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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.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Adjectives in German

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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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.

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

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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Days of the Week in German and More

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Have you ever heard about the German bureaucracy? Well, if you haven’t heard about it yet, we can tell you that Germany is a true king when it comes to bureaucracy. This includes filling out forms, and what else?

You will have to confirm a lot of deadlines!

This is one of the reasons you should learn the days of the week in German, and have a good grasp of the calendar dates in German. You’ll get instructions either from a German office authority or when you receive letters. But in every case, there will be some kind of instructions on a deadline that you need to fulfill. From sending information back to bringing documents to German officials, you’ll be given plenty of dates both verbally or in writing.

To make sure that you understand everything correctly and that you’re meeting all the deadlines, we’ll give you, here and now, a guide to master the dates in the German language. We’ll give you detailed information on everything from how to write dates in German to understanding dates in German letters.

There are some special cases, but no worries, we’ll go over everything in detail so that you’ll be a professional by the end of this article.

Because let’s not forget all of the other times when knowing the date in German is important:

  • Being on time for meetings
  • Birthdays
  • Special holidays
  • Just about everything else

Table of Contents

  1. Dates in German Format: Writing & Reading German Dates
  2. How to Say the Years
  3. How to Say the Months in German
  4. How to Say the Days
  5. How to Say the Days of the Week
  6. Time Units
  7. Questions and Answers about Dates
  8. German Cultural Insights and Special Days
  9. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Overcome Bureaucracy Problems in Germany

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1. Dates in German Format: Writing & Reading German Dates

Writing and reading the date can greatly vary from language to language. But even within a single language, we can see some slight differences in format. Let’s get right to it.

1- Writing Dates in German

So, how are dates written in German? There are two formats for writing the date in German:

  1. Long version:
    Der 1. Februar 2019 (the 1st of February, 2019)
  2. Short version:
    Der 01.08.2019 (01/08/2019)

The main difference when writing the date in German is that you use dots between day, month, and year instead of a slash. Also note that in German, we use the format day/month/year, which may confuse native U.S. English speakers. And you may have noticed already, but in German, we write the month in capital letters.

2- Reading Dates in German

Just like the written format, there’s some difference when it comes to reading a date in German. There are three different forms. We’ll use this date as an example of how to read dates in German:

01.10.2019

Der 01.10.2019      Am 01.10.2019      Der 1. Oktober 2019
Der erste zehnte zweitausendneunzehn      Am ersten zehnten zweitausendneunzehn      Der erste Oktober 2019
In this case, we’re using the nominative.      In this case, we’re using the dative.      In this case, we’re using the nominative, but with the written month instead.
Example:
Heute ist der 01.10.2019.
(Today is the 01/10/2019.)
     Example:
Wir sehen uns am 01.10.2019.
(We’ll see each other on the 01/10/2019.)
     Example:
Morgen ist der 1. Oktober 2019.
(Today is the first of October 2019.)

There are even some differences in reading the year, but we’ll come to this soon.


2. How to Say the Years

When expressing dates in German, knowing how to talk about the years is essential. The year formats in German and English are very similar, but like with everything, there’s one exception.

Basically, we differentiate between the years that have passed before the year 2000, and after.

  • If the year you want to talk about is after the year 2000, you have to read it like an actual number:

              2019 is read like zweitausendneunzehn.

  • If the year you want to talk about is before the year 2000, you have to read it like a year in English:

              1901 is read like neunzehnhunderteins.

  •           Translated, this would be read nineteen-hundred and one.

If you need help with pronouncing the words, we suggest you use the voice feature of GermanPod101’s dictionary.


3. How to Say the Months in German

Months

When you learn about saying dates in German, you can’t forget the months. Luckily for you, the months in German are pretty basic and are similar to the English months. All the months are masculine, so you don’t need to worry about which gender to use.

One small exception Germans use is for the month of July. Generally, we say Juli, but some people use Julei instead. This is because Juli and Juni sound really similar and can generate confusion.

A Calendar Where the Sheets Are Changing Fast.

German           English
Januar           January
Februar           February
März           March
April           April
Mai           May
Juni           June
Juli           July
August           August
September           September
Oktober           October
November           November
Dezember           December

We’ve prepared for you a special lesson about the months where you can also listen and work on your pronunciation.


4. How to Say the Days

In German, the days have some special rules when using ordinal numbers. Here’s an overview of how to build them. We also gave you some more examples, as these aren’t only the rules for the days, but also for everything else that comes in a series.

  • While the ordinal numbers in English usually end with “-th,” the German ones mostly end on -te or -ste.
  • The first three numbers are irregular; you just have to memorize them.
  • The numbers from four to nineteen are regular; they always end on -te.
  • The numbers above nineteen are also regular; they always end on -ste.

10 + 2 = 12

German           English
1. Der erste           The first
2. Der zweite           The second
3. Der dritte           The third
4. Der vierte           The fourth
5. Der fünfte           The fifth
10. Der zehnte           The tenth
11. Der Elfte           The eleventh
20. Der Zwanzigste           The twentieth
31. Der Einunddreißigste           The thirty-first

In our free online course, you can check out our free Numbers vocabulary list. This will help you with pronunciation and will provide you with more helpful insight.


5. How to Say the Days of the Week

Weekdays

If you already know the days of the week in English, the days in German shouldn’t be that much of a problem; most days sound fairly similar to their English equivalent. Apart from Wednesday, all days end with the German word for “day” (Tag), and to make it even easier for you, all German days are masculine.

In our overview, you can see the “days of the week” (die Tage der Woche).

German           English
Montag           Monday
Dienstag           Tuesday
Mittwoch           Wednesday
Donnerstag           Thursday
Freitag           Friday
Samstag
Sonnabend
          Saturday
Sonntag           Sunday

You’re asking why we have two terms for Saturday? Well, in most parts of Germany, you’ll use Samstag. But in Austria and the German part of Switzerland, as well as some select cities in Germany, they use Sonnabend (or “Sunday eve” in English). But don’t worry about that, because everybody will understand both terms, so just choose the one you feel more comfortable with.

In our special vocabulary list about the days of the week in German, you can learn everything about speaking and pronouncing the things you learned in this chapter.


6. Time Units

Numbers

Now that you have a better idea of how to say dates in German, you may find it useful to have some relative time unit vocabulary under your belt.

German           English
Die Sekunde           second
Die Minute           minute
Die Stunde           hour
Der Tag           day
Die Woche           week
Der Monat           month
Das Quartal           quarter
Das Halbjahr           semester
Das Semester           semester
Das Jahr           year
Das Jahrzehnt           decade
Das Jahrhundert           century
German           English
Die MorgendämmerungDas
Morgengrauen
Dämmerung
          Dawn / Daybreak
Der Morgen           Morning
Der Vormittag           Late morning
Der Mittag           Noon
Der Nachmittag           Afternoon
Der Abend           Evening
Die Nacht           Night


7. Questions and Answers about Dates

We want to prepare you as best as possible for talking about dates in German. This requires that you really understand expressing dates in German, both in writing and verbally.

So we want to help you with some typical questions that you may be asked during your time in Germany. And of course, we’ll give you the perfect answers for each one.

A Woman with a Question Mark Over Her Head and a Man with Letters Coming Out of Mouth.

Question Answer
Wann ist dein Geburtstag?
“When is your birthday?”
Mein Geburtstag ist am 03.10.1993.
“My birthday is on the 03/10/1993.”
Wann wollen wir uns treffen?
“When do we want to meet each other?”

Lass uns am ersten April treffen. Das ist in zwei Wochen.
“Let’s meet on the first of April. That is in two weeks.”
Welchen Tag haben wir heute?
“Which day do we have?”

*This is the same as asking “What is today?”

Wir haben heute den vierten März.
“Today, we have the 4th of March.”

*This is the same as saying “Today is the 4th of March.”

Wann ist Einstein gestorben?
“When did Einstein die?”
Einstein ist am 18. April 1955 gestorben.
“Einstein died on the 18th of April in 1955.”


8. German Cultural Insights and Special Days

This chapter will help you practice everything you learned in this lecture, while giving you some insight into German culture at the same time. There are a few days in the German calendar that you should keep in mind when living there.

Christi Himmelfahrt Ascension of Christ Christi Himmelfahrt ist immer an einem Donnerstag.
The Ascension of Christ is always on a Thursday.”
Pfingstmontag Whit Monday An einem Montag im Mai ist Pfingstmontag.
“Whit Monday is on a Monday in May.”
Tag der deutschen Einheit Day of German Unity Am dritten Oktober ist der Tag der deutschen Einheit.
“On the third of October is the Day of German Unity.”
Neujahr New Year Der erste Tag im Jahr, der 01.01.2019 ist Neujahr.
“The first day of the year, the 01/01/2019, is New Year.”
Weihnachtstag Christmas Day Der erste und der zweite Tag nach Heiligabend sind Feiertage.
“The first and the second day after Christmas Eve are holidays.”
Valentinstag Valentines Day Der vierzehnte Februar ist der Tag der Verliebten.
“The 14th of February is the day of people in love.”
Oktoberfest Oktoberfest Das Oktoberfest findet zwei Wochen im September und Oktober statt.
The Oktoberfest is celebrated for two weeks during September and October.”
Festivals Festivals Der Sommer ist die Jahreszeit für Festivals in Deutschland.
“The summer is the season for festivals in Germany.”
Fasching Carnival Fasching ist wie eine fünfte Jahreszeit für viele Deutsche. Er beginnt am 11.11. Um 11 Uhr.
“Carnival is like a fifth season for some Germans. It begins on the 11/11 at 11 o’clock.”


9. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Overcome Bureaucracy Problems in Germany

Well, congratulations for making it through our intense, but surely helpful, lesson about dates, days, and times of day in the German language. We hope that you now have a much better understanding of how dates in German grammar work, how to give dates in German, and perhaps most importantly, how to format them.

We know that this isn’t an easy topic, and that this requires some time to understand completely. But once you see all the similarities and differences between English and German dates, you’ll be an expert in this subject in no time.

To practice telling dates in German, why not drop us a comment with today’s day in German? ;)
If you want to really boost your German skills, we suggest that you try out our private teacher program which focuses on your goals and your current level.

But we won’t leave you without making a quick gift to you. We have free courses and lessons on GermanPod101.com that can help German learners at every level and stage of their learning journey:

Save yourself a spot today!

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Guide to German Travel Phrases for Tourists and Travelers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. Why Should You Learn German?

Preparing to Travel

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

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

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


2. German Pronunciation Specialities

Airplane Phrases

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

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

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


3. Greetings

Survival Phrases

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

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


4. Basic Questions and Their Perfect Answers

Basic Questions

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

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


5. Restaurants and Ordering Food

A Cook Seasoning a Plate with Food.

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

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


6. At the Hotel

A Couple at the Front Desk of the Reception.

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


7. Locations and Transportation

World Map

1- Asking for and Giving Directions

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

2- Transportation

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

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


8. Working Through Communication Barriers

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

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

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

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


9. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master Urgent Travel Situations

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

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

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

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

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Everything You Could Possibly Ask About German Numbers

German Numbers

It’s the language of Einstein, of Euler, of some of the most brilliant minds in history.

And with the reputation German has of being a difficult language, you’d think that the numbering system would be formidable.

Not so! It’s really just as approachable as most other languages—more complex than a few, but not nearly as complicated as others. And numbers in German language-learning really are too essential to skip over.

Since you’re able to read this article in English, you’ve got a great advantage already. It’s easy to map German numbers onto English ones, which you’ll soon find out with our handy German number guide here on GermanPod101.com! With our German numbers lists and useful information on how to use them, your numbers in German vocabulary will be strong indeed.

Table of Contents

  1. Cardinal Numbers
  2. Writing Numbers Down
  3. Special Numbers with Special Sounds
  4. Ordinal Numbers
  5. Once, Twice, Thrice
  6. Fractions and More (Easy) Math
  7. Lemme Get Your Number
  8. German Numbers and Dates
  9. Checking the Time
  10. Numbers When Shopping
  11. Conclusion: How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master German!

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1. Cardinal Numbers

German Numbers

All right, let’s get right to it. Here are the numbers from zero to twelve in German (you can also look at our Numbers vocabulary list to hear each of the German numbers written down here pronounced). Note that, for the most part, the German numbers 1-20 are pretty regular.

Number German English
0 Null Zero
1 Eins One
2 Zwei Two
3 Drei Three
4 Vier Four
5 Fünf Five
6 Sechs Six
7 Sieben Seven
8 Acht Eight
9 Neun Nine
10 Zehn Ten
11 Elf Eleven
12 Zwölf Twelve

A note about German numbers pronunciation: These numbers already sound awfully close to English. More so when you realize that words starting with “t” in English very often have a counterpart starting with “z” in German—remember the German “z” is pronounced [ts].

While we’re on the topic of pronunciation, let’s recall that an “s” at the beginning of a word is pronounced like “z” in English.

I’ll also mention that we went all the way up to twelve because eleven and twelve are “irregular” in both English and German. What do I mean by that?

Well, look at thirteen through nineteen:

Number German English
13 Dreizehn Thirteen
14 Vierzehn Fourteen
15 Fünfzehn Fifteen
16 Sechzehn Sixteen
17 Siebzehn Seventeen
18 Achtzehn Eighteen
19 Neunzehn Nineteen

When talking about the “ten” numbers in English, we use the word “teen” at the end. But in German, it’s clear as day. Couldn’t be simpler. Eight and ten make eighteen. Germans make this easy by using the number and tacking the word for “ten” (zehn) to the end. See, numbers in German language really aren’t that hard!

Once we hit twenty (which is zwanzig) and beyond, that simplicity keeps going—but in a way that may make you do a double-take at first.

Number German English
21 Einundzwanzig Twenty-one
22 Zweiundzwanzig Twenty-two
23 Dreiundzwanzig Twenty-three

Yes, it’s backwards from what we’re used to. Remember that old rhyme “four-and-twenty blackbirds baked in a pie?” Imagine we talked like that all the time, and you’ve got modern German.

But if you think about it, it really is just keeping the same pattern from thirteen through nineteen. “Eight-ten, nine-ten, twenty, one-and-twenty, two-and-twenty…”

The same pattern continues as long as you’ve got anything in the tens and ones place.

  • Fünftausendzweihundert
    Five-thousand two-hundred
  • Zweiunddreißigtausendsechshundertfünfundfünfzig
    Thirty-two thousand six-hundred fifty-five.

Yeah, they’re all one word, up to the millions at least.

  • Drei Million vierhunderttausend
    Three-million four-hundred-thousand

Watch out here: in German, the really big numbers are false friends.

  • Die Million, die Milliarde, die Billion
    The million, the billion, the trillion


2. Writing Numbers Down

(Woman Writing Things Down

In Europe—not just Germany—most people write numbers with commas and decimals flipped from the way we use them in many English-speaking countries.

To separate hundreds, Germans use spaces or periods instead of commas.

  • 35 000/35.000
    35,000

And it’s even called das Komma!

  • 3,3 Million (drei Komma drei Millionen)
    3.3 million (three point three million)

Lastly, prices are expressed this way too, though we’ll go into that a little bit later.

  • €13,45
    €13.45


3. Special Numbers with Special Sounds

You know how airplane pilots in English always say stuff like “That’s Victor-seven-four-niner, over?” They say “niner” so that nobody confuses “nine” with “five.”

Pilots in Airplane

People reading out numbers in German will often say “zwo” for the same reason—nobody wants to confuse zwei and drei when the stakes are high!

In English, we have the special numbers “score” and “dozen,” meaning 20 and 12 units of something, respectively. “Score” was brought to England by the Vikings, but “dozen” is old enough to be in both German and English. You’ll find it in your German dictionary under Das Dutzend.


4. Ordinal Numbers

If you’ve had to learn English as a foreign language, you’ll be thrilled to hear that German ordinal numbers are much simpler than those in English.

Well, sort of. Here’s how they look in their nominative forms:

Numeral German English
1st Erste First
2nd Zweite Second
3rd Dritte Third
4th Vierte Fourth
5th Fünfte Fifth
6th Sechste Sixth

That’s right, they all end in -te!

So what’s the bad news? Well, they all have to follow the rules of German adjectives.

On the one hand, you’re just learning a bunch more adjectives and they’re all regular and predictable. Nothing too serious there.

On the other hand, you do have to stop and think about the cases when you use these words—at least until it all becomes automatic.

When writing these down, Germans follow other European conventions and simply put a full stop after the number to indicate that it’s an ordinal. There’s no written hint to tell you about the declension, unfortunately.

  • 4. Stock (vierter Stock)
    Fourth floor
  • zum 3. Mal (zum dritten Mal)
    For the third time
  • am 12. Mai (am zwölften Mai)
    On the twelfth of May


5. Once, Twice, Thrice

The word “time,” as in “there’s a first time for everything,” is mal in German. So the words for “once,” “twice,” “thrice,” and so on are simply einmal, zweimal, and dreimal. And where English stops at two or three (depending on if you like the word “thrice” or not), German continues ad infinitum.

  • Man lebt nur einmal.
    You only live once.

The word mal in German also carries the same meaning as “times” when talking about how many times larger, smaller, and so on that two things can be in comparison to each other.

  • Fünfmal so breit.
    Five times as wide.

One thing surprisingly absent from all of my German classes in school is how Germans order things at counter-service bakeries or restaurants. In our numbers in German lessons, we’ll try to cover this so you’re not left dazed and confused when ordering!

  • Einmal Brezel, bitte.
    One pretzel, please.

You’ll hear this used in every German city you go to, so you can likely use it wherever you go. If you go to order some food and it turns out that you’re not understood, simply go with ich hätte gern ein…bitte (meaning “I would like a…” in English) instead.


6. Fractions and More (Easy) Math

Math Equation on Blackboard

Are you out of school? You might have thought you wouldn’t need any math in your foreign language, but as it happens, basic math words are an important part of being able to use German effectively and precisely.

And it’s something that people tend to use in speech without thinking, maybe saying under their breath something like “let me see, that’s…thirty-five divided by seven…five dollars each!” If those numbers relate to you, you’re going to want to understand what’s going on.

There are three different words for “equals”: ergibt, ist, and macht.

  • Fünf plus zehn macht fünfzehn.
    Five plus ten equals fifteen.
  • Zwanzig minus dreizehn ist sieben.
    Twenty minus thirteen equals seven.
  • Neunundneunzig durch neun ergibt elf.
    Ninety-nine divided by nine equals eleven.
  • Zwölf mal zwölf macht einhundertvierundvierzig.
    Twelve times twelve equals one-hundred forty-four.

As in English, a word for “times; by; multiplied by” is also used for noting dimensions of physical objects.

  • Das Zimmer ist sechs Meter mal sieben Meter.
    The room is six meters by seven meters.

Now, let’s take a look at fractions and percents. As in English, there are specific nouns meaning “an Xth part of,” and in German they’re just as regular. Check this out:

German English
Die Hälfte The half
Das Drittel The third
Das Viertel The fourth
Das Fünftel The fifth
Das Sechstel The sixth
Das Zehntel The tenth
  • Er hat ein Viertel einer Flasche Whiskey getrunken.
    He drank a fourth of a bottle of whiskey.

Percentages in German work exactly the same as in English, with one word that’s practically the same in both languages.

  • Ich verstehe vielleicht neunzig Prozent.
    I understand about ninety percent.


7. Lemme Get Your Number

Man and Woman Exchanging Numbers on Date

In English, when we tell someone our phone number, we usually break it up into sections. This varies, of course, depending on where you’re from. For example, American telephone numbers have a three-digit area code, and the number itself is broken up into two groups of three and four numbers. Or in Morocco, phone numbers are broken up into five groups of two numbers.

In Germany, phone numbers used to be of no fixed lengths. Some numbers were as short as two digits!

However, in 2010, the telecoms agreed on a new plan to use eleven-digit numbers for all subsequent landlines. It’s still not entirely consistent (think of how many people you know that haven’t changed their number for eight years), but more so than it was before. Germans usually separate the area code from the regular number with a slash like this:

  • Meine Nummer ist 0125/12345678.
    My number is (0125) – 12345678.

Why so much detail here? Well, when you’re giving or taking a phone number down, it’s surprisingly easy to be caught off guard by the numbers being too few or too many than you’re used to.


8. German Numbers and Dates

Giving the date in German is only slightly different from doing so in English. We use the ordinal forms in both languages.

  • Heute ist der vierte Mai.
    Today is the 4th of May.

The definite article “the” isn’t necessary here in German. It would be necessary if we were specifying a specific day, week, month, or year, like so:

  • Die dritte Woche in Januar.
    The third week in January.

How about talking in terms of decades or centuries? After all, German culture has been around for a long time.

In German, as in English, we don’t say “the ninety decade”; we just say “the nineties.” There are two words for “decade,” incidentally, and those are: das Jahrzehnt and die Dekade.

  • die Achtziger [note that this is written as “80er”]
    the eighties

Jahrzehnt is wonderfully clear in meaning—it’s literally “year-ten.” How about century?

  • 18. Jahrhundert
    18th century

Remember that this “18.” is actually pronounced achtzehnte.


9. Checking the Time

The first thing you’ll notice is that Germany, like most of the world, uses the 24-hour clock as standard. So definitely get used to that before you visit.

Saying the hour is a little different than what we’ve been doing with years. You just use the cardinal number without any kind of declension.

  • Es ist dreizehn Uhr.
    It’s 13 o’clock (one o’clock).

This is what you’ll see posted on shop signs and in any kind of official correspondence. However, just because something is standard doesn’t make it universal. There are plenty of people who use the 12-hour clock when speaking.

When it’s necessary to distinguish between a.m. and p.m., they’ll use vormittags for the morning, nachmittags for the afternoon, abends for the evening, and nachts for the night.

  • Es ist drei Uhr nachts, was machst du gerade so?!
    It’s three a.m., what are you doing?!

Man Studying Late at Night

  • Unser Termin ist morgen um 9 Uhr vormittags.
    Our meeting is tomorrow at 9 a.m.

There’s one more peculiarity about telling time in German, and that’s the way they talk about halves of hours.

They literally say “half of the next hour” to say what English-speakers know as “half past.”

  • Jetzt ist es halb sechs.
    Now it’s half past five.

This can be really confusing if you don’t know to look out for it. Remember that Germans value punctuality!


10. Numbers When Shopping

When you go out to buy a Currywurst or Schinkenbrot, you’ll need to understand the prices you hear at the register. There’s no sales tax added on after the price, but you’ll learn that prices tend to slide right out of your memory when you’re bringing your breakfast pastry to the register—especially in a foreign language!

Store Selling Pastries

By the way, in Germany, it’s still extremely common to pay in cash. Most tiny shops either reluctantly take credit cards or not at all, and you can forget about mobile pay.

Better get used to counting out coins, though a lot of shops round to the nearest five cents so you don’t have to deal with the one- and two-cent Euro coins anymore (das ein-Cent-Stück and das zwei-Cent-Stück, respectively).

Here’s what you’ll hear when the cashier rings up your total:

  • Das macht vier Euro fünfzig. (€4,50)
    That’s four euros fifty.

Or:

  • Vierzehn Euro achtzig Cent. (€14,80)
    Fourteen euros eighty cents.

Guten Appetit! (Enjoy your meal!)


11. Conclusion: How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master German!

It may seem like a ton of detail to remember right now, but there’s no way you need to learn all German numbers at once.

One of the best ways to internalize German numbers at home is to watch documentaries. You’ll constantly hear prices, percentages, hundreds, millions, and more.

And if you’re really ambitious, you could try translating all the digits you see during the day into German. It’s really easy to skip numbers when reading out loud, so by quietly murmuring sale prices or times of the day in German while you’re out and about, you’ll build up that skill of automatically switching to German numbers.

Then when it’s time to use them for real, you won’t stumble at all. So go out there and enjoy our world of numbers—our Nummernwelt—in German!

GermanPod101.com wants to be here with you for each step of your journey to German mastery! We provide practical learning tools for every learner, including insightful blog posts like this one, free German vocabulary lists, an online community forum, and even a MyTeacher program for those with a Premium Plus account! With your determination and our support, you’ll know German culture and the German language inside and out!

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

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Saying Sorry in German: How You Can Make Everything Right

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

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

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

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

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

Now, the big question:

What have you done?
Was hast du gemacht?

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

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

Spilled Ice Cream

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

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

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

Somebody may approach you and say:

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

To which you can simply reply:

- Entschuldigung!
- Excuse me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Ups! Entschuldigung!
- Oops! Sorry!

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

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

But what if the mishap was slightly larger?


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

Woman Facepalming

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or better, if you’re able to:

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

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

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

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

3 Ways to Say Sorry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Say Sorry

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Man Asking Woman for Forgiveness

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

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

The best thing to do is to apologize sincerely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Woman Sitting Alone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Man Shrugging

No, I’m not talking about being unrepentant!

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

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

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

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

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

- Bitte schön!
- Here you go!

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


Conclusion

Apologies are complex things that rarely conform to a guide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Find a German Job with the Germany Job Seeker Visa

So you’re ready to move to Germany with the Germany job seeker visa? You’re ready to finally work in Germany? This is a country that has so many different sides to show, and so many different accents, cultures, and landscapes. It reaches from the Baltic Sea and flatlands in the north to the Alps with Bavarian culture, to the forests and lakes in the south.

In between, you have many big cities such as the capital Berlin, the finance and logistics centre of Europe Frankfurt, one of the biggest city complexes named Ruhrpott in the west, and the fastest growing city in Germany: Leipzig.

Roofs of Berlin and the Fernsehturm

When moving to a new country, you’ll have an explosion of feelings. On the one hand, you’re excited to meet new people, get to know the culture, and achieve mastery of the new language. On the other hand, you need to find a job and you need to get through the headache of dealing with a new working culture (Arbeitskultur).

So, is it easy to get a job in Germany?

In this guide, we’ll show you the whole process of finding a job in Germany. We begin with the requirements, what jobs to look for, where to look for positions, and even cover the German work culture.

Are you ready? Let’s get straight to it and prepare for your time in Germany, so that you can find jobs in Germany in 2019.

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Without further ado, here’s our guide on how to find a job in Germany.

Table of Contents

  1. Requirements and Paperwork
  2. Which Job Fits Your Needs? — Job Types
  3. Where to Look for a Job
  4. Why Will You Love Working in Germany?
  5. The Job Market in Germany
  6. How GermanPod101.com will Help You Get a Job in Germany

1. Requirements and Paperwork

One thing you should know upfront: Germany is the country of bureaucracy (Land der Bürokratie). So, get prepared to do some paperwork (papierarbeit) as long as you stay in Germany. Before applying for a job, you need all your papers and your visa ready. Don’t be afraid; we’ll show you how to easily set up your stay in Germany.

First: Everyone who’s from a country in the European Union (EU), European Economic Area (EEA), or Switzerland doesn’t need a visa as long as they have an ID card or a valid passport. But, you need to register an address in Germany to work.

An Official Document with the Writing “Visa.”

1- The German Job Seeker Visa

Jobs in Germany for foreigners start with a job seeker visa. The job seeker visa is a long-term residency permit that allows you to stay in Germany for six months looking for a job. With this visa, you’re not allowed to work immediately, but to look for a job. If you find a job during this period, then you’ll be given the Germany work visa or a work permit to work and live there.

There are some requirements you need to fulfill in order to obtain the visa. For example, you have to have a Bachelors or Master degree and at least five years of experience in your field of study. To see all the requirements, take a look at the official visa website.

2- Do I Need a Visa? — Visa Types and Requirements

There are more than 15 different visa types for foreigners and the one you need strongly depends on which country you’re from. So please, take a look on the official website and find out if you need a visa and which visa type fits your needs.

As already said, it strongly depends on how high your expertise is in your field of studies (studienfach), and what degree you’re holding. When looking for a job in Germany, most people need to apply for a residence permit before entering the country. When the job is highly qualified, it will be easier for you to obtain the visa. But to be sure, check out Expatica.com.

2. Which Job Fits Your Needs? — Job Types

In such a developed country like Germany, obviously, you can choose just about any career you can think of. So in the end, everything comes down to your personal preferences (persönliche Vorliebe) and of course your level of German. It’s not always necessary to be fluent, but let’s face it, speaking German will be a big advantage.

1- Jobs for German Beginners

If you’re a complete beginner in German, finding a professional position will be harder for you. So you need to get a bit creative and lucky as well. Most companies will expect you to be at least a little fluent with your German. For complete foreigner-friendly jobs, take a look at the section below. There, we’ll tell you a little about how to find a job in Germany if you don’t speak German.

We at GermanPod101 offer you a wide range of free resources, lessons, and starting guides for your German learning experience. Before thinking about moving to Germany for work, work even harder on your German skills. Our MyTeacher service will boost your level of German even faster.

2- Jobs for German Intermediate Learners

Your chances of finding a job in Germany are already higher when you have at least basic German skills and can speak about all the subjects that you’re interested in. Your search for a job will go much faster when you know how to properly express yourself.

Most employers will test your German skills during the job interview and will be happy when you show that you can communicate. They might ask you for certificates such as Goethe B1. But either way, you’ll have a good chance at the job with your intermediate knowledge of the language.

3- Jobs for Fluent German Speakers

You’ll be treated like a native speaker when searching for a job if you already speak German at a fluent level. You don’t even have to be on a native level with your German; fluent is just enough.

You can be picky when looking for positions. Apply like you would in your home country, just to the jobs that you like and that fit your professional skills.

Some of the companies you’re applying to might ask you for a proof of fluency. Some certificates you can show are Goethe C1 and TestDaF.

Even fluent speakers can improve their German language skills day by day with our helpful bonus classes.

4- Foreigner-Friendly Jobs

Apart from professional and common jobs, you can get a bit more creative with your job search and prepare yourself for some jobs that not everybody is doing. You can find some English speaking jobs in Germany if you take this path. When it comes to these jobs, your native language can greatly benefit you, as can an intermediate level of English.

Language Teaching (Sprachen unterrichten)

This is probably the most obvious option. It doesn’t necessarily need to be English that you’re teaching; it could be any other language. Some spontaneous ideas are French, Spanish, Italian, and Japanese.

A Teacher in Front of a Whiteboard and a Student

For some teaching jobs, go to the the following websites:

You can look for jobs just about anywhere. You can look for positions as a professional teaching staff member (professioneller Sprachlehrer) at an international company, teach school children from primary to high school, you can teach at universities, you can do private tutoring, and anything else that comes to your mind.

When looking for this kind of job, if you do it as a freelancer or even as a full-time worker, companies might ask you for a certificate such as TEFL.

Tourism Industry

This might be even more obvious than teaching your mother tongue (muttersprache) to Germans. But surely in cities and popular tourist spots, such as in the south, you can get hired by a company specializing in tourism. Having a degree in closely related studies will be even better for you.

This may be a good source of English speaking jobs in Germany, but even when working in the tourism industry, you should get used to a bit of German and improve your language skills daily.

Jobs here range from being a tour guide or working with a travel agency, (Reisebüro) to being a receptionist in a hotel or hostel. Even working in a restaurant or bar in a tourist spot could be a great opportunity for some quick money.

5- Volunteering in Germany

If you don’t want to go to all the trouble of looking for a professional job and fulfilling all the requirements to get a working visa (arbeitsvisum), just think about going to Germany as a tourist or on a working holiday visa. Do you want to know what your options are?

The answer is volunteering (freiwilligenarbeit). It certainly won’t make you rich, but your life experience, your spirit, and your view of life might change in this way. And maybe you’ll be able to make some good contacts for your future life and get into a professional position during this time.

Volunteering is quite easy to understand. You offer some of your time for accommodation (unterkunft) and in the best case, even food. Don’t worry; the person you’ll work for won’t rip you off and the workload isn’t overwhelming.

A Tractor Spraying the Plants on a Field

There’s a large variety of jobs in this field: field work, renovating houses, working on farms or in hostels, walking dogs, and taking care of other animals. You can find interesting alternatives on:

  • Workaway: This is a volunteering service, where families and companies offer their home. It offers a premium membership service, where you can apply to any position. They are paid annually, so this won’t be costly for you.
  • HelpX: HelpX is similar to Workaway. You can find interesting positions on both websites. The interface of HelpX could be a bit better, but the service itself is great.
  • WWOOFing: Woofing is a big platform if you love nature and would like to work on farms. Its speciality is organic farming.

3. Where to Look for a Job

Now we’re coming to the interesting part. Where do you actually apply and look for jobs, on the web and offline? We collected some helpful websites for you. Note that there are more options, but these are the most common ones.

1- General Job Search Engine

1. Official Website

  • Bundesagentur für Arbeit: This is the official national agency for employment, and probably the biggest and first resource you can use to find a job. There are offices in nearly every city and town in Germany. You can find practically everything here. But real quality jobs you’ll most certainly not find on this platform.

2. German Favorites

You can use these sites to search for any kind of job and you’ll find a wide range of jobs. You can find jobs in the medical service, information technology, and chemistry sector there, as well as smaller part-time jobs and head positions. Just browse around these websites and they can keep you busy for weeks.

3. Search Engines

These platforms will always have some positions to offer you. Firms from all around the world in every sector are publishing here. Keep in mind that for jobs in Germany, Indeed is a good place to start.

2- Specialized Directories

  • GetInIT: Want to get into the IT sector? This is the right place for you.
  • Jobvector: This is for everybody in the science, medicine, and engineering studies field.
  • YourFirm: This one is great if you’re looking for a job in a middle-sized company.

3- Recruitment Agencies

A quick hint from us. Just use these agencies if you really have some special skills to offer or some degrees that not everybody can show. Because if you don’t have those, the agency will most likely not help you find a job.

If you’re getting really specific with your job search, just type into Google “Personalagentur” + your specific niche that you’re interested in.

4- Expat Portals and Communities

Of course, there are some pages that just specialize in listing jobs for English speakers and foreigners:

Also keep in mind that finding people who have the same goal as you isn’t that hard. Just a quick search on Facebook showed us that there are two major groups for foreigners who are looking for jobs in Germany.

5- Networking

Yes, like in any other country, it’s good to focus on networking in Germany. With networking, you’ll have a better possibility of finding a job. After going over all the other examples and websites above, we’ve finally come to the way that 90% of German people find their jobs. This may be, in fact, the best way to find a job in Germany.

Networking.
Networking.
NETWORKING.

Okay, I know you’re thinking, “How am I supposed to do networking if I don’t have any contacts in Germany?”

Fortunately, there are websites that focus just on that, on networking:

Get yourself a profile and show yourself to the recruiters (Personaler) out there. You can use their built-in job portals and apply to jobs easily and directly from your already-built profile.

And remember, you can also do networking offline. Go out, go to companies, present yourself. Make contact on Facebook, in the park, in a café. Just anywhere!

4. Why Will You Love Working in Germany?

Working in such a developed country as Germany has benefits. Just to name a few, you’ll get health insurance, many days off, a straightforward but easy-going work culture, access to events, and much more. Let’s jump right into it.

Young Man in Front of a Laptop with a Cup of Coffee.

1. Health Insurance (Krankenversicherung)

When you’re employed, you’re automatically in the German health care system. It covers things such as hospital stays, dental care, doctor visits, eyeglasses, and more. You’re automatically in this system and a small part from your salary will be used for this.

2. Pension Insurance

This is an insurance for your old days once you’re retired from your working life. This ensures that you can maintain a certain standard when you’re over 67 years old, and the outcome is around 67% of your average net income from your working life.

3. Unemployment Insurance

If you’ve worked at least one year in Germany, then you’re qualified to receive funds from the state in the case that you lose your job. In case you become unemployed, you’ll receive around 65% of your last income for the next 12 months.

4. Average Working Hours and Paid Holidays

On average, Germans work around 35 hours per week. That’s much less than the standard in other countries such as the UK with 44 hours. You’ll have at least 20 days of holiday, plus public holidays.

However, this information depends on the region where you live. Usually, in professional positions, you’ll have more holidays. (This is usually 25-30.)

Just to name a few more benefits:

  • Help for new parents
  • Reasonable housing costs
  • Cheap transport
  • Accident insurance
  • Growing minimum wage

5. The Job Market in Germany

Did you know that the German economy is bigger than the whole economy of South America combined? That’s pretty impressive, isn’t it?

We have to consider here that Germany is the biggest player in Europe, and with its central localization in the European Union we became a strong partner for other big nations like the United States and China. We are the world champion of exporting goods.

Another fact that you should know before moving to Germany is that our unemployment rate is on a years-long low. In 2019, we’re facing an unemployment rate of less than 4%, and in some cities like Munich, this number is even less.

And here comes the best fact for you. In Germany, we’re facing a shortage of experts in different professions. These include:

  • Mechanical engineers (Maschinenbauingenieur)
  • Automotive engineers (Fahrzeugingenieur)
  • Electrical and building engineers (Elektro- und Bauingenieur)
  • IT specialists (IT-Spezialist)
  • Health workers and doctors

Some global players have their headquarters and manufacturing bases in Germany. Just to name a few:

  • Volkswagen
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • EON
  • Daimler
  • Adidas
  • MAN
  • Siemens

6. How GermanPod101.com will Help You Get a Job in Germany

Wow, finding your way to the end of this article was a journey. But we’re happy that you made it and that you’re not discouraged from finding a job in Germany. We showed you all the benefits you’ll receive as an employee in Germany. Are you ready to apply for your first German jobs and get a flat in Berlin or Munich?

Before going to Germany, make sure that you work on your language skills. For this, we have tons of free vocabulary lists on our website and free lessons for beginners, intermediate learners, and advanced speakers.

Once you’ve found your job or are in the middle of the process, make sure you get the necessary vocabulary right.

Just a quick reminder for our premium service MyTeacher. There, you’ll have access to a personal one-on-one coach who will work just with you to improve your language skills so you’re ready for your first job in Germany. But with GermanPod101.com’s lists and lessons, you’re already set up just enough to start.

What are you waiting for? Whether you’re looking for jobs in Berlin or English speaking jobs in Germany, you now have the resources you need to get it! Good luck!

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How to Say I Love You in German - Romantic Word List

Do you often feel lonely and sad? Do you long for romance and are willing to do whatever it takes to meet that special person? Speaking another language could revolutionize your love life! So, why wait? Learning how to say ‘love’ in German could be just what you need to find it.

Or perhaps you were lucky, and have found your German partner already. Fantastic! Yet, a cross-cultural relationship comes with unique challenges. Learning how to speak your lover’s language will greatly improve your communication and enhance the relationship. At GermanPod101, our team will teach you all the words, quotes and phrases you need to woo your German lover with excellence! Our tutors provide personal assistance, with plenty of extra material available to make German dating easy for you.

Table of Contents

  1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date
  2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date
  3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary
  4. German Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
  5. German Quotes about Love
  6. Marriage Proposal Lines
  7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines
  8. Will Falling in Love Help You Learn German Faster?

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1. Common Phrases You’ll Need for a Date

So, you have met your German love interest. Congratulations! Who knows where this could take you…?! However, the two of you have just met and you’re not ready to say the German word for love just yet. Great, it is better to get to know him/her first. Wow your prospective love by using these German date phrases to set up a spectacular first date.

German Date Phrases

Would you like to go out to dinner with me?

  • Möchtest du mit mir zum Abendessen ausgehen?

The important question! In most cultures, this phrase indicates: ‘I’m romantically interested in you’. Flirting in German is no different, so don’t take your date to Mcdonald’s!

Are you free this weekend?

  • Hast du dieses Wochenende Zeit?

This is a preamble to asking your love interest on a date. If you get an immediate ‘Yes’, that’s good news!

Would you like to hang out with me?

  • Hättest du Lust, mal etwas zusammen zu unternehmen?

You like her/him, but you’re not sure if there’s chemistry. Ask them to hang out first to see if a dinner date is next.

What time shall we meet tomorrow?

  • Um wieviel Uhr sollen wir uns morgen treffen?

Set a time, and be sure to arrive early! Nothing spoils a potential relationship more than a tardy date.

Where shall we meet?

  • Wo sollen wir uns treffen?

You can ask this, but also suggest a place.

You look great.

  • Du siehst toll aus.

A wonderful ice breaker! This phrase will help them relax a bit - they probably took great care to look their best just for you.

You are so cute.

  • Du bist so süß.

If the two of you are getting on really well, this is a fun, flirtatious phrase to use.

What do you think of this place?

  • Wie findest du diesen Ort?

This another good conversation starter. Show off your German language skills!

Can I see you again?

  • Kann ich dich noch mal sehen?

So the date went really well - don’t waste time! Make sure you will see each other again.

Shall we go somewhere else?

  • Sollen wir woanders hingehen?

If the place you meet at is not great, you can suggest going elsewhere. It is also a good question to follow the previous one. Variety is the spice of life!

I know a good place.

  • Ich kenne einen tollen Ort.

Use this with the previous question. However, don’t say if you don’t know a good place!

I will drive you home.

  • Ich werde dich nach Hause fahren.

If your date doesn’t have transport, this is a polite, considerate offer. However, don’t be offended if she/he turns you down on the first date. Especially a woman might not feel comfortable letting you drive her home when the two of you are still basically strangers.

That was a great evening.

  • Das war ein toller Abend.

This is a good phrase to end the evening with.

When can I see you again?

  • Wann kann ich dich wiedersehen?

If he/she replied ‘Yes’ to ‘Can I see you again?’, this is the next important question.

I’ll call you.

  • Ich werde dich anrufen.

Say this only if you really mean to do it. In many cultures, this could imply that you’re keeping the proverbial backdoor open.

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2. The Most Romantic Ideas for a Date

You learned all the German phrases to make a date - congratulations! Now you have to decide where to meet, which can be tricky. Discuss these options with your lover to gauge whether you like the same things. Check out romantic date ideas in German below!

Date Ideas in German

museum

  • Museum

If you’re looking for unique date ideas that are fun but won’t break the bank, museums are the perfect spot! You won’t be running out of things to say in the conversations.

candlelit dinner

  • Candle-Light-Dinner

A candlelit dinner is perhaps best to reserve for when the relationship is getting serious. It’s very intimate, and says: “Romance!” It’s a fantastic choice if you’re sure you and your date are in love with each other!

go to the zoo

  • In den Zoo gehen.

This is a good choice for shy lovers who want to get the conversation going. Just make sure your date likes zoos, as some people dislike them. Maybe not for the first date, but this is also a great choice if your lover has children - you’ll win his/her adoration for inviting them along!

go for a long walk

  • Einen langen Spaziergang machen.

Need to talk about serious stuff, or just want to relax with your date? Walking together is soothing, and a habit you can keep up together always! Just make sure it’s a beautiful walk that’s not too strenuous.

go to the opera

  • In die Oper gehen.

This type of date should only be attempted if both of you love the opera. It can be a special treat, followed by a candlelit dinner!

go to the aquarium

  • In ein Aquarium gehen.

Going to the aquarium is another good idea if you need topics for conversation, or if you need to impress your lover’s kids! Make sure your date doesn’t have a problem with aquariums.

walk on the beach

  • Am Strand spazieren gehen

This can be a very romantic stroll, especially at night! The sea is often associated with romance and beauty.

have a picnic

  • ein Picknick machen

If you and your date need to get more comfortable together, this can be a fantastic date. Spending time in nature is soothing and calms the nerves.

cook a meal together

  • Zusammen etwas zu Essen kochen

If you want to get an idea of your date’s true character in one go, this is an excellent date! You will quickly see if the two of you can work together in a confined space. If it works, it will be fantastic for the relationship and create a sense of intimacy. If not, you will probably part ways!

have dinner and see a movie

  • Abendessen und einen Film schauen

This is traditional date choice works perfectly well. Just make sure you and your date like the same kind of movies!

3. Must-know Valentine’s Day Vocabulary

Valentine's Day Words in German

Expressing your feelings honestly is very important in any relationship all year round. Yet, on Valentine’s Day you really want to shine. Impress your lover this Valentine’s with your excellent vocabulary, and make his/her day! We teach you, in fun, effective ways, the meanings of the words and how to pronounce them. You can also copy the characters and learn how to write ‘I love you’ in German - think how impressed your date will be!

4. German Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day

So, you now have the basic Valentine’s Day vocabulary under your belt. Well done! But, do you know how to say ‘I love you’ in German yet? Or perhaps you are still only friends. So, do you know how to say ‘I like you’ or ‘I have a crush on you’ in German? No? Don’t worry, here are all the love phrases you need to bowl over your German love on this special day!

Valentine's Day Words in German

I love you.

  • Ich liebe dich.

Saying ‘I love you’ in German carries the same weight as in all languages. Use this only if you’re sure and sincere about your feelings for your partner/friend.

You mean so much to me.

  • Du bedeutest mir sehr viel.

This is a beautiful expression of gratitude that will enhance any relationship! It makes the receiver feel appreciated and their efforts recognized.

Will you be my Valentine?

  • Möchtest du mein Valentin sein?

With these words, you are taking your relationship to the next level! Or, if you have been a couple for a while, it shows that you still feel the romance. So, go for it!

You’re so beautiful.

  • Sie sind so schön.

If you don’t know how to say ‘You’re pretty’ in German, this is a good substitute, gentlemen!

I think of you as more than a friend.

  • Du bist mehr als nur ein Freund für mich.

Say this if you are not yet sure that your romantic feelings are reciprocated. It is also a safe go-to if you’re unsure about the German dating culture.

A hundred hearts would be too few to carry all my love for you.

  • Hundert Herzen wären zu wenige, um all meine Liebe zu dir zu tragen.

You romantic you…! When your heart overflows with love, this would be the best phrase to use.

Love is just love. It can never be explained.

  • Liebe ist nur Liebe. Es kann niemals erklärt werden.

If you fell in love unexpectedly or inexplicably, this one’s for you.

You’re so handsome.

  • Du bist so schön.

Ladies, this phrase lets your German love know how much you appreciate his looks! Don’t be shy to use it; men like compliments too.

I’ve got a crush on you.

  • Ich bin in dich verknallt.

If you like someone, but you’re unsure about starting a relationship, it would be prudent to say this. It simply means that you like someone very, very much and think they’re amazing.

You make me want to be a better man.

  • Du machst mich zu einem besseren Menschen.

Gentlemen, don’t claim this phrase as your own! It hails from the movie ‘As Good as it Gets’, but it is sure to make your German girlfriend feel very special. Let her know that she inspires you!

Let all that you do be done in love.

  • Lasse deine Handlungen in der Liebe geschehen.

We hope.

You are my sunshine, my love.

  • Du bist mein Sonnenschein, meine Liebe.

A compliment that lets your lover know they bring a special quality to your life. Really nice!

Words can’t describe my love for you.

  • Worte können meine Liebe zu dir nicht beschreiben.

Better say this when you’re feeling serious about the relationship! It means that your feelings are very intense.

We were meant to be together.

  • Wir waren füreinander bestimmt.

This is a loving affirmation that shows you see a future together, and that you feel a special bond with your partner.

If you were thinking about someone while reading this, you’re definitely in love.

  • Solltest du - während du diese Zeilen liest - über jemanden nachdenken, bist du auf jeden Fall verliebt.

Here’s something fun to tease your lover with. And hope he/she was thinking of you!

5. German Quotes about Love

German Love Quotes

You’re a love champ! You and your German lover are getting along fantastically, your dates are awesome, your Valentine’s Day together was spectacular, and you’re very much in love. Good for you! Here are some beautiful phrases of endearment in German that will remind him/her who is in your thoughts all the time.

6. Marriage Proposal Lines

German Marriage Proposal Lines

Wow. Your German lover is indeed the love of your life - congratulations! And may only happiness follow the two of you! In most traditions, the man asks the woman to marry; this is also the German custom. Here are a few sincere and romantic lines that will help you to ask your lady-love for her hand in marriage.

7. 15 Most Common Break-Up Lines

German Break-Up Lines

Instead of moving towards marriage or a long-term relationship, you find that the spark is not there for you. That is a pity! But even though breaking up is never easy, continuing a bad or unfulfilling relationship would be even harder. Remember to be kind to the person you are going to say goodbye to; respect and sensitivity cost nothing. Here are some phrases to help you break up gently.

  • We need to talk.
    • Wir müssen reden.

    This is not really a break-up line, but it is a good conversation opener with a serious tone.

    It’s not you. It’s me.

    • Es liegt nicht an dir. Es liegt an mir.

    As long as you mean it, this can be a kind thing to say. It means that there’s nothing wrong with your German lover as a person, but that you need something different from a relationship.

    I’m just not ready for this kind of relationship.

    • Ich bin einfach nicht bereit für diese Art von Beziehung.

    Things moved a bit fast and got too intense, too soon? Painful as it is, honesty is often the best way to break up with somebody.

    Let’s just be friends.

    • Lass uns einfach Freunde sein.

    If the relationship was very intense, and you have sent many ‘i love u’ texts in German, this would not be a good breakup line. Feelings need to calm down before you can be friends, if ever. If the relationship has not really developed yet, a friendship would be possible.

    I think we need a break.

    • Ich glaube, wir brauchen eine Pause.

    This is again honest, and to the point. No need to play with someone’s emotions by not letting them know how you feel. However, this could imply that you may fall in love with him/her again after a period of time, so use with discretion.

    You deserve better.

    • Du hast etwas Besseres verdient.

    Yes, he/she probably deserves a better relationship if your own feelings have cooled down.

    We should start seeing other people.

    • Wir sollten anfangen, uns mit anderen Leuten zu treffen.

    This is probably the least gentle break-up phrase, so reserve it for a lover that doesn’t get the message!

    I need my space.

    • Ich brauche meinen Freiraum.

    When a person is too clingy or demanding, this would be an suitable break-up phrase. It is another good go-to for that lover who doesn’t get the message!

    I think we’re moving too fast.

    • Ich denke, es geht zu schnell.

    Say this if you want to keep the relationship, but need to slow down its progress a bit. It is also good if you feel things are getting too intense for your liking. However, it is not really a break-up line, so be careful not to mislead.

    I need to focus on my career.

    • Ich muss mich auf meine Karriere konzentrieren.

    If you feel that you will not be able to give 100% in a relationship due to career demands, this is the phrase to use. It’s also good if you are unwilling to give up your career for a relationship.

    I’m not good enough for you.

    • Ich bin nicht gut genug für dich.

    Say this only if you really believe it, or you’ll end up sounding false. Break-ups are usually hard for the receiving party, so don’t insult him/her with an insincere comment.

    I just don’t love you anymore.

    • Ich liebe dich einfach nicht mehr.

    This harsh line is sometimes the best one to use if you are struggling to get through to a stubborn, clingy lover who won’t accept your break up. Use it as a last resort. Then switch your phone off and block their emails!

    We’re just not right for each other.

    • Wir sind einfach nicht richtig für einander.

    If this is how you truly feel, you need to say it. Be kind, gentle and polite.

    It’s for the best.

    • Es ist das Beste.

    This phrase is called for if circumstances are difficult and the relationship is not progressing well. Love should enhance one’s life, not burden it!

    We’ve grown apart.

    • Wir haben uns auseinander gelebt.

    Cross-cultural relationships are often long-distance ones, and it is easy to grow apart over time.

  • 8. Will Falling in Love help you Learn German faster?

    Most people will agree that the above statement is a no-brainer - of course it will! Your body will be flooded with feel-good hormones, which are superb motivators for anything. GermanPod101 is one of the best portals to help help make this a reality, so don’t hesitate to enroll now! Let’s quickly look at the reasons why falling in love will speed up your learning of the German language.

    Three Reasons Why Having a Lover will Help you Learn German Faster!

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    1- Being in a love relationship with your German speaking partner will immerse you in the culture
    GermanPod101 uses immersive methods and tools to teach you German, but having a relationship with a native speaker will be a very valuable addition to your learning experience! You will gain exposure to their world, realtime and vividly, which will make the language come alive even more for you. The experience is likely to expand your world-view, which should motivate you to learn German even faster.

    2- Having your German romantic partner will mean more opportunity to practice speaking
    Nothing beats continuous practice when learning a new language. Your partner will probably be very willing to assist you in this, as your enhanced German language skills will enhance the relationship. Communication is, after all, one of the most important pillars of a good partnership. Also, you will get to impress your lover with the knowledge gained through your studies - a win/win situation!

    3- A supportive German lover is likely to make a gentle, patient teacher and study aid!
    With his/her heart filled with love and goodwill for you, your German partner is likely to patiently and gently correct your mistakes when you speak. This goes not only for grammar, but also for accent and meaning. With his/her help, you could sound like a native in no time!

    Three Reasons Why GermanPod101 helps you learn German Even Faster when you’re In Love

    Start with a bonus, and download the ‘How To be a Good Lover Cheat Sheet’ for FREE! (Logged-In Member Only)

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    1- All the Resources and Materials Will Help Both of You
    Falling in love with a man or woman speaking German is an opportunity for both of you to learn a new language! For this reason, every lesson, transcript, vocabulary list, and resource at GermanPod101 is translated into both English and German. So, while your partner can help you learn German faster, you can potentially also help him/her learn and master English!

    2- Lessons Are Designed to Help You Understand and Engage with German Culture
    At GermanPod101, our focus is to help our students learn practical vocabulary and phrases used by everyday people in Germany. This means that, from your very first lesson, you can apply what you learn immediately! So, when your German partner wants to go out to a restaurant, play Pokemon Go, or attend just about any social function, you have the vocabulary and phrases necessary to have a great time!

    3- Access to Special Resources Dedicated to Romantic German Phrases
    You now have access to GermanPod101’s specially-developed sections and tools to teach you love words, phrases, and cultural insights to help you find and attract your German soul mate. A personal tutor will assist you to master these brilliantly - remember to invite him/her to your wedding!

    Hi, What’s Up, and Beyond: How to Say Hello In German

    How to Say Hello in German

    It’s a beautiful morning in Hamburg. You’re enjoying a nice piece of bread and a coffee at a streetside cafe.

    Suddenly a German friend of yours enters and you’d like to say hello. But this time, you’ll do it in German.

    So how exactly do you say “Hello” in German?

    Greetings are part of every culture, and no matter where you find yourself on the globe, there are plenty of different ways to do it. Each one has its own subtleties, ranging from formality to time of day to location.

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    Fortunately, it’s not confusing in the least. Pretty much everything can be accurately mapped to a phrase or concept we’re familiar with in English.

    “Hello” in learning German is one of the most important things you’ll learn, so let’s delve into this concept and explore the different ways to greet in German with GermanPod101.com.

    1. Morning, Noon, and Night

    There are several German words to say hello. Keep in mind that just like in English, we greet people a little bit differently when it comes to different times of day. In fact, some of the most common greetings in German are related to the time of day, and these are often the best way to say hello in German.

    Germans tend to be early risers compared to some other countries. It’s not uncommon to see lots of people out and about at around seven o’clock—out for a walk, headed to work, or getting breakfast. When it’s before noon, you’ll probably want to use:

    • Guten Morgen!
      “Good morning!”

    Later on, the words change a bit, like so:

    • Guten Tag!
      “Good day/hello!”
    • Guten Abend!
      “Good evening!”

    1- Additional Notes

    1. Devoicing and More

    A couple of notes on the pronunciation here. Remember that in Germany, a b, d, z, or g at the end of a word is pronounced as p, t, s, and k respectively. This is called devoicing, and you can think of it as kind of like whispering the very last sound of the word.

    Also, when it comes to the word guten, meaning “good,” that final e is kind of swallowed and the u is lengthened. Guutn Taak!

    Speaking of swallowing sounds, these three greetings are very frequently clipped into something like morg’n, ‘tag, or ‘n abn’d.

    What about Gute Nacht? Just like in English, that’s the direct equivalent of good night, used just before going to sleep!

    2. Cheek Kisses

    You may have heard that in Europe, people exchange cheek kisses when they meet. That’s not entirely true—you’re not supposed to actually kiss the cheek, and it’s not everywhere in Europe.

    Germans, for instance, tend to just shake hands. I won’t come out and say that nobody in Germany does cheek kisses, but it’s certainly a move you shouldn’t be the first to make.

    German Greetings

    2. Back to Basics

    English is a Germanic language, so German really isn’t very far away. Don’t be surprised if some of the simplest, most common ways to say hello in German sound awfully like English in a funny accent.

    So what’s the simplest, easiest way to greet someone in German?

    • Hallo!
      “Hello!”

    This is actually used more often between people that sort of know each other or who are around the same age. I wouldn’t use it when buying something at a train station or a shop. It’s not particularly informal, just a little bit too friendly of an opener for two strangers to use.

    In those cases, it’s more common for both you and the clerk to say Guten Tag or the appropriate time-related expression.

    A great real-life example would be if you walked from hotel to hotel inquiring about free rooms in a German-speaking country. Every single interaction opens with a nice, clear, pleasant Guten Abend.

    • Guten Abend! Haben Sie Zimmer frei?
      “Good evening! Do you have any free rooms?”

    As you go from place to place in German-speaking areas, one of the most common things you’ll hear right after Guten Tag when you go into a shop is:

    • Wie kann ich Ihnen helfen?
      “How can I help you?”

    It’s good to be able to recognize that when you hear it. However, I don’t know what you’re looking for, so the rest of that conversation is up to you!

    3. Exchanging Names

    When you get introduced to someone, you’ll likely tell them your name. After all, a name is an incredibly important part of a person’s identity.

    To ask for a name, say:

    • Wie heißen Sie?
      “What’s your name?”

    Literally, you’re saying, “What do you call?” which doesn’t make a lick of sense in English. It really helps to think of it in terms of, “What do you call yourself?” This is, as you’ll guess, a common greeting in German, and the answer follows pretty logically:

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

    Or even:

    • Ich bin Yassir.
      “I’m Yassir.”

    And the obvious next step after that?

    4. Nice to Meet You!

    Nice To Meet You
    There’s a particularly formal way to express this idea, perfect for a business meeting or some kind of official gathering, and it’s one of the most common ways to say hello in German.

    • Es freut mich sehr, Sie kennenzulernen.
      “I’m very glad to meet you.”

    The German word kennenlernen is a crystal-clear example of word formation in the German language. Lernen means “to learn,” and kennen means “to know somebody” (as opposed to knowing information).

    By sticking these words together, you can now express the idea “to get to know somebody,” or “to make somebody’s acquaintance.”

    That’s a bit of a long phrase, though. Fortunately, there do exist slightly shorter variants that have the advantage of being relatively formal.

    • Sehr erfreut. / Freut mich.
      “Nice to meet you.”

    What’s the deal with freut here? Freuen is a verb meaning “to please,” as in “I’m very pleased.” In fact, that’s all that sehr erfreut means. The “I’m” bit is implied because this is a set phrase.

    5. Where are You Now?

    1- Germany

    German Flag
    When learning about the common greetings in German, keep in mind that Germany is a big place—with more than eighty million people, there’s bound to be some regional variation.

    Although everybody in the German-speaking countries are educated using Standard German or Hochdeutsch, lots of people (especially older generations) are more comfortable speaking Dialekte, or local dialects.

    Words and phrases from these dialects color the standard language of each area, lending it a comfortable and local feeling.

    And greetings are no exception.

    1. Northern Germany

    In Northern Germany, you’ll hear Moin all the time to mean, “Hello.” Sometimes it’s doubled up as Moin moin—to which the only response, naturally, is a third Moin! This works any time of the day.

    You also may hear Na, spoken with a question intonation and often written “Na?” It’s a quick and efficient greeting that somehow manages to capture the English “Hey, what’s up, how’s it going?” all in one syllable.

    2. Southern Germany

    Now let’s move further south and see what we hear as different people say hello.

    In Southern Germany you’ll encounter Grüß dich! Like lots of greetings, this is a shortened form or a reference to something else—in this case, it comes from a phrase meaning, “Be blessed by God.”

    2- Austria

    Austria Flag
    Over the border in Austria (and even before it) you’ll often hear something that sounds a little strange to English ears.

    • Servus!
      “Hello!”

    There’s not really any special meaning here, though it might take a bit before you stop hearing “service” and start interpreting it as “Hello!”

    Another really common one is Grüß Gott, which literally translates to “greet God,” but just means “hello” like all the rest. It’s true that the further south you go in German-speaking Europe, the more religious people you’ll find. However, these greetings can and are used by people of all faiths.

    3- Switzerland

    Switzerland Flag

    Swiss German is its own separate language that’s quite distinct from Standard German. All German-speaking Swiss people understand Standard German and most speak it very well, but there’s an even stronger cultural connection with the dialects than there is in Germany.

    Travelers to Switzerland sometimes report that Swiss people greet them automatically in Swiss German even if they know the visitor is a foreigner.

    So that’s why these words are a little different:

    • Grüetzi! Guetzach! Grüessech!
      “Hello!”

    Nobody’s sneezing at you, they’re just saying hello in Swiss German!

    Actually, it’s not super far off from what we’ve seen in Germany. That root verb grüssen is cognate with the English “to greet.”

    When time is of the essence—or you’re just passing someone on a hiking path—you can cut down grüetzi to just zi.

    It’s a little bit less common, but another Swiss German greeting you could run into is Hoi. Fortunately, it sounds close enough to the English “Hey,” or even “Ahoy,” so you won’t need to rack your brain for the definition.

    6. Let’s Take it Easy: Casual Greetings

    Casual Greetings

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

    Although this is relatively slangy and informal, it’s extremely common. There’s even a formal version—simply replace the informal pronoun dir with the formal Ihnen.

    You’re asking literally, “How goes it to you?” The polite response, as in English, is gut—meaning “good.” But you can do better than that! Try out these:

    • Gut, danke! Und dir/Ihnen?
      “Good, thanks! And you?”
    • Es geht mir sehr gut.
      “I’m doing very well.”

    Those are excellent all-purpose answers, and the level of formality is carried over well in the translation. If you haven’t seen someone for a while, you might ask more earnestly how they’ve been, and the response “I’m doing very well,” perfectly matches that tone.

    Now for some more:

    • Hey, Alter!
      “Hey, man!”

    Yes, Germans say “hey” too. English is everywhere! Alter is a very casual and laid-back way of addressing a male friend. You can shout it across the room to get his attention or deliver it with a smile and a handshake when you see each other.

    • Was geht ab?
      “What’s up?”

    Just as with its English equivalent, this phrase is super-slangy and really shouldn’t be used in a formal situation.

    • Hallo zusammen!
      “Hey everybody!”

    If you watch any German YouTubers, you might pick up this phrase quickly. Zusammen literally means “together,” but this phrase can be used whether you’re greeting a group of friends or are at a large casual gathering.

    • Alles klar?
      “How are you?”

    This phrase might be even more confusing if you’re familiar with German. “All clear,” in English sounds like you’re about to launch a rocket or start demolishing a building.

    But in German, it’s just a simple way to ask how you’re doing. Just like with Wie geht’s, a simple gut, danke (“Fine, thanks!”) is the correct answer.

    7. The Conversation Doesn’t Stop at Hello

    Or at least I hope not!

    A greeting is just the beginning. You might have heard that Germans are too reserved for small talk, but that’s not true at all.

    Sometimes you’ll wish people hadn’t been ahead of you in line at shops when they exchange banter with clerks like it was primetime TV.

    So what are some things Germans chat about?

    Weather

    Well, all over the world people like to complain about the weather.

    • Es ist bitterkalt!
      “It’s ice-cold!”
    • Da draußen ist es furchtbar heiß! Dreiunddreizig Grad!
      “It’s so hot outside! Thirty-three degrees!”

    But that might not be enough to go on. If you’re feeling up to a short conversation, you can fire away with this excellent starter:

    • Was hast du heute vor?
      “What have you got going on today?”

    Now, there are as many answers to that as there are people in Germany. But there’s one answer that might be the most satisfying of them all.

    • Heute habe ich gar nichts vor.
      “I don’t have anything going on today.”

    What an excellent phrase! And it has two interesting grammar points to dissect as well.

    First, that word vor is a preposition meaning “before.” Thus the question is something like “What lies before you today?” if you allow a little bit of poetic license in translation.

    And second, the phrase gar nichts is a beautiful and idiomatic way to say “nothing at all.” Nichts on its own means “nothing,” but it can sound a little abrupt and rude to just say “nothing” when asked what you’re doing that day.

    Conclusion

    How to say hello in the German language is of the utmost importance. I hope that in this article you’ve seen that you can get pretty far in a German conversation just by carefully using some key phrases.

    I’ve always found it helpful to memorize some set phrases and use them in patterns later on. As I get better and learn more grammar, I can come back to those as examples and figure out what was actually going on linguistically as I was saying them.

    With that in mind, you should take the first opportunity to go out and strike up a chat with some German speakers. It all starts with hello!

    If you want to learn additional words and phrases in German, as well as important cultural information, be sure to visit GermanPod101.com! We provide you with everything you need to excel in the German language so that you can make the most out of your time in Germany (or conversations with German friends!).

    Also keep in mind that If you prefer one-on-one help and teaching, be sure to check out our MyTeacher program to get the most out of your learning experience!

    Best of luck with your language-learning journey!

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

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