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Archive for the 'German Grammar' Category

Learn to Say “Father” in German and Moreover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in German


1. Family in German - Die Familie

Family Words

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. List of Closest Family Members + Basic Sentence Patterns

Family

1- General Terms for German Immediate Family

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

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

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

2- Talking about Family Members

There are usually three situations when talking about family:

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

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

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

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

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


3. More Family and Endearment Terms

Parent Phrases

1- German Extended Family

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

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

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

2- Endearment Terms

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

A Cute Kitten.

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

1. Adding an i

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

Here are some examples:

Mama -> Mami
“mother” -> “mom/mommy”

Mutter -> Mutti
“mother” -> “mom”

Papa -> Papi
“father” -> “daddy”

Vater -> Vati
“father” -> “dad”

Opa -> Opi
“grandmother” -> “granny”

Oma -> Omi
“grandfather” -> “grandpa”

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

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

2. Adding chen to the end of the word

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

Good examples are:

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

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

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


4. How to Talk about Family

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

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

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


5. Cultural Insights in a German Family

Family Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Four Arms Held Up and All Showing the Thumbs Up.

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

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

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

Save yourself a spot today!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Family Phrases in German

Guide to German Travel Phrases for Tourists and Travelers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. Why Should You Learn German?

Preparing to Travel

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

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

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


2. German Pronunciation Specialities

Airplane Phrases

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

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

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


3. Greetings

Survival Phrases

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

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


4. Basic Questions and Their Perfect Answers

Basic Questions

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

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


5. Restaurants and Ordering Food

A Cook Seasoning a Plate with Food.

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

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


6. At the Hotel

A Couple at the Front Desk of the Reception.

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


7. Locations and Transportation

World Map

1- Asking for and Giving Directions

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

2- Transportation

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

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


8. Working Through Communication Barriers

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

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

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

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


9. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master Urgent Travel Situations

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

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

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

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

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How To Post In Perfect German on Social Media

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You’re learning to speak German, and it’s going well. Your confidence is growing! So much so that you feel ready to share your experiences on social media—in German.

At Learn German, we make this easy for you to get it right the first time. Post like a boss with these phrases and guidelines, and get to practice your German in the process.

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

1. Talking about Your Restaurant Visit in German

Eating out is fun, and often an experience you’d like to share. Take a pic, and start a conversation on social media in German. Your friend will be amazed by your language skills…and perhaps your taste in restaurants!

Tom eats at a restaurant with his friends, posts an image of the group, and leaves this comment:

POST

Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

Gutes Essen mit guten Freunden!
“Good food with good friends!”

1- Gutes Essen

First is an expression meaning “Good food.”
A standard expression to refer to delicious food.

2- mit guten Freunden

Then comes the phrase - “with good friends.”
Repeating the adjective “good” instead of choosing a different positive adjective makes the sentence flow nicely and is quite common in social media.

COMMENTS

In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

1- Schön, ich wäre gerne dabei gewesen!

His girlfriend, Franziska, uses an expression meaning - “Nice, I would have liked to be there!”
Use this expression to partake in the conversation and also indicate that you’d have liked to be part of the group.

2- Sieht sehr lecker aus!

His neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Looks very delicious!”
Use this comment to agree with the poster about the food.

3- Edel! Gefällt mir!

His college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “Noble! I like it!”
Another, pleasant way of saying the same as the previous two posters..

4- Nächstes Mal bin ich dabei!

His high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “Next time I’ll be there!”
Use this expression to show you are feeling optimistic about joining the poster next time.

VOCABULARY

Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • gute Freunde: “good friends”
  • schön: “nice”
  • ich wäre gerne: “I would have liked to”
  • lecker: “delicious”
  • edel: “noble”
  • gefallen: “to like”
  • nächstes Mal: “next time “
  • dabei sein: “to join”
  • So, let’s practice a bit. If a friend posted something about having dinner with friends, which phrase would you use?

    Now go visit a German restaurant, and wow the staff with your language skills!

    2. Post about Your Mall Visit in German

    Another super topic for social media is shopping—everybody does it, most everybody loves it, and your friends on social media are probably curious about your shopping sprees! Share these German phrases in posts when you visit a mall.

    Franziska shops with her sister at the mall, posts an image of the two of them, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Shoppen mit meinem Schwesterherz!
    “Shopping with my sis!”

    1- Shoppen

    First is an expression meaning “Shopping.”
    Comes from the English word “to shop” and is used only for shopping for clothes, shoes, etc., not for groceries. It is very commonly used.

    2- mit meinem Schwesterherz

    Then comes the phrase - “with my sis.”
    Commonly used to refer to your sister. It is literally translated as “sister heart” and is a casual way of saying you are very close to your sister.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Brauchst du wirklich noch mehr Schuhe?

    Her boyfriend, Tom , uses an expression meaning - “Do you really need (even) more shoes?”
    Use this expression to show your exasperation with your girlfriend’s shopping sprees. Probably best to reserve this for people who know you well, and understand that you’re not trying to be confrontational or critical in a harsh way.

    2- Juhu! Shoppen ist immer gut!

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Yay! Shopping is always good!”
    Use these phrases to indicate you’re happy for the poster and what they’re busy with.

    3- Ich kenn da ein paar echt gute Designerläden!

    Her college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “I know a few really good designer shops!”
    Use this expression to partake in the conversation, and to make a suggestion that might be useful to the poster.

    4- War gestern Zahltag?

    Her nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “Was it payday yesterday?”
    Use this expression to be humorous with a slightly sarcastic edge.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • shoppen: “to shop “
  • Schwesterherz: “sis”
  • brauchst du wirklich: “do you really need”
  • Schuh: “shoe”
  • juhu: “yay”
  • ist immer gut: “is always good”
  • ein paar echt gute: “a few really good”
  • Zahltag: “payday”
  • So, if a friend posted something about going shopping, which phrase would you use?

    3. Talking about a Sport Day in German

    Sports events, whether you’re the spectator or the sports person, offer fantastic opportunities for great social media posts. Learn some handy phrases and vocabulary to start a sport-on-the-beach conversation in German.

    Tom plays with his friends at the beach, posts an image of the teams, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Es kann nur einen Sieger geben!
    “There can only be one winner!”

    1- Es kann nur einen geben

    First is an expression meaning “there can only be one.”
    On social media it is common to use one sentence expressions to capture people’s interest with as few words as possible. It is a common German expression often said in a joking way during tournaments or while watching sports or other competitions.

    2- Sieger

    Then comes the phrase - “winner.”
    This means winner and can refer to any kind of competition.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Wart nur ab!

    His college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “You just wait!”
    Use this expression if you’re part of the competing team, and sees the poster’s comment as a friendly dare.

    2- Viel Glück und viel Spaß!

    His neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Good luck and have fun!”
    Use this phrase as a warmhearted wish to the players.

    3- Aber bist du es?

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “But is it you?”
    Use this expression to be humorous and teasing the poster.

    4- Na da bin ich mal gespannt!

    His girlfriend’s high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Well then I’m curious!”
    Use this expression to express interest in the game and to be part of the conversation.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Sieger: “winner”
  • Wart nur ab: “you just wait”
  • nur: “just”
  • viel Glück!: “good luck!”
  • viel Spaß!: “have fun!”
  • bist du es?: “is it you?”
  • na: “well”
  • gespannt sein: “to be curious”
  • Which phrase would you use if a friend posted something about sports?

    But sport is not the only thing you can play! Play some music, and share it on social media.

    4. Share a Song on Social Media in German

    Music is the language of the soul, they say. So, don’t hold back—share what touches your soul with your friends!

    Franziska shares a song she just heard at a party, posts an image of the artist, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    So viele Erinnerungen!
    “So many memories!”

    1- so viele

    First is an expression meaning “so many.”
    A casual remark that can be used whenever you unexpectedly find many of the same things in one place.

    2- Erinnerungen

    Then comes the phrase - “memories.”
    It is quite common to use a short expression like “so many memories”, and not a full sentence such as “I have so many memories” or “This brings up so many memories.” These expressions are used to allude to something without going into detail, only for friends to pick up on what you are trying to say.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Spielte man so was damals?

    Her nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “Did they used to play something like that back in the day?”
    Use this expression to be playfully sarcastic about the poster’s choice of music. Humorous sarcasm on social media should always be reserved for people you know well, so as to avoid misunderstandings.

    2- Ein sehr schönes Lied!

    Her supervisor, Andreas, uses an expression meaning - “A very nice song!”
    Use this expression to agree with the poster about the agreeability of the song.

    3- Hihi ja ich erinnere mich!

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Haha yes, I remember!”
    Use this expression to indicate that the song is known to you.

    4- Das werde ich mir gleich mal anhören.

    Her neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “I’ll listen to it in a moment.”
    Use this expression to indicate that you’re interested in the topic, and want to partake in the conversation.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • so viele: “so many”
  • so was: “something like that”
  • damals: “back in the days”
  • Lied: “song”
  • hihi: “haha”
  • sich erinnern: “to remember”
  • gleich: “in a moment”
  • anhören: “to listen to”
  • Which song would you share? And what would you say to a friend who posted something about sharing music or videos?

    Now you know how to start a conversation about a song or a video on social media!

    5. German Social Media Comments about a Concert

    Still on the theme of music—visiting live concerts and shows just have to be shared with your friends. Here are some handy phrases and vocab to wow your followers in German!

    Tom goes to a concert, posts an image of the band, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Die beste Band!
    “The best band!”

    1- Die beste

    First is an expression meaning “the best.”
    Describing something as “the best” is quite common on social media to show you really like something.

    2- Band

    Then comes the phrase - “band.”
    This expression is very short and powerful. It is clear though that the poster is only talking about their own opinion. You can use any feminine nouns in this way.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Und unser Lied!

    His girlfriend, Franziska, uses an expression meaning - “And our song!”
    Use this expression to indicate to your boyfriend that you’re feeling sentimental about your shared song.

    2- Na ja … beste …

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “Well … best … ”
    Use this phrase to be slightly sarcastic, in a teasing way.

    3- Die mochtest du schon immer!

    His high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “You always liked them!”
    Use this chatty comment to indicate that you recognize the band’s importance to the poster.

    4- Also mein Geschmack ist es nicht aber viel Spaß!

    His supervisor, Andreas, uses an expression meaning - “Well, it isn’t my taste but have fun!”
    Use this expression to share an opinion that differs from the poster’s but in a friendly way.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • die beste: “the best”
  • Band: “band”
  • unser Lied: “our song”
  • na ja: “well “
  • mögen: “to like”
  • schon immer: “always”
  • also: “well”
  • Geschmack: “taste”
  • If a friend posted something about a concert, which phrase would you use?

    6. Talking about an Unfortunate Accident in German

    Oh dear. You broke something by accident. Use these German phrases to start a thread on social media. Or maybe just to let your friends know why you are not contacting them!

    Franziska accidentally breaks her mobile phone, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Bin erstmal telefonisch nicht zu erreichen!
    “For now, I’m not reachable by phone!”

    1- Bin erstmal nicht zu erreichen

    First is an expression meaning “For now I won’t be reachable.”
    A standard sentence used when informing people that your phone is not working at the moment.

    2- telefonisch

    Then comes the phrase - “by telephone.”
    Used whenever you do anything by phone. For example, ordering by telephone or telling someone you will get in touch by calling them. The ending indicates that something is done by/via something.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Oh man was hast du jetzt schon wieder angestellt?

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Oh man, what do you do now?”
    Use this expression to indicate some exasperation and/or sympathy with the poster’s situation.

    2- Das war sowieso alt! Zeit für ein neues!

    Her college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “It was old anyway! Time for a new one!”
    Use these phrases if you know the poster’s phone is broken (because this fact cannot be derived from her post), and want to be encouraging.

    3- Wir haben aber noch eins zuhause rumliegen!

    Her boyfriend, Tom , uses an expression meaning - “We still have one lying around at home!”
    Like the comment above - use this phrase only if you know the phone has been lost or broken. The phrase indicates that you wish to be helpful.

    4- Oh nein, hat dein Handy den Geist aufgegeben?

    Her neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Oh no, has your mobile phone become a ghost?”
    Use this question if you’re not sure what happened to the poster’s phone, and wish for more information.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • erstmal: “for now”
  • oh man: “oh boy”
  • eh: “anyway”
  • Zeit für: “time for”
  • rumliegen: “to lie around”
  • zu Hause: “at home”
  • oh nein: “oh no”
  • den Geist aufgeben: “to give up the ghost (a common German saying used whenever a machine stops working)”
  • If a friend posted something about having broken something by accident, which phrase would you use?

    So, now you know how to discuss an accident in German. Well done!

    7. Chat about Your Boredom on Social Media in German

    Sometimes, we’re just bored with how life goes. And to alleviate the boredom, we write about it on social media. Add some excitement to your posts by addressing your friends and followers in German!

    Tom gets bored at home, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Was ist heute so los? Irgendwer unterwegs?
    “What is happening today? Anybody out and about?”

    1- Was ist heute so los?

    First is an expression meaning “What is happening today?.”
    This is a casual expression to ask about what is going on that day, usually followed by friends suggesting ideas.

    2- Irgendwer unterwegs?

    Then comes the phrase - “Anybody out and about?.”
    This is a common social media expression as it is not a full sentence but is just asking if anybody is doing anything that the poster could join.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Komm mit den Jungs und mir mit in den Club!

    His college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “Come to the club with the boys and me!”
    Make this suggestion if you wish to be helpful, and invite the poster somewhere.

    2- Wir könnten Essen gehen!

    His girlfriend, Franziska, uses an expression meaning - “We could go out for dinner!”
    Another suggestion if your boyfriend is bored, and you wish to be helpful and encouraging.

    3- Entscheidungen, Entscheidungen. Triff die richtige!

    His girlfriend’s nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “Decisions, decisions. Make the right one!”
    Use these phrases if you wish to tease the poster with a slightly sarcastic comment about the suggestions, perhaps.

    4- Du bist immer herzlich eingeladen.

    His high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “You’re always (warmly) invited.”
    Use this expression to warm heartedly invite the poster out too - another comment that shows you wish to be helpful.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • was ist los?: “what is happening?”
  • unterwegs: “out and about”
  • mitkommen: “to come with”
  • wir könnten: “we could”
  • Entscheidung: “decision”
  • richtig: “right”
  • immer : “always”
  • herzlich eingeladen.: “warmly invited”
  • If a friend posted something about being bored, which phrase would you use?

    Still bored? Share another feeling and see if you can start a conversation!

    8. Exhausted? Share It on Social Media in German

    Sitting in public transport after work, feeling like chatting online? Well, converse in German about how you feel, and let your friends join in!

    Franziska feels exhausted after a long day at work, posts an image of herself looking tired, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Ich kann nicht mehr! Wann ist endlich Wochenende?
    “I’m exhausted! When’s the weekend?”

    1- Ich kann nicht mehr!

    First is an expression meaning “I am exhausted!.”
    Literally “I cannot anymore”. It is a very common expression that’s used when you are running and out of breath or stressed at work or school or just generally need a break.

    2- Wann ist endlich Wochenende?

    Then comes the phrase - “When is it finally the weekend?.”
    This is a rhetorical question and is very commonly used, as everybody loves to talk about looking forward to the weekend.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Dann koche ich heute!

    Her boyfriend, Tom, uses an expression meaning - “Then I will cook today!”
    Use this expression to be supportive and helpful to your girlfriend.

    2- Oh nein, was ist denn da los?

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Oh no, what’s going on there?”
    Use this expression to indicate concern for your friend.

    3- Tja kann ja nicht jeder Student sein!

    Her nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “Well, not everybody can be a student!”
    Use this expression to joke with the poster, teasing them a bit.

    4- Ist alles in Ordnung?

    Her neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Is everything ok?”
    Use this expression to show your concern and worry about the poster’s wellbeing.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • können: “to be able to”
  • dann: “then”
  • kochen: “to cook”
  • ohjemine: “oh no”
  • was ist denn da los?: “what is going on there?”
  • Student: “student”
  • sein: “be”
  • in Ordnung: “ok”
  • If a friend posted something about being exhausted, which phrase would you use?

    Now you know how to say you’re exhausted in German! Well done.

    9. Talking about an Injury in German

    So life happens, and you manage to hurt yourself during a soccer game. Very Tweet-worthy! Here’s how to do it in German.

    Tom suffers a painful injury, posts an image of his foot, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom’s post.

    Fuß eventuell gebrochen! Erstmal kein Fußball!
    “Foot possibly broken! No football for now!”

    1- Fuß eventuell gebrochen!

    First is an expression meaning “Foot possibly broken!.”
    This is a short statement giving the main facts. Men often seem to use short statements like this.

    2- Erstmal kein Fußball!

    Then comes the phrase - “No football for now!.”
    This second statement is equally short and typical of social media. Not too much information, just the facts, afterwards friends usually ask for more details.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Was wird aus unserem Turnier am Wochenende?

    His college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “What’ll become of our tournament this weekend?”
    Ask this question to either make conversation (Cause the answer should be clear), or to really want information from the poster.

    2- Mein armer Schatz!

    His girlfriend, Franziska, uses an expression meaning - “My poor sweetheart!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling sorry for your boyfriend.

    3- Das klingt gar nicht gut! Kann ich irgendwie helfen?

    His neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “That doesn’t sound good at all! Can I help in any way?”
    Use this expression to show your concern, and to offer help.

    4- Du Tollpatsch! Das wird schon wieder!

    His high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “You klutz! It’ll be alright!”
    Use this insult to show your sympathy while also being supportive and encouraging.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Fuß: “foot”
  • Turnier: “tournament”
  • Wochenende: “weekend”
  • Schatz: “sweetheart”
  • irgendwie : “in any way”
  • helfen: “to help “
  • Tollpatsch: “klutz”
  • das wird schon wieder: “It will be alright”
  • If a friend posted something about being injured, which phrase would you use?

    We love to share our fortunes and misfortunes; somehow that makes us feel connected to others.

    10. Starting a Conversation Feeling Disappointed in German

    Sometimes things don’t go the way we planned. Share your disappointment about this with your friends!

    Franziska feels disappointed about today’s weather, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Wann ist endlich Sommer?
    “When is it finally summer?”

    1- Wann ist endlich Sommer?

    First is an expression meaning “When is it finally summer?.”
    This is a very common expression used by many people, especially towards the end of winter or during spring. This is a rhetorical question, used to express the poster ́s negative feelings regarding the weather, not actually asking when summer starts.

    2- Wann ist endlich Sommer?

    Then comes the phrase - “When is it finally summer?.”
    Many German people think summer is the best season and think it is too short and not hot enough (temperatures can vary anywhere between 15-35 degrees and it is not very consistent. One day might be hot and sunny, the next cool and rainy). Summer is seen as the time to get outdoors, go swimming or have BBQs. The long evenings (it gets dark at around 9pm in the middle of summer) are enjoyed because during the long winter there is not much sunshine and it gets dark in the afternoon.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Ich komme gerade aus dem Urlaub. Irgendwo ist immer Sommer.

    Her college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “I just got back from vacation. There’s always summer somewhere.”
    Use these phrases to comment in a chatty way, sharing a bit of personal information.

    2- Am Wochenende soll es schön werden!

    Her supervisor, Andreas, uses an expression meaning - “It’s supposed to be nice on the weekend!”
    Use this expression if you have encouraging news about the weather, with the purpose of being supportive.

    3- Sommer, Sonne, Strand und Meer!

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Summer, sun, beach and sea!”
    Use this expression to stay part of the conversation.

    4- Es wird jeden Tag heller!

    Her neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “It gets lighter everyday!”
    Use this expression if you wish to encourage the poster, and remind them that the end of the bad weather is close.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • endlich: “finally”
  • kommen: “to come”
  • sollen: “to be supposed to”
  • es: “it “
  • Strand: “beach”
  • Meer: “sea”
  • jeden Tag: “every day”
  • hell: “light”
  • How would you comment in German when a friend is disappointed?

    Not all posts need to be about a negative feeling, though!

    11. Talking about Your Relationship Status in German

    Don’t just change your relationship status in Settings, talk about it!

    Tom changes his status to “In a relationship”, posts an image of him and Franziska together, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Hinter jedem großen Mann stand immer eine liebende Frau.
    “Behind every great man is (always) a loving woman.”

    1- Hinter jedem großen Mann stand immer eine liebende Frau.

    First is an expression meaning “Behind every great man is always a loving woman..”
    This is a quote from Pablo Picasso. Quotes are quite common on social media to get people’s attention and portray your post in a certain light.

    2- hinter jedem großen Mann

    Then comes the phrase - “behind every great man .”
    It usually means tall or big; however, in this case it is used as “great”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Ich liebe dich!

    His girlfriend, Franziska, uses an expression meaning - “I love you!”
    Post this phrase if you like your boyfriend’s post, and if you love him, of course!

    2- Oh das freut mich für euch!

    His neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Oh, I’m happy for you!”
    Use this expression if you are feeling positive and happy for the couple.

    3- Ihr seid so ein süßes Paar!

    His high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “You are such a cute couple!”
    Use this expression if you feel optimistic about the relationship.

    4- Alles Gute mein bester!

    His college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “All the best buddy!”
    Use this expression to tease the poster a bit.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • liebend: “loving”
  • lieben : “love “
  • oh: “oh”
  • sich freuen: “to be happy”
  • süß: “cute”
  • Paar: “couple”
  • Alles Gute: “All the best”
  • Alter: “buddy”
  • What would you say in German when a friend changes their relationship status?

    Being in a good relationship with someone special is good news - don’t be shy to spread it!

    12. Post about Getting Married in German

    Wow, so things got serious, and you’re getting married. Congratulations! Or, your friend is getting married, so talk about this in German.

    Franziska is getting married today, so she leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Der schönste Tag meines Lebens!
    “The most beautiful day of my life!”

    1- Der schönste Tag meines Lebens!

    First is an expression meaning “The most beautiful day of my life!.”
    This expression is often used to mean somebody’s wedding day. People understand this is usually related to a wedding even if the posters don’t specifically say they are getting married.

    2- der schönste Tag

    Then comes the phrase - “the most beautiful day .”
    “The most beautiful day” is a powerful statement. Usually people would say something like “it was such a beautiful day.” However, big events like weddings or the birth of a child often use superlatives like “the most beautiful”, “the best”, etc.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Und auch der schönste Tag meines Lebens!

    Her husband, Tom , uses an expression meaning - “And also the most beautiful day of my life!”
    Use this phrase in response to your new wife’s post.

    2- Ich bin so aufgeregt!

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “I’m so excited!”
    Use this expression if you’re feeling very good about the pending wedding.

    3- Endlich ist der Tag gekommen. Meine herzlichsten Glückwünsche!

    Her neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Finally, the day has come. My most heartfelt congratulations!”
    Use this expression to show you have eagerly awaited the wedding, and want to warmly congratulate the couple.

    4- Jetzt gibts kein Zurück mehr!

    Her college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “Now there’s no turning back (anymore)!”
    Use this expression to tease the couple in a good natured way.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • schön: “beautiful”
  • auch: “also”
  • Leben: “life”
  • aufgeregt: “excited”
  • endlich: “finally”
  • Glückwunsch: “congratulations”
  • zurück: “back”
  • mehr: “anymore”
  • How would you respond in German to a friend’s post about getting married?

    For the next topic, fast forward about a year into the future after the marriage…

    13. Announcing Big News in German

    Wow, huge stuff is happening in your life! Announce it in German.

    Tom finds out he and his wife are going to have a baby, posts an image of the two of them, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Aus zwei werden drei! Wir bekommen ein Baby.
    “Two are becoming three! We are having a baby.”

    1- Aus zwei werden drei!

    First is an expression meaning “Two are becoming three!.”
    This is a common expression that’s used to announce a pregnancy. Even if there is no “we are having a baby” added, people will usually guess that a baby is on the way.

    2- Wir bekommen ein Baby.

    Then comes the phrase - “We are having a baby..”
    The verb used to express having a baby can literally be translated as “to get” or “to receive”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Wir sind so glücklich!

    His wife, Franziska, uses an expression meaning - “We are so happy!”
    Use this expression to comment positively on your husband’s post about the pregnancy.

    2- Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Das ist ein großes Ereignis in jedem Leben.

    His supervisor, Andreas, uses an expression meaning - “Congratulations! That’s a big event in a person’s life.”
    This is a traditional congratulation, as well as a friendly personal opinion about the event. Use it to keep the conversation going, as other posters may agree with you and share their opinions.

    3- Tante Katharina babysittet gerne!

    His high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “Aunt Katharina is happy to babysit!”
    Use this expression to show you are looking forward to the new arrival and hope to help taking care of the baby.

    4- Jetzt wird alles anders!

    His nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “Now everything will be different!”
    Use this expression to tease the posters by appearing pessimistic, using a fact.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • werden: “to become”
  • glücklich : “happy”
  • Ereignis: “event”
  • jeder: “every “
  • Tante: “aunt”
  • babysitten: “to babysit”
  • alles: “everything”
  • anders: “different”
  • Which phrase would you choose when a friend announces their pregnancy on social media?

    So, talking about a pregnancy will get you a lot of traction on social media. But wait till you see the responses to babies!

    14. Posting German Comments about Your Baby

    Your bundle of joy is here, and you cannot keep quiet about it! Share your thoughts in German.

    Franziska plays with her baby, posts an image of the little angel, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Mein kleiner Sonnenschein!
    “My little sunshine!”

    1- Mein kleiner Sonnenschein!

    An expression meaning “My little sunshine!.” This is a very common expression to refer to babies and small children. This can be used with any other masculine noun to mention that something is either small, such as “my little dog,” or smaller/younger than you, such as “my little brother”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Ganz der Papa!

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Completely like Daddy!”
    Use this comment to make conversation about the baby’s similarity to its father.

    2- So ein schönes Bild.

    Her neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Such a beautiful picture.”
    Use this expression if you appreciate the photo of mother and child.

    3- So süß!

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “So cute!”
    Use this expression to comment on the baby’s charm.

    4- Wann übernimmt er die Firma?

    Her college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “When is he taking over the company?”
    Use this expression if you’re feeling humorous.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Sonnenschein: “sunshine”
  • ganz : “completely”
  • Papa: “Daddy”
  • so ein: “such a “
  • Bild: “picture”
  • so süß: “so cute”
  • übernehmen: “to take over”
  • Firma: “company”
  • If your friend is a new mother or father, which phrase would you use on social media?

    Congratulations, you know the basics of chatting about a baby in German! But we’re not done with families yet…

    15. German Comments about a Family Reunion

    Family reunions - some you love, some you hate. Share about it on your feed.

    Tom goes to a family gathering, posts an image of the group, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Familie ist das wichtigste im Leben!
    “Family is the most important thing in life!”

    1- Familie ist das wichtigste im Leben!

    An expression meaning “Family is the most important thing in life!.” Statements like this are quite common on social media. In this case, the article before the noun is not needed as it means family in general. By capitalizing the “w” you can change the word from an adjective to a noun.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Es war schön alle wiederzusehen!

    His wife, Franziska, uses an expression meaning - “It was nice to see them all again!”
    Use this expression to indicate your appreciation of the family.

    2- Ich war nur wegen dem Essen da!

    His nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “I was just there for the food!”
    Use this expression to be humorous with a negative comment. Use carefully, or you could come across as a spoil-sport.

    3- Ja, den Kontakt mit seiner Familie muss man pflegen!

    His supervisor, Andreas, uses an expression meaning - “Yes, one has to stay in touch with their family.”
    Use this expression to agree with the poster’s sentiment.

    4- Das sieht nach einem tollen Familienfest aus!

    His neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “That looks like a great family celebration!”
    Use this expression to indicate your appreciation of the poster’s family gathering.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Familie: “family”
  • wiedersehen: “to see again”
  • nur: “just”
  • da sein: “to be there”
  • Kontakt: “contact”
  • pflegen: “to maintain”
  • aussehen: “to look like”
  • toll: “great”
  • Which phrase is your favorite to comment on a friend’s photo about a family reunion?

    16. Post about Your Travel Plans in German

    So, the family are going on holiday. Do you know to post and leave comments in German about being at the airport, waiting for a flight?

    Franziska waits at the airport for her flight, posts a selfie, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Zwei Wochen Sommer, Strand und Meer! Ich kann es gar nicht mehr abwarten!
    “Two weeks of summer, beach and sea! I can’t wait!”

    1- Zwei Wochen Sommer, Strand und Meer!

    First is an expression meaning “Two weeks of summer, beach, and the sea!.”
    This is a typical holiday post as the summer, beach and sea are often grouped into one expression. All of these words start with “s” in German, and this expression includes what many German people think is the essence of summer.

    2- Ich kann es gar nicht mehr abwarten!

    Then comes the phrase - “I can’t wait!.”
    This is a very common expression to show you are excited about something, similar to the English “I can’t wait!”.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Aber wir sind mal wieder viel zu früh am Flughafen!

    Her husband, Tom, uses an expression meaning - “But we are at the airport way too early once again!”
    Use this expression to share personal information.

    2- Habt ihr all-inclusive gebucht?

    Her college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “Did you book all-inclusive?”
    Ask this question if you’re curious about the poster’s booking details, and to keep the conversation going.

    3- Viel Spaß! Und keine Sorge, ich werde die Blumen gießen und den Briefkasten leeren!

    Her neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Have fun! And don’t worry, I will water the flowers and empty the mailbox!”
    Use these phrases to wish the travellers well and be helpful taking care of their home. You will probably have arranged this with them beforehand!

    4- Na dann weiß ich ja wo ich hin muss wenn ich sturmfrei haben will.

    Her nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “Well then I know where I have to go when I want to have the place to myself.”
    Use this phrase to tease the poster with a mock-threat.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • abwarten: “to wait”
  • mal wieder: “once again”
  • Flughafen: “airport”
  • all-inclusive: “all-inclusive”
  • keine Sorge: “don’t worry”
  • gießen: “to water”
  • wissen: “to know”
  • sturmfrei haben: “to have the place to oneself”
  • Choose and memorize your best airport phrase in German!

    Hopefully the rest of the trip is better!

    17. Posting about an Interesting Find in German

    So maybe you’re strolling around at a local market, and find something interesting. Here are some handy German phrases!

    Tom finds an unusual item at a local market, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Weiß jemand was das hier ist?
    “Does anyone know what this is?”

    1- Weiß jemand

    First is an expression meaning “does anyone know.”
    This is a general statement, as it refers to anyone reading this that might know something.

    2- was das hier ist

    Then comes the phrase - “what this is.”
    This is also a very general statement. This is commonly used when somebody has no idea what they have found.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Das frage ich mich auch!

    His wife, Franziska, uses an expression meaning - “I am asking myself the same thing!”
    Use this expression to indicate your interest in the topic, agree with the poster, and make conversation.

    2- Nanu, was habt ihr denn da gefunden?

    His neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Oh wow, what have you found there?”
    Use this expression to make conversation by asking a rhethorical question.

    3- Ein Souvenir für mich?

    His nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “A souvenir for me?”
    Use this expression if you’re expecting a gift from the poster.

    4- Ist es wertvoll?

    His college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “Is it valuable?”
    Ask this question to indicate your interest in the topic, and would like to know more. Also a good way to keep the conversation going.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • wissen: “to know”
  • fragen: “to ask”
  • ich mich auch: “me too”
  • nanu: “oh wow”
  • finden: “to find”
  • Souvenir: “souvenir”
  • für mich: “for me”
  • wertvoll: “valuable”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s interesting find?

    Perhaps you will even learn the identity of your find! Or perhaps you’re on holiday, and visiting interesting places…

    18. Post about a Sightseeing Trip in German

    Let your friends know what you’re up to in German, especially when visiting a remarkable place! Don’t forget the photo.

    Franziska visits a famous landmark, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Es mit eigenen Augen zu sehen ist wirklich beeindruckend!
    “Seeing it with your own eyes is really impressive!”

    1- Es mit eigenen Augen zu sehen

    First is an expression meaning “to see it with your own eyes.”
    This is a common expression that is used when you see something famous in person instead of on TV or in pictures.

    2- ist wirklich beeindruckend

    Then comes the phrase - “is really impressive.”
    This is a common expression used when you are impressed by something.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Einer der Höhepunkte unserer Reise finde ich!

    Her husband, Tom , uses an expression meaning - “One of the highlights of our trip, I think!”
    Use this comment if you’re in agreement with your wife about the landmark’s importance.

    2- Postkarte bitte!

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Postcard please!”
    Use this phrase to indicate you’d like to receive a postcard from the poster of that location.

    3- Oh wenn ich nochmal jung wäre würde ich glatt mitkommen!

    Her supervisor, Andreas, uses an expression meaning - “Oh, if I was young again, I would even come with you!”
    Use this comment if you wish it was possible for you to travel to that destination too.

    4- Oh wirklich super!

    Her husband’s high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “Oh, really great!”
    Use this expression to show you’re impressed and agree with the poster.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • beeindruckend: “impressive”
  • Höhepunkt: “highlight”
  • Reise: “trip”
  • Postkarte: “postcard”
  • bitte: “please”
  • jung: “young”
  • mitkommen: “to come along”
  • super: “great”
  • Which phrase would you prefer when a friend posts about a famous landmark?

    Share your special places with the world. Or simply post about your relaxing experiences.

    19. Post about Relaxing Somewhere in German

    So you’re doing nothing yet you enjoy that too? Tell your social media friends about it in German!

    Tom relaxes at a beautiful place, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Endlich kommt man mal zur Ruhe!
    “Finally coming to a rest for once!”

    1- Endlich mal

    First is an expression meaning “Finally for once.”
    This is a common expression. The “finally” indicates that they have been working hard or have been stressed for a while and now is a rare time to relax.

    2- zur Ruhe kommen!

    Then comes the phrase - “coming to a rest.”
    This is a common expression used after people finish work or when they have been stressed or angry and are trying to calm down.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Sieht aus wie damals auf Klassenfahrt!

    His high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “Looks like back then on the class trip!”
    Use this comment to remind the poster of a previous experience, probably in your youth together.

    2- Nicht schlecht!

    His nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “Not bad!”
    Use this expression to show you are rather impressed.

    3- In der Ruhe liegt die Kraft!

    His neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “The strength lies in serenity.”
    This is a personal opinion about the poster’s situation.

    4- Entspannung muss auch mal sein!

    His supervisor, Andreas, uses an expression meaning - “Relaxation is needed sometimes!”
    Use this expression to agree with the poster’s activity and even encourage them.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • zur Ruhe kommen: “come to a rest”
  • damals: “back then”
  • Klassenfahrt: “class trip”
  • schlecht: “bad”
  • Ruhe: “serenity”
  • Kraft: “strength”
  • Entspannung: “relaxation”
  • muss sein: “has to be”
  • Which phrase would you use to comment on a friend’s feed?

    The break was great, but now it’s time to return home.

    20. What to Say in German When You’re Home Again

    And you’re back! What will you share with friends and followers?

    Franziska returns home after a vacation, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Endlich zuhause! Wir haben euch vermisst!
    “Finally home! We missed you!”

    1- Endlich zuhause!

    First is an expression meaning “Finally home!”
    This is a common expression used when returning home after a long day or a long trip.

    2- Wir haben euch vermisst!

    Then comes the phrase - “We missed you!”
    This is very common amongst friends and family when someone is gone for a while.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Auf zu neuen Taten!

    Her husband, Tom, uses an expression meaning - “On to new things!”
    Use this expression to make conversation.

    2- Willkommen zurück! Es war so ruhig ohne euch!

    Her neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Welcome back! It was so quiet without you!”
    This is a traditional welcome greeting for people returning from a trip, while also sharing a personal feeling or experience.

    3- Du musst mir unbedingt alles erzählen! Kaffeekränzchen?

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “You really have to tell me everything! Coffee get-together?”
    Use this expression to indicate that you’re curious about the poster’s trip and wish to know more about on a date.

    4- Vielen Dank für den Urlaubsgruß!

    Her supervisor, Andreas, uses an expression meaning - “Thank you very much for the greeting from (your) vacation!”
    This is appropriate if the poster has sent you a postcard or perhaps a personal text during their holiday.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • vermissen: “to miss”
  • auf zu: “on to”
  • ruhig: “quiet”
  • ohne euch: “without you”
  • erzählen: “to tell”
  • Kaffeekränzchen: “coffee get-together”
  • vielen Dank: “thank you very much”
  • Urlaubsgruß: “greeting from vacation”
  • How would you welcome a friend back from a trip?

    What do you post on social media on celebratory days such as Christmas and New Year?

    21. It’s Time to Celebrate in German

    It’s a holiday and you wish to post something about it on social media. What would you say?

    Tom would like to share some good wishes. He posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Ich wünsche allen frohe Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!
    “I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

    1- Ich wünsche allen frohe Weihnachten und einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr!

    First is an expression meaning “I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!.”
    This is the standard holiday greeting in Germany used throughout December. It is usually said during the days/week(s) before Christmas and includes “Happy New Year” since many people don’t see each other between Christmas and New Year, because that is often family time. On Christmas day people would only say “Merry Christmas”.

    2- einen guten Rutsch ins neue Jahr

    Then comes the phrase - “Happy New Year.”
    The literal translation is “a good slide into the new year”. This is the most common New Year’s greeting before the New Year.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Unser erstes Weihnachten zu Dritt!

    His wife, Franziska, uses an expression meaning - “Our first Christmas as three!”
    Use this expression to show you are happy about an unofficial milestone as a family.

    2- Heute Abend Glühwein?

    His college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “Mulled wine tonight?”
    Use this question to make a suggestion.

    3- Es war schön euch gestern auf dem Weihnachtsmarkt zu treffen!

    His high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “It was nice meeting you at the Christmas market yesterday!”
    Use these phrases if you have met the poster at a Christmas market, and want to comment on how pleasant the meeting was for you.

    4- Ich bringe euch nachher Weihnachtskekse vorbei!

    His neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “I will bring over Christmas cookies for you later on!”
    Use this expression to make plans with the poster, and be generous.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • wünschen: “to wish”
  • Weihnachten: “Christmas”
  • Abend: “evening”
  • Glühwein: “mulled wine”
  • Weihnachtsmarkt: “Christmas market”
  • treffen: “to meet”
  • Weihnachtskekse: “Christmas cookies”
  • vorbeibringen: “to bring over”
  • If a friend posted something about a holiday, which phrase would you use?

    Holidays are not the only special dates to remember!

    22. Posting about a Birthday on Social Media in German

    Your friend or you are celebrating your birthday in an unexpected way. Be sure to share this on social media!

    Franziska goes to her birthday party, posts an image of the party, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Und wieder ein Jahr älter! Aber Geburtstagsfeiern werden nie langweilig!
    “And another year older again! But birthday parties will never get boring!”

    1- Und wieder ein Jahr älter!

    First is an expression meaning “And another year older again!.”
    This is a common phrase used by adults to describe their birthdays.

    2- Aber Geburtstagsfeiern werden nie langweilig!

    Then comes the phrase - “But birthday parties will never get boring!.”
    In Germany, children often bring cake or sweets to school on their birthday. Saying “Happy Birthday” before the actual day is considered bad luck, and German people would never celebrate a birthday early.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Nur das Beste für das neue Lebensjahr! Mögen alle deine Wünsche in Erfüllung gehen!

    Her neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Only the best for your new year of life! May all your wishes come true!”
    Use these are warm birthday wishes to the poster.

    2- Tja, wir werden nicht jünger was?

    Her nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “Well, we’re not getting younger, hmm?”
    Use this expression to tease the poster.

    3- Wir sind wie gute Weine! Wir werden besser mit dem Alter!

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “We are like good wine! We get better with age!”
    Use this expression to positively comment on the poster’s improved appearance and being.

    4- Alles Gute! Ich freu mich auf die Party!

    Her husband’s high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “All the best! I am looking forward to the party!”
    Post this if you are on your way to the poster’s party, and are congratulating them in advance.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • und wieder: “and again”
  • nur das Beste: “only the best”
  • in Erfüllung gehen: “to come true”
  • tja: “well”
  • was?: “hmm?”
  • Wein: “wine”
  • Alter: “age”
  • Party : “party “
  • If a friend posted something about a birthday, which phrase would you use?

    23. Talking about New Year on Social Media in German

    Impress your friends with your German New Year’s wishes this year. Learn the phrases easily!

    Tom celebrates the New Year, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Frohes Neues Jahr! Wer hat gute Vorsätze fürs neue Jahr?
    “Happy New Year! Who has resolutions for the new year?”

    1- Frohes Neues Jahr!

    First is an expression meaning “Happy New Year!.”
    This is said at midnight and during the first few days of the new year.

    2- Wer hat gute Vorsätze fürs neue Jahr?

    Then comes the phrase - “Who has resolutions for the new year?.”
    Literally this means “good resolutions” or “good intentions”. It is the standard expression to use when people talk about New Year’s resolutions.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Frohes Neues Jahr! Jeder kann an sich arbeiten und heute ist der beste Tag damit anzufangen!

    His neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Happy New Year! Everybody can work on themselves and today is the best day to begin!”
    This is a traditional New Year wish, and a personal opinion about New Year’s resolutions.

    2- Auf ein weiteres erfolgreiches Jahr!

    His college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “To another successful year!”
    This is a salutation of and wish for the New Year.

    3- Frohes Neues Jahr! Ich bin mir sicher es wird ein gutes Jahr!

    His high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “Happy New Year! I am sure it will be a good year!”
    This is again the traditional New Year’s wish, plus a personal opinion.

    4- Zählt “mehr Mädelsurlaube mit deiner Frau” als guter Vorsatz?

    His wife’s high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “Does “more girl holidays with your wife” count as a resolution?”
    Use this expression to be funny.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • haben: “to have”
  • anfangen: “to begin “
  • auf ein weiteres : “to another”
  • erfolgreich: “successful “
  • sich sicher sein: “to be sure”
  • Jahr: “year”
  • zählen: “count”
  • Mädelsurlaub: “girls’ holiday”
  • Which is your favorite phrase to post on social media during New Year?

    But before New Year’s Day comes another important day…

    24. What to Post on Christmas Day in German

    What will you say in German about Christmas?

    Franziska celebrates Christmas with her family, posts an image of it, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Franziska’s post.

    Frohe Weihnachten! Ich hoffe jeder feiert mit seinen Lieben und findet viele Geschenke unter dem Weihnachtsbaum!
    “Merry Christmas! I hope everyone celebrates with their loved ones and finds a lot of presents under the Christmas tree!”

    1- Frohe Weihnachten! Ich hoffe jeder feiert mit seinen Lieben

    First is an expression meaning “Merry Christmas! I hope everyone celebrates with their loved ones .”
    It is common to say that you hope everyone is celebrating with their loved ones.

    2- und findet viele Geschenke unter dem Weihnachtsbaum!

    Then comes the phrase - “and finds a lot of presents under the Christmas tree!.”
    Saying you hope that people will find many presents under the Christmas tree is a very common expression related to Christmas. In Germany, presents are opened on the evening of the 24th of December.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Franziska’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Der Weihnachtsmann hat mich wohl dieses Jahr vergessen!

    Her nephew, Mario, uses an expression meaning - “Santa Claus seems to have forgotten me this year!”
    Use this expression to show you are feeling excluded.

    2- Wir haben immer jede Menge Essen übrig also kommt ruhig vorbei in den nächsten Tagen!

    Her neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “We always have plenty of food left over so don’t hesitate to come over in the next few days!”
    Use this expression as an invitation to the poster to visit for casual meals.

    3- Frohe Weihnachten an die ganze Familie! Vielleicht sieht man sich in der Kirche?

    Her supervisor, Andreas, uses an expression meaning - “Merry Christmas to the whole family! Maybe we will see each other at church?”
    This is a traditional Christmas wish to the whole family. Use the question only if you are going to church yourself.

    4- Ich hab deine Geschenke schon ausgepackt! Woher wusstest du, dass ich genau das haben wollte?

    Her high school friend, Lisa, uses an expression meaning - “I have already opened your presents! How did you know exactly what I wanted?”
    Use this expression to show your appreciation for the poster’s gift.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Weihnachtsbaum: “Christmas tree”
  • Weihnachtsmann: “Santa Claus”
  • jede Menge: “plenty of “
  • in den nächsten Tagen: “in the next few days”
  • vielleicht: “maybe”
  • Kirche: “church”
  • Geschenke auspacken: “open presents”
  • haben wollen: “to want to have”
  • If a friend posted something about Christmas greetings, which phrase would you use?

    So, the festive season is over! Yet, there will always be other days, besides a birthday, to wish someone well.

    25. Post about Your Anniversary in German

    Some things deserve to be celebrated, like wedding anniversaries. Learn which German phrases are meaningful and best suited for this purpose!

    Tom celebrates his wedding anniversary with his wife, posts an image of them together, and leaves this comment:

    POST

    Let’s break down Tom ’s post.

    Ein ereignisreiches Jahr! Auf die Zukunft!
    “An eventful year! To the future!”

    1- Ein ereignisreiches Jahr!

    First is an expression meaning “An eventful year!.”
    This is a common expression. The literal translation is “a year rich in events” or “a year rich in happenings”. It can be used both for good and not so good experiences, as it simply means a lot has happened, not necessarily all good.

    2- Auf die Zukunft!

    Then comes the phrase - “To the future!.”
    This is a common toast. It can be used for anniversaries, in business, or in general when friends are out having a drink. It is a very broad statement.

    COMMENTS

    In response, Tom ’s friends leave some comments.

    1- Ein wunderbares Jahr! Auf viele weitere!

    His wife, Franziska, uses an expression meaning - “A wonderful year! To many more!”
    Use these phrases if you agree with your husband’s post.

    2- Ist der Junggesellenabschied wirklich schon so lange her?

    His college friend, Cem, uses an expression meaning - “Was the bachelor party really that long ago?”
    Use this expression to reminisce and point out how fast the time went.

    3- Auf viele weitere harmonische Jahre zusammen!

    His high school friend, Katharina, uses an expression meaning - “To many more harmonious years together!”
    Use this expression to wish the couple well.

    4- Feiert schön!

    His neighbor, Tanja, uses an expression meaning - “Have fun celebrating!”
    Use this expression to wish the couple merry celebrations.

    VOCABULARY

    Find below the key vocabulary for this lesson:

  • Zukunft: “future “
  • wunderbar: “wonderful”
  • viele weitere: “many more”
  • Junggesellenabschied: “bachelor party”
  • lange her sein: “to be a long time ago”
  • harmonisch: “harmonious”
  • zusammen: “together”
  • feiern: “to celebrate “
  • If a friend posted something about Anniversary greetings, which phrase would you use?

    Conclusion

    Learning to speak a new language will always be easier once you know key phrases that everybody uses. These would include commonly used expressions for congratulations and best wishes, etc.

    Master these in fun ways with Learn German! We offer a variety of tools to individualize your learning experience, including using cell phone apps, audiobooks, iBooks and many more. Never wonder again what to say on social media!

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

    Saying Sorry in German: How You Can Make Everything Right

    Did you do it? Well, you’d better fess up.

    Or make amends, apologize, beg forgiveness, admit guilt, cop a plea…say sorry.

    We’ve got a lot of ways to talk about doing this in English, just like we do for lots of everyday concepts. And yes, apologizing is an everyday concept, even if you’re a good person.

    For that reason, it’s important that you learn how to say “sorry” in German. Imagine yourself making several different mistakes, then consult this guide to see exactly how you should atone for each one.

    We’ll also break down the language for you so you can understand what you’re saying. All the better for a sincere apology.

    Now, the big question:

    What have you done?
    Was hast du gemacht?

    1. Level 1: You Made a Careless Mistake but it was Okay
    2. Level 2: You Made a Careless Mistake and it was Really Bad
    3. Level 3: You Hurt Someone but They’ll Get Over It
    4. Level 4: You Knowingly Hurt Someone and it was Really Bad
    5. Bonus: Sorry When You Don’t Mean Sorry
    6. Conclusion

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


    1. Level 1: You Made a Careless Mistake but it was Okay

    Spilled Ice Cream

    1- You’re Sitting in Someone’s Seat (Du sitzt in dem Platz von jemandem anderen)

    Germany is famous for its public transportation and the quality of its trains.

    Even in such a well-run system, it’s still possible for mistakes to be made about tickets.

    Somebody may approach you and say:

    - Entschuldigung, aber das ist mein Platz.
    - Sorry, but that’s my seat.

    To which you can simply reply:

    - Entschuldigung!
    - Excuse me!

    This first word is interesting. Let’s look at it, because you’ll hear and use it a lot.

    It translates pretty well to “excuse me” in English, but why is it so long? We can break it up into ent-schuld-ig-ung with the root, schuld, meaning “guilt” or “fault.” Each of the other parts changes the meaning slightly.

    The ent- prefix adds the sense of “removal” to whatever comes after. -ig turns a noun into an adjective, so schuldig means guilty or at fault. And -ung turns it into a noun—think “guilt.”

    Therefore, if we really dissect it, the word for “excuse me” in German is kind of like saying “removal of guilt.” Pretty neat! The more German you learn, the more you’ll be able to easily parse long words like this.

    So if you’re wondering how to say “sorry to bother you” in German or want to know German for “sorry for the inconvenience,” this is a good option.

    And yes, you can use Entschuldigung both to get someone’s attention and to offer an apology. I suppose London isn’t that far from Germany after all. Let’s move on.

    2- You Stepped on Someone’s Foot (Du bist jemandem auf den Fuss getreten)

    We’ve all done it. Whether at a crowded bar or in a crowded train, accidents like this happen.

    This is another great place to bust out the Entschuldigung. Plenty of English speakers would do the same thing—“Oh, excuse me!”

    Lots of people also say “oops” for the same situation. In Germany, they make the same sound, but it’s spelled Ups!

    - Ups! Entschuldigung!
    - Oops! Sorry!

    You don’t need to make a big deal out of little mishaps like that.

    You’ll probably hear a quick and friendly Kein Ding, meaning “it’s nothing” or “no problem.”

    But what if the mishap was slightly larger?


    2. Level 2: You Made a Careless Mistake and it was Really Bad

    Woman Facepalming

    1- You Knocked a Hot Drink All Over Somebody (Du hast ein heisses Getränk auf jemanden geschüttet)

    Autsch! Well, you didn’t mean it. And they probably needed to wash that shirt anyway. Still, you can’t brush something like that off with an Entschuldigung alone. Instead:

    - Ach nein! Entschuldigung! Tut mir Leid!
    - Oh no! Sorry! So sorry!

    Tut mir Leid is another extremely common phrase that you’ll see a few times in this article. It’s a shortened form of es tut mir Leid, which literally means “it does me sorrow.” That sounds pretty hefty in translation, but of course it doesn’t carry that strong of a connotation in German.

    You’ll probably want to do something to help rectify the situation, like saying:

    - Ich hole Ihnen eine Serviette.
    - “I’ll get you (some) napkins.”

    Or better, if you’re able to:

    - Ich kaufe Ihnen … [einen neuen Kaffee, ein neues Bier].
    - I’ll buy you [a new coffee, a new beer].

    Here we’re using the formal Sie (seen here in its grammatical form Ihnen) because this situation is much more likely to happen to people that you don’t know. And when you’ve just ruined someone’s morning, you’ll want to be as polite as possible.

    If you’re not in range of a coffee shop/biergarten, this step isn’t necessary. Something that you might need to replace, though, is…

    2- You Dropped Someone’s Phone and the Screen Cracked (Du hast das Handy von jemandem fallen lassen und der Bildschirm ist zerbrochen)

    3 Ways to Say Sorry

    Yeah, you’re gonna need to offer some assistance here. First, start off with:

    - Es tut mir wirklich Leid!
    - I’m really so sorry!

    Then try to do what you can to fix the situation.

    - Ich kenne jemanden, der das in Ordnung bringen kann.
    - “I know someone who can fix it.”

    If you’re borrowing someone’s phone it’s probably a friend’s, so you can suggest:

    - Es war meine Schuld. Ich werde es zur Reperatur bringen.
    - It was my fault. I’ll get it repaired.

    There’s that word Schuld again from Entschuldigung. While Entschuldigung (despite its length) is a light and common word, to use the root Schuld is more serious and comes out when there’s someone to blame for something.

    3- You Made a Business Mistake and Cost Your Company Clients (Du hast einen Fehler bei der Arbeit gemacht und deine Firma um Kunden gebracht)

    Say Sorry

    Here’s a chance to make amends using much more formal language than in the other examples. Depending on your business, this might be something that can be easily forgiven or it might merit some kind of punishment.

    Better to err on the safe side when you fess up.

    - Ich hoffe, dass Sie meine aufrichtige Entschuldigung akzeptieren.
    - I hope you accept my sincere apologies.

    Here we’ve again used the formal Sie and used a great set phrase, aufrichtige Entschuldigung. Now to convince your boss not to give you the boot immediately:

    - Ich verspreche, dass ich in Zukunft vorsichtiger sein werde.
    - I promise to be more careful in the future.

    Vorsicht is another word we can take apart quite cleanly. Sicht means “sight,” and vor is a preposition meaning “before.” So before-sight literally means “caution” or “attention,” and sure enough the word Vorsicht! is often printed in big letters on danger signs all over Europe.


    3. Level 3: You Hurt Someone but They’ll Get Over It

    Man Asking Woman for Forgiveness

    1- You Ate the Last of Your Roommate’s Food (Du hast das letzte Essen deines Mitbewohners gegessen)

    Oh gosh. That can actually be pretty rude in Germany, where people are more used to their privacy and personal space.

    The best thing to do is to apologize sincerely.

    - Es tut mir Leid. Ich hätte das nicht tun sollen.
    - I’m very sorry. I shouldn’t have done that.

    This is a great example of how the German language can stack up verbs at the end of the sentence. This article isn’t going to go into depth about German verbs and how they work, but I’ll tell you that this is the memory anchor I use to talk about this tense.

    Anytime I want to express “shouldn’t have […],” I think about the phrase “I shouldn’t have done it,” and remember how the verbs are ordered. This is faster than applying a list of rules!

    In any case, your roommate has probably lost some trust in you. That’s only natural—those cookies were homemade! So you should try to convince them that you’ll change. Here are two great sentences for that:

    - Ich werde das nie wieder tun.
    - I’ll never do it again.

    - Wie wäre es, wenn ich dir ein Abendessen koche?
    - How about I cook you dinner?

    This is another perfect phrase you can fit into a lot of situations. “How about if…” / wie wäre es, wenn

    How about if you were on the other side of that situation—and you overreacted?

    2- You Got Angry and Shouted at a Friend (Du bist wütend auf einen Freund geworden und hast ihn/sie angeschriehen)

    This is a perfect situation to use that “I shouldn’t have done it” phrase. In addition, you might also try explaining why you were so hurt.

    - Ich war schlecht gelaunt, also…
    - I was in a bad mood, so…

    - Ich war wütend auf dich, weil…
    - I was angry at you because…

    But just explaining why you lost your temper doesn’t always go far enough. You’ll also have to apologize sincerely (try once more with es tut mir Leid).

    Depending on the relationship you have with your friend, it may be appropriate to promise that you won’t do it again. Displays of anger really don’t tend to fit in with German culture, and they may have a bigger effect on your friends than you realize.


    4. Level 4: You Knowingly Hurt Someone and it was Really Bad

    Woman Sitting Alone

    Oh, dear reader, why do you do these things?

    1- Somebody Lost their Job Because of You (Wegen dir hat jemand seinen Job verloren)

    This would probably be a situation where a lengthy letter of apology is more appropriate than a couple of phrases. And you might want to wait a little bit to give them time to cool off.

    Keeping in mind that what you say is going to hinge on your individual circumstances, here are some good things you can try to work into your apology.

    - Ich habe einen schrecklichen Fehler (bei der Beurteilung) begangen.
    - I made a terrible mistake (in judgment).

    - Bitte nehmen Sie meine Entschuldigung an.
    - Please accept my apology.

    Once more, because this is a work environment, you’ll want to use Sie. Even if you previously used du with that person, if your mistake has really caused a rift between you, it may seem rude to address them with du.

    2- You Stole Something from a Friend or Family Member (Du hast irgendetwas von einem Freund oder einem Familienmitglied gestohlen)

    Remember that handy phrase from earlier, “I shouldn’t have done it”? Your mistakes here have now provided you with the opportunity to get more German practice in by explaining exactly what it was that you shouldn’t have done.

    - Ich hätte es nicht nehmen sollen, ohne zu fragen.
    - I shouldn’t have taken it without asking.

    Not only that, though, you did something pretty bad. That means that you’ve got to acknowledge that fact in clear and direct language. It’s no good to beat around the bush here—in Germany, blunt honesty about your own faults is the best policy.

    - Es war falsch von mir.
    - I was very wrong to do it.

    Last, let’s add a bit about how much your evil deeds have hurt you too.

    - Ich habe dich verletzt, und das tut mir furchtbar Leid.
    - I hurt you and I feel awful about it.

    Words, of course, are only words. Time will tell if you’ve really changed, and that’s what makes the biggest difference when you apologize.


    5. Bonus: Sorry When You Don’t Mean Sorry

    Man Shrugging

    No, I’m not talking about being unrepentant!

    There’s one other time when English-speakers commonly say “Sorry,” and that’s when they don’t hear something clearly.

    In German, as in many other European languages, this is expressed with the word for “how,” not the word for “what” as in English.

    - Wie bitte?
    - Sorry? / What did you say?

    If you didn’t quite hear something clearly (or you’ve slacked off on your vocab study) then saying wie bitte will let people know they need to speak up a bit.

    The nuances of bitte deserve their own post. Suffice it to say that it often means “please” or just adds a flair of politeness to everyday interactions, such as:

    - Bitte schön!
    - Here you go!

    You’ll hear this all the time in cafes or grocery stores in Germany. Any time you’re handing something over to somebody else, use this phrase and you can’t go wrong.


    Conclusion

    Apologies are complex things that rarely conform to a guide.

    It’s easy enough to say “oops, excuse me” for little things, but larger mistakes take skill in interpersonal communication more than anything else.

    A really great way to pick up on these social cues (which may be quite different in Germany than what you’re used to) is to watch plenty of TV in German. Somebody’s always apologizing for something in a soap opera!

    One thing’s for sure: If you ever find yourself in that situation, the more prepared you are, the better. If all goes well, your honest feelings and heartfelt words will save the day.

    If you’d like to learn more about German culture, as well as additional vocabulary, be sure to visit us at GermanPod101.com! Also check out our online community forums to discuss lessons with fellow German-learners, and download our MyTeacher app for a one-on-one learning experience.

    We here at GermanPod101.com hope that this article gave you the tools you need to apologize in German. Remember, practice makes perfect. So go step on someone’s foot and tell them sorry in German. (No, please don’t!)

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

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