who has a heart of gold, use these words!

Most women love to be complimented on their external beauty, but being seen as attractive can feel like a burden if it’s the only thing people notice. When paying compliments in German to a woman, try to think of her personality and what her perception of your words will be. Women want different things from different people, and someone who cares about you will care a lot about how you see her on the inside. Looks are fleeting; the people we trust to stick around forever are those who’ve seen beneath the surface and still want in.

It seems to be true that the more self-aware and ‘conscious’ a person is, the more they’re going to appreciate being valued for their place and importance in this world, above their looks. Men or women – we’re the same in this way. It doesn’t mean you should stop telling people that they’re physically beautiful, just that you should balance it with thoughtful observations about the person’s character. Psychologically, we crave this balance and without it, insecurity gets a foot in the door.

Men are no different. Compliments directed to a man’s inner core are highly prized by guys. For his self-esteem, he needs to know he is valued for who he is deep down.

Pair of people enjoying themselves at a party

5- You make me want to be a better person. – Dank dir möchte ich ein besserer Mensch werden.

Do you know someone who inspires you so much, that their mere existence makes you want to move those metaphorical mountains and become the absolute best version of yourself?

This phrase is a lovely thing to say to someone who you care about on a personal level. It’s the kind of compliment reserved for the few special individuals who mean so much to us, that our greatest desire is to have them see us ‘becoming’ – not for anyone’s profit, but just for the sake of love and personal growth.

You might feel this way about a romantic partner, a very close friend or a family member. If you feel this way, don’t hold it in! That person needs to hear it. You will make them feel good and help them to know that the love they put into nurturing your heart is noticed. Chances are, they feel the same way about you.

When you look for the good in others, you start to see the good in yourself. It takes a bit of thought to come up with a string of kind words that convey maximum positive truth about the other person; in those moments, you’re being unselfish and considering their needs before your own. I genuinely believe that paying someone a heartfelt compliment is an act of self-love. After all, giving is more important than receiving. When you give out compliments that are true, you do the world a service and create beauty in your circle. What’s more, you invite reciprocated words of affirmation – whether from the same person, or someone else. When you give, it will inevitably come back to you.

Pair of women hugging and laughing

6- That jacket looks nice on you. – Die Jacke steht dir.

Men secretly love to be complimented on their clothes. Yup – it makes a man feel good to hear these words, especially since a favorite jacket is something he’ll wear often in cooler weather or to work. If the fabric brings out his eyes, tell him!

Learning some practical and more specific German compliments like this one is a great idea, because it shows that you’ve actually thought about what you’re saying. Noticing details about a person’s outfit and commenting on them comes across well to the hearer and sounds more sincere than “You look good.” Think about the last time someone noticed your outfit, and you’ll know just what I mean. It makes you feel more confident as you go about your day.

Man showing off a jacket in front of a camera

7- I know that it was a tough project, but your performance exceeded my expectations. – Ich weiß, dass es ein schwieriges Projekt war, aber Ihre Leistung hat meine Erwartungen übertroffen.

In the work environment, it’s vital to know some German praise words that encourage, uplift and express real appreciation. In this sense, compliments can be a form of leadership; a good leader helps his or her team to grow by building them up and pushing them on.

If you hear these German words, you can rest assured that your boss is very pleased with your work. If you’re a teacher at a German high school, this is also a great phrase to encourage learners with when they’ve worked hard on a project.

8- You’re smart! – Du bist schlau!

Smart, clever, brainy – these are all synonyms for intelligence and one of the best compliments you can give. Everybody likes being thought of as smart, so here’s a compliment that can be used in both casual and formal settings. We say this to boost the self-esteem of kids, to praise our friends when they have good ideas and to express awe of a colleague in the workplace.

Being ‘smart’ can mean you make good choices in general, that you have a particular area you excel in, or even that you have an above-average IQ.

Everybody likes the idea of having a high IQ, but it’s not as simple to determine what that even means as we once thought. When I was studying to work in Asia, there was a lot of buzz about Multiple Intelligences Theory as a more accurate determination of intelligence than traditional IQ testing. The theory was developed by Doctor Howard Gardner and the critical reception was complex, to say the least.

Gardner argues that there is a wide range of cognitive abilities, but that there are only very weak correlations among them. For example, a child who learns to multiply easily is not necessarily more intelligent than a child who has difficulty with this task; the child who seems better at art might actually understand multiplication at a fundamentally deeper level. Humans have different learning styles; if one appears to have difficulty grasping a certain concept, the first step is to change the teaching approach.

We’re all smart in our own way, so remind your reflection of that each morning!

Young man holding a solved rubik's cube

9- You are an awesome friend. – Du bist ein toller Freund.

On a more personal note – how good does it make you feel to hear that your friend appreciates you? I’d say it’s right up there with the best kinds of ‘thank you’. Knowing this, it makes sense to learn this phrase in German and use it next time your German friend has done something selfless and amazing for you. Let them know with this compliment in German and make their day.

The lovely thing about using these words is that they encourage even more acts of kindness and support from friends. When you put effort and energy into a friendship and aren’t afraid to share sentiments of love, such as this phrase, chances are the friendship will go the distance. If your sojourn in Germany is more than a few weeks, you’re going to need a good friend or two, so hold on to this friendly phrase!

Two dogs running together, holding one stick

10- You have a great sense of humor. – Du hast einen tollen Sinn für Humor.

Did you know that chimpanzees, gorillas, bonobos, and orangutans engage in social laughter? It’s true! Laughter is an important form of social play that connects us and helps to relieve tension. It’s nice being around someone who makes us laugh or who finds us amusing.

I have a weird sense of humor that many people don’t get, but those who do seem to end up cry-laughing a lot in my presence and somehow that makes them my favorite humans. I’ve learned who I can and can’t be funny with. Have you had a similar experience?

Being able to tell someone that you like their sense of humor is important in your social circle. In fact, take these words along with you on a date. If he or she cracks you up, they will definitely appreciate hearing you say so in German.

11- Your smile is beautiful. – Dein Lächeln ist wunderschön.

When paying aesthetic compliments in German, especially to a woman you don’t know very well, try to avoid talking about her body and say something like “Your smile is beautiful”, instead. It’s a guaranteed winner! It can be tricky complimenting women in this modern world, where ladies don’t always feel safe, but that’s no reason to stop expressing admiration altogether. Choose your words wisely and you’ll be well on your way to making their day!

Let’s not exclude men from this compliment, though – it’s an excellent choice for a guy you like and feel safe with. In fact, the beauty of this compliment is that you can say it to pretty much anyone, of any age, and it will likely be well-received. Next time you want to make a homeless person smile – this is the better word choice!

Compliments

12- I love your cooking. – Ich liebe deine Kochkünste.

If there’s one form of praise we can’t leave out, it’s how to give kudos for someone’s culinary skills. German compliments for food are a must if you want to be invited back for another home-cooked dinner at the home of the local masterchef. As much as the street food is to die for, nothing beats the experience of an authentic home-cooked meal in Germany. Be sure to read up on basic dining etiquette before you go, and don’t forget to download the German WordPower app to your phone so you can confidently ask the cook for tips.

Man in a kitchen, tossing food in a wok

13. You have good taste. – Du hast guten Geschmack.

My sister is one of those people who’d rather be complimented on her taste than on her personality, brains or looks. Do you know someone like that? It’s usually the girl or guy in your group who’s always well-dressed and probably has a full-on feng shui vibe in their home. If you meet someone in Germany who loves their labels, only wears real leather and whose hair is always on-fleek, here’s a compliment they will appreciate.

To have good taste means knowing what is excellent and of good quality, with an eye for detecting subtle differences that make something genuine or not. People with good taste can discern what others find appealing, and tend to impress with their aesthetic choices. This friend will be the one you’ll go to when you aren’t sure what jacket to buy for your interview, or what gift to choose for your hosts.

So, is good taste about social conventions, or the genuine value of an item? Well, since it can refer to taste in music, art, design and fine wines as well as style choices, I think it’s an interesting combination of both. What do you think?

Well-dressed woman drinking red wine in a restaurant

14- You look gorgeous. – Du siehst wunderschön aus.

“Gorgeous” makes me think of powder blue lakes, newborn babies, wild horses and Terrence Hill in the 80’s. Synonymous with ‘stunning’, it’s a word that means something beyond beautiful and as such, it’s one of the ultimate words of admiration. The vocabulary.com dictionary suggests reserving this word for the kind of looks that take your breath away; in other words, save it for someone special – like a date you adore and definitely want to see again.

Does that mean you can only tell a captivating date that they look gorgeous? Of course not. You can say “You look gorgeous” to a friend dressed up to meet their beau, a child tolerating a bunny suit for the school play, or to anyone special who needs a confidence boost. As long as you’re being sincere, this is a wonderful phrase to express admiration.

Woman in a billowing red dress

15- You have a way with words. – Du bist sehr redegewandt.

There’s always that one person in the group who’s great at articulating deep thoughts, writing intriguing social media posts or comforting others when they’re feeling low. Your companion with this skill is likely very empathetic and although the words seem to come easy for them, they might find it difficult to be vulnerable.

When your friend or lover has let their guard down and shown you that soft place, don’t be afraid to tell them that it’s good, because they need to hear it. “You have a way with words” is a meaningful phrase that lets them know they’ve made a positive impact and their words are wanted. Your kind compliment will ensure that their eloquent words keep coming.

Positive feelings

3. Conclusion

Next time you’re traveling or working in Germany, keep an ear open for the compliments you’ve learned, as they might be aimed at you! If you’re taking time to listen to native speakers on our YouTube channels or with Audio Books, it will also help a lot with the accent. Familiarizing yourself with the sound of compliments in the German culture is important for your journey and will make your overall experience more meaningful.

Being acknowledged by others helps us to feel accepted and secure, and these are two things we all want to feel when venturing into unfamiliar territory. Remember that although compliments have more impact in your own language, it’s only because you’ve spent a lifetime hearing them and have become accustomed to the fullness of their meaning. You can get there with German, too – it just takes a little time.

Don’t forget the golden rule: give more than you receive! Paying compliments to the people you meet will not only give you excellent language practice, but the reward will be new friendships and positive vibes.

Here are a few more ways you can practice daily:

  • Chat online with the guys and gals in our learning community. Nothing beats real-time information on how people are currently speaking. It’s a good way to hear some German colloquialisms.
  • Take time out to read. Reading is an excellent way to develop photographic memory of how the phrases look in German. We have both iBooks and Kindle books to choose from.
  • There are also some fantastic free podcasts you can listen to on iTunes. They promise to get you speaking after the very first lesson.

One last thought I want to leave you with: don’t forget to receive a compliment with grace. You deserve to hear good words, so get used to smiling and just feeling the kindness with gratitude.

Well, time for me to go! I hope you’ve enjoyed learning these useful compliments with us at GermanPod101 today. Now, go out and find some cool people who need to hear them!

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Get Angry in German with Phrases for Any Situation!

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Anger is a natural response to pain of some sort; when you’re angry, you’re angry with a cause and want someone to pay! It’s so much harder when you’re traveling, because your routines are off-kilter, there’s culture shock to deal with and the smallest problems can seem overwhelming. How do you handle someone who’s just pushed your last button?

At home, we often have a go-to person who is good at calming us down, but emotions are tricky to deal with in a foreign country. Sometimes people may treat you unfairly, but you’re completely baffled as to why. You have to remember that people in Germany think differently to how you do and it’s not impossible to inadvertently cause offense. Don’t stress about it too much, because you’ll adapt! Once you feel at home in Germany and people get to know you, it will be easy to flow with the local rhythm and handle tensions well.

This brings us to two obvious reasons why you should learn some angry phrases in German: first, so you can understand when you’ve upset a German person, and second, to have the vocabulary to tell a person off when they absolutely have it coming. Not only will you be far more likely to solve the problem if you know some appropriate angry German phrases, but you’ll probably earn some respect, too! At GermanPod101 we’re ready to help you articulate those feelings.

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Table of Contents

  1. German phrases to use when you’re angry
  2. Feeling negative in German
  3. Conclusion

1. German phrases to use when you’re angry

Complaints

Okay, so you’ve had a very frustrating day at your new teaching job in Germany and all you want to do is chill on your bed with ice-cream and a Nook Book, but you come home to find your landlord in your apartment, apparently doing an inspection of your personal possessions. How do you handle it? Do you have an angry German translation for “What the heck are you doing?”

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about confronting someone in their own country, it’s to press the pause button on my reactions and think first! Is my first thought worth expressing? Sometimes, you need to think like a chess player: if I make this move, what will happen next?

It’s always better to think ‘win-win’ in Germany. A good tactic is to keep a mental note of your personal speed limit before engaging. After all, you want a positive outcome!

So, do you know how to say “I am angry” in German? You will – GermanPod101 is about to teach you how to get mad! Here are fifteen great angry phrases in German.

1- It’s none of your business. – Es geht dich nichts an.

As a foreigner in Germany, you’ll be a topic of interest. While most folks understand boundaries, there’s always that one individual who doesn’t!

Sometimes you feel that a person is getting way too involved in your affairs, and this expression is a commonly-used one for letting them know that. If said calmly and firmly, while looking them in the eye, it should do the trick and even earn you some respect.

Angry Blonde Girl Holding Up Her Hands to Warn Someone Away

2- I’m upset. – Ich bin verärgert.

I find this phrase useful for times when I need to express annoyance to someone I can’t afford to lose my temper with. A boss, for instance. As long as you say it without yelling, this can be a polite way of letting someone know that you are feeling bad and that you want those feelings validated. No matter what has happened, the result is that you are troubled and need some time to get over it. Depending on how you say it, “I’m upset” can also be a subtle invitation for the other party to address the problem.

3- You’re not listening to me. – Du hörst mir einfach nicht zu.

Isn’t this the most frustrating thing? You’re in a situation where you’re telling someone why you’re mad at them, but they just won’t look at the story from your point of view. Rather than resort to bad language, try to convince them to take a breather and hear you out. This expression is a great way to ask someone to stop talking and to listen to you properly.

Asian Couple Fighting Head-to-Head, Woman Blocking Her Ears

4- Watch your mouth. – Pass auf was du sagst.

Where have you heard this before? Let your mind go back to all the times you were cheeky and disrespectful in your youth… that’s right – it was your parents! If you’re on the receiving end, this angry phrase means that you said something you shouldn’t have. It has an authoritative, challenging tone and it implies that there could be consequences if you don’t stop.

So, when can you use it? Well, be careful with this one; it may very well get you in trouble if not used with caution. It can also be seen as very rude if used on anyone you don’t actually have authority over!

5- That’s enough. – Es reicht.

Depending on your tone of voice when you say this, you could be calmly telling someone to stop doing what they’re doing, or you could be sternly ordering them to stop. In German, as in English, tone is key when it comes to making yourself understood. Just don’t be saying this to anyone, as it carries an authoritative tone and would be seen as rude if said to an older person.

Angry School Mistress Shaking a Ruler As If Reprimanding

6- Stop it. – Hör auf.

One of the more common imperatives in any language, this is a basic way to warn somebody that you don’t like what they’re doing and want them to stop. You can use it in most situations where a person is getting under your skin. Often, “Stop it” precedes some of the weightier phrases one resorts to if the offender doesn’t stop and anger escalates. For this reason, I always add a “Please” and hope for the best!

7- Cut it out. – Hör auf damit.

I think parents and teachers everywhere, throughout time, have heard variations of this expression of annoyance for as long as we’ve had tweens and teens on Earth! It’s a go-to command, thrown about frequently between siblings and peers, to stop being irritating. You’d generally use this on people you consider your relative equals – even though in the moment, you probably consider them low enough to stomp on!

8- What the heck are you doing? – Was zur Hölle machst du?

Here’s an interjection for those instances when you can scarcely believe what you’re seeing. It denotes incredulity ranging from mild disbelief to total disgust or dismay. You would typically use this when you want an action to stop immediately, because it’s wrong – at least, in your perception of things.

It may be worth remembering that the English word “heck” doesn’t have a direct translation in German – or in other languages, for that matter; most translations are more accurately saying “What the hell.” We say “heck” in English as a euphemism, but that word is thought to come from “hex” – an ancient word for “spell” – so I don’t know which is better!

9- Who do you think you are? – Was glaubst du wer du bist?

I avoid this expression as it makes me nervous! It’s quite confrontational. I’m reminded of the time a clerk in a busy cellular network service store was being rude to me and a rich-looking man came to my rescue, aiming this phrase at the clerk loudly and repeatedly. At first, I was relieved to have someone on my side, but I quickly grew embarrassed at the scene he was causing.

Using this phrase has a tendency to make you sound like you feel superior, so take it easy. The irony, of course, is that someone who provokes this response is taking a position of authority or privilege that they aren’t entitled to! Now you look like two bears having a stand-off.

They call this an ‘ad hominem’ argument, meaning the focus has shifted from attacking the problem, to attacking the person. So, is it a good phrase to use? That’s up to you. If you’re in the moment and someone’s attitude needs adjusting – go for it!

Man and Woman Arguing, with White Alphabet Letters Coming from the Man’s Mouth and White Question Marks Above the Woman

10- What?! – Was?!

An expression of disbelief, this is frequently said mid-argument, in a heated tone, and it means you cannot believe what you’re hearing. In other words, it conveys the message that the other person is talking nonsense or lying.

11- I don’t want to talk to you. – Ich will nicht mit dir reden.

This is a great bit of vocab for a traveler – especially for a woman traveling solo. Whether you’re being harassed while trying to read your Kindle on the train, or hit on by a drunk man in a bar, chances are that sooner or later, you will encounter a character you don’t wish to speak to.

The most straightforward way to make the message clear is to simply tell them, “I don’t want to talk to you”. If you feel threatened, be calm and use your body language: stand straight, look them in the eye and say the words firmly. Then move away deliberately. Hopefully, they will leave you alone. I’d go so far as to say learn this phrase off-by-heart and practice your pronunciation until you can say it like a strong modern German woman!

Highly Annoyed Redhead Girl Holding Up Her Hands As If to Say “Stop!”

12- Are you kidding me? – Willst du mich veräppeln?

To be ‘kidding’ means to joke with someone in a childlike way and it’s used both in fun and in anger. Like some other expressions, it needs context for the mood to be clear, but it pretty much conveys annoyed disbelief. You can use it when a person says or does something unpleasantly surprising, or that seems unlikely to be serious or true. It’s a rhetorical question, of course; try to familiarize yourself with how it sounds in German, so next time it’s aimed at you, you don’t hunt your inner German lexicon for an answer!

Dark-haired Girl Giving a Very Dirty Look, with One Hand on Her Hip and Holding a Gift Box with Apparent Disgust

13- This is so frustrating. – Das ist so frustrierend.

Another way of showing someone you have an intense battle going on inside, is to just tell them you’re terribly frustrated and feeling desperate to find a solution. Use this expression! It can be a useful tool to bring the other person into your headspace and maybe even evoke some degree of empathy from them. More polite than many others, it’s a sentence that seems to say, “I beg you to work with me so we can resolve this!”

Asian Man Yelling, Bent Forward, with His Hands Held Up Next to His Head

14- Shut up. – Halt den Mund.

The use of the phrase “shut up” to signify “hold one’s tongue” dates back to the sixteenth century and was even used by Shakespeare as an insult – with various creative twists! It’s been evolving ever since and there are variations in just about every language – proving that no matter where you come from, angry emotions are universal!

One example of old usage is a poem Rudyard Kipling wrote in 1892, where a seasoned military veteran says to the troops: “Now all you recruities what’s drafted to-day, You shut up your rag-box an’ ‘ark to my lay.”

Well, when I was twelve and full of spirit, I was taught that nice girls don’t say this. “Shut up” is an imperative that’s considered impolite; it’s one of those expressions people resort to when they either can’t think of better words to use, or simply can’t bear to listen to any more nonsense. Either way, it’s at the lower end of the smart argument scale. Like all angry phrases, though, it does have its uses!

15- So what? – Na und?

When you don’t believe the other person’s defense argument legitimizes or justifies their actions, you might say these words. Basically, you’re telling them they need to come up with better logic!

Another time you could use this one, is when you simply don’t care for someone’s criticism of you. Perhaps you don’t agree with them, or they’re being unfair and you need to defend your position. “So what?” tells them you feel somewhat indignant and don’t believe you’re in the wrong.

2. Feeling negative in German

Negative Feelings

What was the most recent negative emotion you felt? Were you nervous about an exam? Exhausted and homesick from lack of sleep? Maybe you felt frightened and confused about the impact COVID-19 would have on your travel plans. If you’re human, you have days when you just want the whole world to leave you alone – and that’s okay!

When you’re feeling blue, there’s only so much body language can do. Rather than keeping people guessing why you’re in a bad mood, just tell them! Your German friends and colleagues will be much more likely to give you your space (or a hug) if they know what’s wrong. Not only that, but it’s nice to give new friends the opportunity to be supportive. Bring on the bonding!

The fastest way to learn to describe negative feelings in Germany, is to get into the habit of identifying your own mood daily in German. Here’s an easy way: in your travel journal, simply write down the German word for how you feel each morning. You can get all the words directly from us at GermanPod101. Remember, also, that we have a huge online community if you need a friend to talk to. We’ve got you!

3. Conclusion

Now that you know how to express your bad feelings in German, why not check out some other cool things on our site? You can sign up for the amazing free lifetime account – it’s a great place to start learning!

And really – make the most of your alone time. After all, it’s been proven that learning a new language not only benefits cognitive abilities like intelligence and memory, but it also slows down the brain’s aging. So, on those days when you just need to be away from people, we have some brain-boosting suggestions that will lift your spirits:

  • Have you heard of Roku? A Roku player is a device that lets you easily enjoy streaming, which means accessing entertainment via the internet on your TV. We have over 30 languages you can learn with Innovative Language TV. Lie back and enjoy!
  • If you like your Apple devices, we have over 690 iPhone and iPad apps in over 40 languages – did you know that? The Visual Dictionary Pro, for example, is super fun and makes learning vocab easy. For Android lovers, we have over 100 apps on the Android market, too.
  • You can also just kick back on the couch and close your eyes, letting your headphones do the work with our audiobooks – great for learning the culture while you master the language. Similarly, if you’re more of a reader, we have some fantastic iBooks that are super interesting and fun for practicing your daily conversation skills.

Whatever your learning style (or your mood), you’ll find something that appeals to you at GermanPod101. Come join us!

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