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Archive for the 'German Grammar' Category

100 Hand-Picked German Verbs for Your Everyday Life

You know, German treats verbs differently.

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

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

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

1. Regular Tourist Verbs in German

City of Bremen in Germany

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

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

1. gehen – “go”

Wo gehen Sie hin?

“Where are you going?”

2. schlafen – “sleep”

Ich kann nicht schlafen.

“I can’t sleep.”

3. bleiben – “stay”

Wie lange bleibst du hier?

“How long are you staying here?”

4. bezahlen – “pay”

Kann ich mit der Karte bezahlen?

“Can I pay with a card?”

5. essen – “eat”

Was wollen Sie essen?

“What do you want to eat?”

6. trinken – “drink”

Gibt’s noch was zum trinken?

“Is there anything else to drink?”

7. kaufen – “buy”

Ich kaufe nur Android Handys.

“I only buy Android phones.”

8. verkaufen – “sell”

Ich möchte meine alten Kleider verkaufen.

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

9. bestellen – “to order (food)”

Möchten Sie bestellen?

“Would you like to order?”

10. bummeln – “to wander”

Nach der arbeit, bummelte er noch durch die Stadt.

“After work, he wandered through the city.”

11. chillen – “to relax,” “to chill”

Ich möchte heute etwas in dem Park chillen.

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

12. wandern – “to hike”

Kann man in den Bergen wandern?

“Can you hike in the mountains?”

13. reservieren – “to reserve”

Sie haben kein Zimmer reserviert.

“You haven’t reserved a room.”

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

Er feiert nächste Woche seinen Geburtstag.

“He’s celebrating his birthday next week.”

15. saufen – “to get drunk”

Saufen wir zu viel?

“Do we drink too much?”

Top Verbs

2. Verbs at Home

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

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

16. aufwachen – “wake up”

Ich muss jeden Tag um sechs Uhr früh aufwachen.

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

17. aufstehen – “to get up”

Ich stehe um zehn Uhr auf.

“I get up at ten.”

18. schlafen – “to sleep”

Sie schläft immer noch.

“She’s still sleeping.”

19. sich die Zähne putzen – “brush teeth”

Ich putze mir gerade die Zähne, warte mal kurz.

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

20. sich die Haare bürsten – “brush hair”

Ich hasse es, wenn jemand mir die Haare bürstet.

“I hate it when someone brushes my hair.”

21. das Bett machen – “make the bed”

Wann wirst du dein Bett machen?

“When are you going to make your bed?”

22. sich duschen – “to shower”

Ich dusche mich zweimal in der Woche.

“I take a shower twice a week.”

23. staubsaugen – “to vacuum”

Bitte, könntest du unter dem Bett noch mal staubsaugen?

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

24. bügeln – “to iron”

Ich bügle nie meine Hemden.

“I never iron my shirts.”

25. waschen – “to wash”

Hast du deine Hände gewaschen?

“Did you wash your hands?”

26. aufräumen – “to clean up”

Können Sie bitte die Küche aufräumen?

“Could you please clean up the kitchen?”

27. fernsehen – “to watch TV”

Ich sehe selten fern.

“I don’t watch TV often.”

28. lesen – “to read”

Was lesen Sie gerade?

“What are you reading now?”

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

Hörst du deutsche Hörbücher?

“Do you listen to German audiobooks?”

3. Verbs in the Kitchen

Couple Preparing Food in the Kitchen

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

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

30. kochen – “to cook,” “to boil”

Ich koche jeden Tag Eier.

“I cook eggs everyday.”

31. umrühren – “to stir”

Rühr die Suppe um.

“Stir the soup.”

32. backen – “to bake”

Kannst du Kekse backen?

“Can you bake cookies?”

33. vorheizen – “to preheat”

Den Backofen auf einhundert achtzig Grad vorheizen.

“Preheat the oven to one hundred eighty degrees.”

34. erhitzen – “to heat up”

Erhitzen Sie das Öl in der Pfanne.

“Heat up oil in the pan.”

35. einfrieren – “to freeze”

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

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

36. frühstücken – “to eat breakfast”

Ich frühstücke immer auf Arbeit.

“Where are we going to eat breakfast?”

37. Abendessen essen – “eat dinner”

Er isst Abendessen allein zu Hause.

“He is eating dinner alone at home.”

38. anbrennen – “to burn (food)”

Oh nein, ich habe das Sandwich angebrannt!

“Oh no, I burned the sandwich!”

39. schneiden – “to cut”

Wir schneiden den Teig mit einem Messer.

“We cut the dough with a knife.”

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

Das hier schmeckt nach altem Käse.

“This tastes like old cheese.”

41. probieren – “to try”

Schnecken würde er niemals probieren.

“He would never give snails a try.”

42. salzen  – “to salt”

Als Nächstes werde ich das gericht salzen.

“Next, I’ll salt the dish.”

4. Verbs at the University

People Taking a Test in a University Classroom

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

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

43. schreiben – “to write”

Ich kann nicht so gut schreiben.

“I can’t write very well.”

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

Ich studiere Geschichte als Hauptfach.

“I’m studying history as my major.”

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

Haben Sie für die Prüfung gelernt?

“Did you study for the test?”

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

Du hast das ganze Buch auswendig gelernt?!

“You learned the whole book by heart?!”

47. anmelden – “to register”

Wo melde ich mich an?

“Where do I register?”

48. forschen – “to research”

Forschen Sie lieber oder lehren Sie lieber?

“Do you prefer researching or teaching?”

49. sich verabreden – “make an appointment”

Wir haben uns schon verabredet.

“We’ve made an appointment.”

50. den Unterricht schwänzen – “to skip classes”

Ich habe niemals im Leben den Unterricht geschwänzt.

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

51. spicken – “to cheat”

Sie wurden beim spicken erwischt.

“They were caught cheating.”

52. bestehen – “to pass”

Ich will meine Deutschprüfung bestehen!

“I want to pass my German test!”

53. durchfallen – “to fail”

Viele Studenten sind dieses Jahr durchgefallen.

“Lots of students failed this year.”

54. wiederholen – “to repeat”

Können Sie das bitte wiederholen?

“Could you please repeat that?”

55. überzeugen – “to convince”

Ich bin immer noch nicht überzeugt.

“I’m still not convinced.”

56. vorlesen – “to read aloud”

Kannst du den Satz bitte vorlesen?

“Could you please read the sentence aloud?”

57. lehren – “to teach”

Er lehrt im Gymnasium.

“He teaches at the secondary school.”

58. verpassen – “to miss”

Ich habe meinen Bus verpasst!

“I missed my bus!”

59. einen Abschluss machen – “to graduate”

Sie hat ihren Abschluss noch nicht gemacht.

“She hasn’t yet graduated.”

5. Verbs at Work

Two Women Going Over Work-related Papers

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

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

60. Kaffee machen – “to brew coffee”

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

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

61. pünktlich sein – “to be on time”

Wie kann er immer pünktlich sein?

“How can he always be on time?”

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

Das Kind verspätet sich immer.

“The child is always late.”

63. anstellen – “to hire”

Stellen Sie hier viele Frauen an?

“Do you hire many women here?”

64. entlassen – “to fire”

Vorsicht, du könntest dafür entlassen werden.

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

65. arbeiten – “to work”

Wo arbeiten Sie?

“Where do you work?”

66. kündigen – “to quit”

Ich werde in zwei Wochen kündigen.

“I’m quitting in two weeks.”

67. erklären – “to explain”

Wir können diese Situation erklären.

“We can explain this situation.”

 68. jammern – “to babble”

Er jammert stundenlang in seinem Büro.

“He babbles constantly in his office.”

69. telefonieren – “to make a call”

Haben Sie mit der Abteilungsleiterin telefoniert?

“Did you call the department manager?”

70. drucken – “to print”

Wir drucken zu viele Sachen.

“We’re printing too many things.”

71. speichern – “to save”

Ich habe das Dokument nicht gespeichert!

“I didn’t save the document!”

72. schicken – “to send”

Ich habe es dir in einer E-Mail geschickt.

“I sent it to you via email.”

73. verhandeln – “to negotiate”

Ich muss ein besseres Gehalt verhandeln.

“I have to negotiate a better salary.”

More Essential Verbs

6. Verbs for Your Spare Time

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

Here are a few German hobby verbs to memorize.

74. zeichnen – “to draw”

Ich zeichne keine Menschen.

“I don’t draw people.”

75. skizzieren – “to sketch”

Er skizziert ein Turm.

“He sketches a tower.”

76. malen – “to paint”

Ich male gern mit den Kindern.

“I like to paint with the kids.”

77. fotografieren – “to take photos”

Ich fotografiere viele Blumen.

“I take a lot of pictures of flowers.”

78. Gitarre spielen – “to play guitar”

Es ist lange her seitdem ich Gitarre gespielt habe.

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

79. programmieren – “to program”

Ich programmiere sechs Stunden pro Tag.

“I program for six hours a day.”

80. klettern – “to climb”

Ist es erlaubt, hier zu klettern?

“Is it allowed to climb here?”

81. aufnehmen – “to record”

Ich nehme alle meiner Lieder auf.

“I record all my songs.”

82. üben – “to practice”

Ich übe jeden Tag Deutsch.

“I practice German everyday.”

83. fahren – “to drive,” “to ride”

Ich fahre gern Fahrrad.

“I like riding bikes.”

84. bolzen – “to play soccer”

Manchmal nach der Arbeit gehe ich mit den Jungs bolzen.

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

7. Verbs at the Gym

Woman and Man Weightlifting at the Gym

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

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

85. trainieren – “to exercise”

Trainierst du jeden Tag?

“Do you work out everyday?”

86. laufen – “to run”

Sie läuft im Park.

“She is running in the park.”

87. Gewichte heben – “to lift weights”

Wieviel kannst du heben?

“How much can you lift?”

88. pumpen – “to work out”

Ich war gestern im Fitnessstudio pumpen.

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

89. joggen – “to jog”

Ich jogge zwei mal die Woche im Mauerpark.

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

90. schwimmen – “to swim”

Kann man in dem Rhein schwimmen?

“Can you swim in the Rhine?” 

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

Kriegst du keine Muskelkater?

“Don’t you ever get sore muscles?”

92. sich wiegen – “to weigh oneself”

Du solltest dich nicht zu oft wiegen.

“You shouldn’t weigh yourself too often.”

93. sich entspannen – “to relax oneself”

Es ist schwer, mich zu entspannen.

“It’s hard to relax.”

94. abnehmen – “to lose weight”

Ich versuche etwas abzunehmen.

“I’m trying to lose some weight.”

95. zunehmen – “to gain weight”

Ich nehme immer noch zu.

“I’m still gaining weight.”

Negative Verbs

8. Verbs on a Date

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

96. rauchen – “to smoke”

Rauchst du?

“Do you smoke?”

97. lachen – “to laugh”

Sie lachten laut und lang.

“They laughed loud and long.”

98. lächeln – “to smile”

Er lächelte und sagte, sie sei schön.

“He smiled and said she was beautiful.”

99. umarmen – “to hug”

Sie haben sich zum Abschied umarmt.

“They hugged each other goodbye.”

100. küssen – “to kiss”

Kann ich dich küssen?

“Can I kiss you?”

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

9. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

You And Me Against the World Of German Pronouns

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

Congratulations – you mostly know them already!

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

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

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

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

1. Opening Up The Cases

Introducing Yourself

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

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

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

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

         Her brother gave me the book.

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

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

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

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

2. German Pronouns in the Nominative

Woman Looking in Rearview Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s see some examples!

Sie ist Taxifahrerin.

She is a taxi driver.

Sie sind ein guter Lehrer.

You’re a good teacher.

Sie haben heute viel zu tun.

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

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

Ich wohne in Belgien.

I live in Belgium.

Hast du Hunger?

Are you hungry?

3. Accusative German Pronouns

One Man Helping Another Climb Mountain

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

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

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

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

Hast du ihn gesehen?

Did you see him?

Ich werde euch nicht beraten.

I won’t give you (plural) advice.

Magst du mich?

Do you like me?

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

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

4. Dative German Pronouns

A Weekly Planner

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

Können Sie mir helfen?

Can you help me?

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

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

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

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

Wir wünschen Ihnen einen schönen Tag.

We wish you a good day.

5. Genitive Case

Basic Questions

By the way, what happened to the genitive case?

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

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

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

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

MasculineFeminineNeutralPlural
Nominativedieserdiesediesesdiese
Accusativediesendiesediesesdiese
Dativediesemdieserdiesemdiesen
Genitivediesesdieserdiesesdieser

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

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

Kennen Sie diesen Mann?

Do you know this man?

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

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

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

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

Sie wäscht sich täglich.

She is washing herself everyday.

6. Conclusion 

Improve Listening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Throw Out Your Talking Clock: Telling Time in German

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Did you know that Germans aren’t that punctual?

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Asking Others for the Time

Time

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

  • Entschuldigung, wie spät ist es jetzt?

“Excuse me, what time is it?”

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

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

  • Wieviel Uhr haben wir?

“What time is it?”

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

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

  • Wissen Sie, wie spät es jetzt ist?

“Do you know what time it is now?”

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

2. Hours in German

Large Hourglass Against Dark Background

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

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

  • Es ist vier Uhr.

“It’s four o’clock.”

  • Jetzt ist es sieben Uhr.

“It’s seven o’clock.”

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

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

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

  • Es ist knapp drei Uhr nachmittags.

“It’s almost three p.m.”

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

  • Es ist zwei Uhr nachts.

“It’s two at night (two a.m.).”

3. Minutes and Seconds

Man Pointing to Wristwatch

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

  • Es ist zwei Uhr zwanzig.

“It’s two-twenty.”

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

  • Es ist achtzehn fünfzig.

“It’s 18:50 (six-fifty p.m.).”

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

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

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

  • Es ist Viertel vor sechs.

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

  • Es ist Viertel nach zehn.

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

Sometimes, you may hear people just saying:

  • Viertel zwölf.

    “Quarter twelve.”

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

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

  • Ein Viertel der Torte

“A quarter of the cake”

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

  • Drei viertel zwölf

“Three quarters of twelve”

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

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

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

4. Describing Lengths of Time

Woman Thinking about Length of Time

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

  • Wie lange wird es dauern?

“How long is it going to take?”

  • Wie lange bis wir fertig sind?

“How long until we’re finished?”

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

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

  • Es wird ungefähr ein paar Stunden dauern.

“It will take about a couple of hours.”

  • Es wird wahrscheinlich zwei bis drei Minuten dauern.

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

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

Or is it?

5. When Did it Happen?

Improve Listening

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

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

  • Das Konzert findet um zwölf Uhr statt.

“The concert will take place at twelve.”

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

  • Wann ist das geschehen?

“When did it happen?”

  • Es hätte um acht Uhr zwanzig anfangen sollen.

“It should have started at eight-twenty.”

6. International Time in German-Speaking Countries

Airplane Taking Off from Airport on Clear Day

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

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

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

  • Hat Belgien die selbe Zeitzone als Österreich?

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

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

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

  • Wie spät ist es in Brasilien?

“What’s the time in Brazil?”

7. Time in German Idioms

Basic Questions

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

  • Zeit ist Geld.

“Time is money.”

  • Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm.

“The early bird catches the worm.”

  • Besser spät als nie.

“Better late than never.”

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

  • Kommt Zeit, kommt Rat.

“Time passes and advice comes.”

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

  • Er ist pünktlich wie die Maurer.

“He’s as punctual as a builder.”

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

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

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

8. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Happy German learning! 🙂

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Build Your Vocabulary with These 100 German Nouns

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What’s that word?

It’s on the tip of your tongue!

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

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

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


1. Nouns You Need for Travel

Nouns 1

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

1. der Bahnhof — train station

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

2. der Koffer — suitcase

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

3. das Gepäck — baggage; luggage

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

4. das Ticket — ticket (usually for planes)

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

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

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

6. die Jugendherberge — hostel

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

7. das Zimmer — room

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

8. der Zug — train

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

9. die Plattform — platform

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

10. das Geld — money

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

11. die Tür — door

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

12. das Essen — food

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

13. die Straße — street

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

14. der Flug — flight

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

15. die Haltestelle — bus stop

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

16. der Schlüssel — key

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

2. Relaxing at Home

Family at Home wwtching TV

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

17. der Löffel — spoon

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

18. die Gabel — fork

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

19. das Messer — knife

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

20. das Kissen — pillow

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

21. die Decke — blanket

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

22. das Fenster — window

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

23. der Tisch — table

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

24. der Sessel — armchair

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

25. der Fernseher — television

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

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

3. Big Ideas

Nouns 2

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

26. die Gier — greed

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

27. die Zusammenarbeit — collaboration; cooperation; teamwork

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

28. die Freiheit — freedom

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

29. der Frieden — peace

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

30. die Regierung — government

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

31. der Hass — hatred

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

32. die Liebe — love

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

33. die Umweltverschmutzung — pollution

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

34. die Bildung — education

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

4. In the Classroom

Doing Schoolwork

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

35. der Taschenrechner — calculator

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

36. das Papier — paper

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

37. der Stift — pencil

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

38. der Klebstoff — glue

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

39. das Pult — lectern

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

40. das Klassenzimmer — classroom

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

41. die Hausaufgaben — homework

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

42. der Aufsatz — essay

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

5. University Life

Nouns 3

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

43. die Veranstaltung — event; session

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

44. die Burschenschaft — fraternity

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

45. der Professor — professor

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

46. die Sprechstunde — office hour

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

47. die Bewerbung — application

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

48. die Vorlesung — lecture

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

49. die Mensa — dining hall

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

50. das Stipendium — scholarship

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

6. Hard at Work

People Discussing Graphs and Charts

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

51. die Frist — deadline

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

52. der Kopierer — copier

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

53. die Kaffeepause — coffee break

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

54. das Gehalt — salary

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

55. der Gehaltsscheck — paycheck

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

56. der Vertrag — contract

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

7. Sit Down for a Meal

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

57. das Fleisch — meat

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

58. die Kartoffel — potato

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

59. der Kohl — cabbage

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

60. die Wurst — sausage

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

61. die Pommes — french fries

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

62. der Salat — salad

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

63. das Eis — ice cream

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

64. der Sekt — sparkling wine

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

65. das Mineralwasser — mineral water

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

66. die Schorle — spritzer

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

67. das Brot — bread

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

68. der Essig — vinegar

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

8. All About You

(Woman Stretching After Workout

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

69. die Zunge — tongue

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

70. das Bein — leg

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

71. der Knöchel — ankle

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

72. das Auge — eye

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

73. die Wange — cheek

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

74. der Ellenbogen — elbow

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

75. die Achselhöhle — armpit

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

76. das Knie — knee

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

77. der Hals — neck; throat

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

9. Your Clothes and Accessories

Nouns 4

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

78. die Halskette — necklace

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

79. das Armband — bracelet

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

80. der Gürtel — belt

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

81. der Schuh — shoe

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

82. das Handy — cell phone

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

83. die Kopfhörer — earphones

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

84. das Ladegerät — charger

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

85. die Krawatte — necktie

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

10. What Do You Do?



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

86. der Praktikant — intern

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

87. der Chef — boss

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

88. der Schriftsteller — writer

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

89. der Taxifahrer — taxi driver

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

90. der Musiker — musician

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

91. der Mechaniker — mechanic

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

92. der Zimmermann — carpenter

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

93. der Klempner — plumber

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

94. der Filialleiter — branch manager

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

95. der Kassierer — cashier

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

96. der Koch — cook

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

97. der Spion — spy

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

98. der Seeräuber — pirate

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

99. der Freiwillige — volunteer

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

100. der Straßenkehrer — street cleaner

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

11. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Happy German learning!

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Essential Vocabulary for Life Events in German

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What is the most defining moment you will face this year? From memories that you immortalize in a million photographs, to days you never wish to remember, one thing’s for certain: big life events change you. The great poet, Bukowski, said, “We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well, that death will tremble to take us.” The older I get, the more I agree with him!

Talking about significant events in our lives is part of every person’s journey, regardless of creed or culture. If you’re planning to stay in Germany for more than a quick visit, you’re sure to need at least a few ‘life events’ phrases that you can use. After all, many of these are shared experiences, and it’s generally expected that we will show up with good manners and warm wishes.

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Table of Contents

  1. Life Events
  2. Marriage Proposal Lines
  3. Talking About Age
  4. Conclusion

1. Life Events

Do you know how to say “Happy New Year” in German? Well, the New Year is a pretty big deal that the whole world is in on! We celebrate until midnight, make mindful resolutions, and fill the night sky with the same happy words in hundreds of languages. No doubt, then, that you’ll want to know how to say it like a local!

Big life events are not all about fun times, though. Real life happens even when you’re traveling, and certain terminology will be very helpful to know. From talking about your new job to wishing your neighbors “Merry Christmas” in German, here at GermanPod101, we’ve put together just the right vocabulary and phrases for you.

1- Birthday – Geburtstag

If you’re like me, any excuse to bring out a pen and scribble a note is a good one. When there’s a birthday, even better: hello, handwriting!

Your German friend will love hearing you wish them a “Happy birthday” in German, but how much more will they appreciate a thoughtful written message? Whether you write it on their Facebook wall or buy a cute card, your effort in German is sure to get them smiling! Write it like this:

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag

Older Woman Blowing Out Candles on a Birthday Cake Surrounded by Friends.

Now that you know the words, I challenge you to put them to music and sing your own “Happy birthday” song in German! It’s not impossible to figure out even more lyrics, once you start discovering the language from scratch.

2- Buy – kaufen

If there’s a special occasion, you might want to buy somebody a gift. As long as you’ve checked out German etiquette on gift-giving (do a Google search for this!), it will be a lovely gesture. If you’re not sure what to buy, how about the awesome and universally-appealing gift of language? That’s a gift that won’t stop giving!

Two Women at a Counter in a Bookstore, One Buying a Book

3- Retire – in Rente gehen

If you’re planning to expand your mind and retire in Germany, you can use this word to tell people why you seem to be on a perpetual vacation!

Retirement is also a great time to learn a new language, don’t you think? And you don’t have to do it alone! These days it’s possible to connect to a vibrant learning community at the click of a button. The added benefit of a Daily Dose of Language is that it keeps your brain cells alive and curious about the world. After all, it’s never too late to realize those long-ignored dreams of traveling the globe…

4- Graduation – Abschluss

When attending a graduation ceremony in Germany, be prepared for a lot of formal language! It will be a great opportunity to listen carefully and see if you can pick up differences from the everyday German you hear.

Lecturer or University Dean Congratulating and Handing Over Graduation Certificate to a Young Man on Graduation Day.

5- Promotion – Beförderung

Next to vacation time, receiving a promotion is the one career highlight almost everyone looks forward to. And why wouldn’t you? Sure, it means more responsibility, but it also means more money and benefits and – the part I love most – a change of scenery! Even something as simple as looking out a new office window would boost my mood.

6- Anniversary – Jubiläum

Some anniversaries we anticipate with excitement, others with apprehension. They are days marking significant events in our lives that can be shared with just one person, or with a whole nation. Whether it’s a special day for you and a loved one, or for someone else you know, this word is crucial to know if you want to wish them a happy anniversary in German.

7- Funeral – Beerdigung

We tend to be uncomfortable talking about funerals in the west, but it’s an important conversation for families to have. Around the world, there are many different customs and rituals for saying goodbye to deceased loved ones – some vastly different to our own. When traveling in Germany, if you happen to find yourself the unwitting observer of a funeral, take a quiet moment to appreciate the cultural ethos; even this can be an enriching experience for you.

8- Travel – reisen

Travel – my favorite thing to do! Everything about the experience is thrilling and the best cure for boredom, depression, and uncertainty about your future. You will surely be forever changed, fellow traveler! But you already know this, don’t you? Well, now that you’re on the road to total German immersion, I hope you’ve downloaded our IOS apps and have your Nook Book handy to keep yourself entertained on those long bus rides.

Young Female Tourist with a Backpack Taking a Photo of the Arc de Triomphe

9- Graduate – absolvieren

If you have yet to graduate from university, will you be job-hunting in Germany afterward? Forward-looking companies sometimes recruit talented students who are still in their final year. Of course, you could also do your final year abroad as an international student – an amazing experience if you’d love to be intellectually challenged and make a rainbow of foreign friends!

10- Wedding – Hochzeit

One of the most-loved traditions that humans have thought up, which you’ll encounter anywhere in the world, is a wedding. With all that romance in the air and months spent on preparations, a wedding is typically a feel-good affair. Two people pledge their eternal love to each other, ladies cry, single men look around for potential partners, and everybody has a happy day of merrymaking.

Ah, but how diverse we are in our expression of love! You will find more wedding traditions around the world than you can possibly imagine. From reciting love quotes to marrying a tree, the options leave no excuse to be boring!

Married Couple During Reception, Sitting at Their Table While a Young Man Gives a Wedding Speech

11- Move – umziehen

I love Germany, but I’m a nomad and tend to move around a lot, even within one country. What are the biggest emotions you typically feel when moving house? The experts say moving is a highly stressful event, but I think that depends on the circumstances. Transitional periods in our lives are physically and mentally demanding, but changing your environment is also an exciting adventure that promises new tomorrows!

12- Be born – geboren

I was not born in 1993, nor was I born in Asia. I was born in the same year as Aishwarya Rai, Akon, and Monica Lewinsky, and on the same continent as Freddy Mercury. When and where were you born? More importantly – can you say it in German?

13- Get a job – Arbeit finden

The thought of looking for a job in a new country can be daunting, but English speakers are in great demand in Germany – you just have to do some research, make a few friends and get out there! Also, arming yourself with a few German introductions that you can both say and write will give you a confidence boost. For example, can you write your name in German?

Group of People in Gear that Represent a Number of Occupations.

14- Die – sterben

Death is a universal experience and the final curtain on all other life events. How important is it, then, to fully live before we die? If all you have is a passport, a bucket list, and a willingness to learn some lingo, you can manifest those dreams!

15- Home – Zuhause

If home is where the heart is, then my home is on a jungle island completely surrounded by the turquoise ocean. Right now, though, home is an isolation room with a view of half a dry palm tree and a tangle of telephone wires.

If you’re traveling to Germany for an extended stay, you’ll soon be moving into a new home quite unlike anything you’ve experienced before!

Large, Double-Story House with Lit Windows.

16- Job – Job

What job do you do? Does it allow you much time for travel, or for working on this fascinating language that has (so rightfully) grabbed your attention? Whatever your job, you are no doubt contributing to society in a unique way. If you’re doing what you love, you’re already on the road to your dream. If not, just remember that every single task is one more skill to add to your arsenal. With that attitude, your dream job is coming!

17- Birth – Geburt

Random question: do you know the birth rate of Germany?

If you’re lucky enough to be invited to see a friend’s baby just after they are born, you’ll have all my respect and all my envy. There is nothing cuter! Depending on which part of the country you’re in, you may find yourself bearing witness to some pretty unexpected birth customs. Enjoy this privilege!

Crying Newborn Baby Held By a Doctor or Nurse in a Hospital Theatre

18- Engaged – verloben

EE Cummings said, “Lovers alone wear sunlight,” and I think that’s most true at the moment she says “yes.” Getting engaged is something young girls dream of with stars in their eyes, and it truly is a magical experience – from the proposal, to wearing an engagement ring, to the big reveal!

In the world of Instagram, there’s no end to the antics as imaginative couples try more and more outrageous ways to share their engagement with the world. I love an airport flashmob, myself, but I’d rather be proposed to on a secluded beach – salt, sand, and all!

Engagement customs around the world vary greatly, and Germany is no exception when it comes to interesting traditions. Learning their unique romantic ways will inspire you for when your turn comes.

Speaking of romance, do you know how to say “Happy Valentine’s Day” in German?

19- Marry – heiraten

The one you marry will be the gem on a shore full of pebbles. They will be the one who truly mirrors your affection, shares your visions for the future, and wants all of you – the good, the bad and the inexplicable.

From thinking up a one-of-a-kind wedding, to having children, to growing old together, finding a twin flame to share life with is quite an accomplishment! Speaking of which…

2. Marriage Proposal Lines

Marriage Proposal Lines

Ah, that heart-stopping moment when your true love gets down on one knee to ask for your hand in marriage, breathlessly hoping that you’ll say “Yes!” If you haven’t experienced that – well, it feels pretty darn good, is all I can say! If you’re the one doing the asking, though, you’ve probably had weeks of insomnia agonizing over the perfect time, location and words to use.

Man on His Knee Proposing to a Woman on a Bridge.

How much more care should be taken if your love is from a different culture to yours? Well, by now you know her so well, that most of it should be easy to figure out. As long as you’ve considered her personal commitment to tradition, all you really need is a few words from the heart. Are you brave enough to say them in German?

3. Talking About Age

Talking about Age

Part of the wonder of learning a new language is having the ability to strike up simple conversations with strangers. Asking about age in this context feels natural, as your intention is to practice friendly phrases – just be mindful of their point of view!

When I was 22, I loved being asked my age. Nowadays, if someone asks, I say, “Well, I’ve just started my fifth cat life.” Let them ponder that for a while.

In Germany, it’s generally not desirable to ask an older woman her age for no good reason, but chatting about age with your peers is perfectly normal. Besides, you have to mention your birthday if you want to be thrown a birthday party!

4. Conclusion

Well, there you have it! With so many great new German phrases to wish people with, can you think of someone who has a big event coming up? If you want to get even more creative, GermanPod101 has much to inspire you with – come and check it out! Here’s just some of what we have on offer at GermanPod101:

  • Free Resources: Sharing is caring, and for this reason, we share many free resources with our students. For instance, start learning German with our basic online course by creating a lifetime account – for free! Also get free daily and iTunes lessons, free eBooks, free mobile apps, and free access to our blog and online community. Or how about free Vocabulary Lists? The German dictionary is for exclusive use by our students, also for free. There’s so much to love about GermanPod101…!
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  • Live Hosts and One-on-One Learning: Knowledgeable, energetic hosts present recorded video lessons, and are available for live teaching experiences if you upgrade. This means that in the videos, you get to watch them pronounce those tongue-twisters, as if you’re learning live! Add octane to your learning by upgrading to Premium Plus, and learn two times faster. You can have your very own German teacher always with you, ensuring that you learn what you need, when you need to – what a wonderful opportunity to master a new language in record time!
  • Start Where You Are: You don’t know a single German word? Not to worry, we’ve absolutely got this. Simply enroll in our Absolute Beginner Pathway and start speaking from Lesson 1! As your learning progresses, you can enroll in other pathways to match your German level, at your own pace, in your own time, in your own place!

Learning a new language can only enrich your life, and could even open doors towards great opportunities! So don’t wonder if you’ll regret enrolling in GermanPod101. It’s the most fun, easy way to learn German.

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Talk About the Weather in German Like a Native

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

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

1. Talking about the weather in Germany

Talking About Weather

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

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

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

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

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

3- Fluffy cloud – flauschige Wolke

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

Fluffy White Cloud in Clear Blue Sky

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

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

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

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

Heavy Rain in a Park

6- Flood – Überschwemmung

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

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

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

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

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

Two Men on Sailboat

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

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

10- A rainy day – ein regnerischer Tag

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

11- Scenic rainbow – malerischer Regenbogen

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

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

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

Electric Storm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hikers on Mountain with Clear Sky

16- Light drizzle – leichter Nieselregen

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

17- Temperature on a thermometer – Temperatur auf einem Thermometer

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

18- Humid – feucht

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

Humidity in Tropical Forest

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

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

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

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

21- Windy – windig

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

Leaves and Umbrella in the Wind

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

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

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

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

24- Fog – Nebel

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

Fog on a Pond with Ducks

25- Hurricane – Wirbelsturm

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

Palm Trees in a Hurricane

26- Killer tornado – Todestornado

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

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

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

Cloudy Weather on Beach with Beach Huts

28- Below freezing temperatures – Temperaturen unter dem Gefrierpunkt

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

Woman with Winter Gear in Freezing Weather

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

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

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

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

Thermometer Below Freezing Point

31- Waiting to clear up – dass es aufheitert

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

32- Avoid the extreme heat – der extremen Hitze ausweichen

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

Hand Holding a Melting Ice Cream

33- Morning frost – Morgenfrost

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

34- Rain shower – Regenschauer

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

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

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

Snow in the Park at Night

36- Severe thunderstorm – starkes Gewitter

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

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

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

38- Large hailstones – große Hagelkörner

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

Large Hailstones on a Wooden Floor

39- Rolling thunder – grollender Donner

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

40- Sleet – Schneeregen

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

2. Words for the first day of spring

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

Spring Vocabulary

3. Do You Know the Essential Summer Vocabulary?

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

Four Adults Playing on the Beach in the Sand

4. Must-Know Autumn vocabulary

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

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

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

Autumn Phrases

5. Winter

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

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

Skier Sitting in the Snow

6. GermanPod101 can prepare you for any season.

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

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

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100 of the Best German Adjectives for Any Place & Time

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Ever felt a little lost for words when speaking German?

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

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

That sentence can’t even get off the ground.

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

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

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

Let’s have a look.

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Table of Contents

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

1. A Quick Overview of German Adjectives

Improve Pronunciation

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

So how do German adjectives work?

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

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

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

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

  • Meine Mutter ist alt.
    My mother is old.

Same word, no ending. No problem!

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

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

2. Top 100 German Adjectives List

Most Common Adjectives

1- German Colors Adjectives: Describing Colors

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

1. weiß – white

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

2. schwarz – black

Ist dein Auto schwarz?
Is your car black?

3. blau – blue

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

4. rot – red

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

5. gelb – yellow

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

6. grün – green

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

7. braun – brown

Magst du braune Schuhe?
Do you like brown shoes?

8. rosa – pink

Ihre Haare sind rosa.
Her hair is pink.

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

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

10. grau – gray

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

2- German Adjectives for Food: Describing Taste

Roast Goose Meal

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

11. scharf – spicy

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

12. würzig – spicy, with a lot of spices

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

13. süß – sweet

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

14. lecker – tasty

Das ist richtig lecker!
That’s really tasty!

15. frisch – fresh

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

16. gebraten – fried

Gebratene Eier sind gesund.
Fried eggs are healthy.

17. stinkend – stinky

Magst du stinkenden Tofu?
Do you like stinky tofu?

18. salzig – salty

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

19. bitter – bitter

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

20. sauer – sour

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

21. roh – raw

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

3- German Adjectives for Personality

Man Holding Completed Rubik’s Cube

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

22. offen – open-hearted; personable

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

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

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

24. hilfsbereit – helpful; ready to help

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

25. geduldig – patient

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

26. klug – clever

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

27. böse – evil

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

28. egoistisch – selfish; egoistic

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

29. faul – lazy

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

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

Braves Kind!
Wonderful child!

31. gefährlich – dangerous

Es ist zu gefährlich!
It’s too dangerous!

4- German Adjectives: Feelings & Emotions

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

32. genervt – annoyed

Warum bist du genervt?
Why are you annoyed?

33. froh – happy

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

34. müde – tired

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

35. hungrig – hungry

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

36. traurig – sad

Was für ein trauriger Film!
What a sad movie!

37. gespannt – excited

Seid ihr alle gespannt?
Are you all excited?

38. übel – nauseated; queasy

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

39. bequem – comfortable

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

40. wütend – angry; furious

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

5- German Adjectives for Describing Nationality

Flags of Many Countries

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

41. deutsch – German

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

42. französisch – French

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

43. dänisch – Danish

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

44. ungarisch – Hungarian

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

45. chinesisch – Chinese

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

46. südafrikanisch – South African

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

47. mexikanisch – Mexican

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

48. kanadisch – Canadian

Haben Sie kanadischen Speck?
Do you have Canadian bacon?

6- German Adjectives for Describing Time

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

49. schnell – fast

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

50. langsam – slow

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

51. früh – early

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

52. spät – late

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

53. pünktlich – punctual; on time

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

7- German Adjectives for Describing Appearance (People)

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

54. glatzköpfig – bald

Der Mann war glatzköpfig.
The man was bald.

55. dick – fat

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

56. dünn – thin

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

57. reich – rich

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

58. arm – poor

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

59. groß – tall

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

60. alt – old

Wie alt bist du?
How old are you?

61. jung – young

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

62. schön – beautiful

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

8- German Adjectives for Describing Appearance (Things)

Reading

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

63. teuer – expensive

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

64. billig – cheap

Trägst du billige Kleidung?
Do you wear cheap clothes?

65. breit – wide; broad

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

66. lang – long

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

67. schwer – heavy

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

68. leicht – light

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

69. dick – thick

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

70. eng – narrow

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

71. hier – here

Bist du schon hier?
Are you here yet?

72. da – there

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

73. dort – there (far away)

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

74. hell – bright

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

75. dunkel – dark

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

9- German Weather Adjectives: Describing Weather

Snow in Germany

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

76. windig – windy

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

77. heiß – hot

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

78. kalt – cold

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

79. sonnig – sunny

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

80. bewölkt – cloudy

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

81. neblig – foggy

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

82. warm – warm

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

10- German Adjectives for Describing Touch

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

83. hart – solid; fixed

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

84. weich – soft; smooth

Das Bett ist weich.
The bed is soft.

85. rutschig – slippery

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

86. brüchig – brittle; fragile

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

87. gefroren – frozen

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

88. geschmolzen – melted

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

11- German Adjectives for Describing Concepts

Success and Failure Written on a Chalkboard

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

89. wichtig – important

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

90. populär – popular

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

91. leicht – easy

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

92. schwer – difficult

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

93. kompliziert – complicated

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

94. richtig – correct

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

95. falsch – false

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

96. praktisch – practical; convenient

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

97. identisch – identical

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

98. unterschiedlich – different

Sind sie überhaupt unterschiedlich?
Are they different at all?

99. genau – exact

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

100. ungefähr – about; roughly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Unlock Your German Potential with These Top Netflix Shows

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Do you want to speak good German?

You’ve got to live it.

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

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

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

1. Is Netflix in German Right for You?

Best Ways to Learn

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

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

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

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

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

2. Ten Great Shows on German Netflix

Genres

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

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

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

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

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

1- Dark

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

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

2- Tempel

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

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

3- Babylon Berlin

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

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

4- Türkisch für Anfänger

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

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

5- Mord mit Aussicht

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

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

6- Dogs of Berlin

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

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

7- Skylines

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

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

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

8- Morgen hör ich auf

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

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

9- Ku’damm 56

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

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

10- Bad Banks

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

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

3. The Magic of Dubbing

Improve Pronunciation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Taking Immersion to the Next Level with Audio Descriptions

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

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

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

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

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

5. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Extensive Guide to German Conjunctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this lesson, you’ll find the following:

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

1. Coordinating vs. Subordinating Conjunctions

Sentence Patterns

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. German Correlative Conjunctions

A Flask of Glue and a Drop of Glue.

Und (C)

Meaning: And

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

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

Sowie (C/S)

Meaning: As well as / As soon as

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

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

Wie (S)

Meaning: How / As … as

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

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

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

Sowohl… als auch (S)

Meaning: As well as

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

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

3. Conjunctions to Express Condition

A Person Holding a Bottle of Hair Conditioner.

Wenn (S)

Meaning: If / When

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

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

Falls (S)

Meaning: In case / If

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

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

Sofern (S)

Meaning: As long as

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

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

4. Conjunctions to Express Cause

Improve Listening

Darum (C)

Meaning: Therefore

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

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

Weil (S)

Meaning: Because

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

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

Da (S)

Meaning: Because

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

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

Denn (C)

Meaning: Because

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

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

5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition

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

Aber (C)

Meaning: But

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

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

Sondern (C)

Meaning: But / But rather

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

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

Doch (C)

Meaning: However

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

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

Obwohl (C)

Meaning: Although

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

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

6. Conjunctions to Express Purpose

Listening Part 2

Damit (S)

Meaning: So that

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

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

Dass (S)

Meaning: That

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

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

Um… zu (S)

Meaning: In order to

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

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

7. More Conjunctions: German Conjunctions Tables

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

A Baby Learning to Crawl.

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

1- German Coordinating Conjunctions Chart

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

2- German Subordinating Conjunctions Chart

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

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

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

8. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn German Conjunctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Top German Etiquette and Manners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

1. Do’s and Don’ts for Dining

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

A Romantic Dinner with a Woman and a Man Drinking Wine

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

Hygiene Words

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

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

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

Vocabulary List

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

2- Do: Say Prost and make eye contact.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4- Do: Say Guten Appetit.

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

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

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

2. German Social Etiquette in Public Places

Thanks

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

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

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

  • Ordnung muss sein
    “There must be order”

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Entschuldigung
    “Excuse me.”

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

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

Bad Phrases

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

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

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

1- Do: Say “Hello” to everybody.

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

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

2- Don’t make the polnischer Abgang.

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. German Guest Etiquette: Manners When Visiting Another House

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

1- Do: Use the formal Sie first.

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you want to address someone in a formal manner:

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

If you want to offer the du, say:

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

2- Do: Make a small gift.

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

  • Chocolate
  • A bottle of wine
  • Some beers

3- Don’t choose the wrong topics.

Showing Two War Machines

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

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

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

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

In general, be careful with potentially sensitive topics.

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

A Metro Passing by Really Fast

1- Don’t: Listen to loud music.

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

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

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

2- Do: Offer your seat.

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

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

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

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

To offer your seat, you can say:

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

Point to your seat while saying this.

3- Let other people leave the train first.

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

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

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

Business

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

1- Do: Bring your own cake.

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

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

2- Don’t: Be late.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. How to be a Good Part of German Society

1- Do: Recycle your garbage.

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

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

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

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

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

2- Don’t: Open closed doors unasked.

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

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

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

8. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn More German

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

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

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

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

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

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