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100 Hand-Picked German Verbs for Your Everyday Life

You know, German treats verbs differently.

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

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

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

1. Regular Tourist Verbs in German

City of Bremen in Germany

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

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

1. gehen – “go”

Wo gehen Sie hin?

“Where are you going?”

2. schlafen – “sleep”

Ich kann nicht schlafen.

“I can’t sleep.”

3. bleiben – “stay”

Wie lange bleibst du hier?

“How long are you staying here?”

4. bezahlen – “pay”

Kann ich mit der Karte bezahlen?

“Can I pay with a card?”

5. essen – “eat”

Was wollen Sie essen?

“What do you want to eat?”

6. trinken – “drink”

Gibt’s noch was zum trinken?

“Is there anything else to drink?”

7. kaufen – “buy”

Ich kaufe nur Android Handys.

“I only buy Android phones.”

8. verkaufen – “sell”

Ich möchte meine alten Kleider verkaufen.

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

9. bestellen – “to order (food)”

Möchten Sie bestellen?

“Would you like to order?”

10. bummeln – “to wander”

Nach der arbeit, bummelte er noch durch die Stadt.

“After work, he wandered through the city.”

11. chillen – “to relax,” “to chill”

Ich möchte heute etwas in dem Park chillen.

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

12. wandern – “to hike”

Kann man in den Bergen wandern?

“Can you hike in the mountains?”

13. reservieren – “to reserve”

Sie haben kein Zimmer reserviert.

“You haven’t reserved a room.”

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

Er feiert nächste Woche seinen Geburtstag.

“He’s celebrating his birthday next week.”

15. saufen – “to get drunk”

Saufen wir zu viel?

“Do we drink too much?”

Top Verbs

2. Verbs at Home

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

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

16. aufwachen – “wake up”

Ich muss jeden Tag um sechs Uhr früh aufwachen.

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

17. aufstehen – “to get up”

Ich stehe um zehn Uhr auf.

“I get up at ten.”

18. schlafen – “to sleep”

Sie schläft immer noch.

“She’s still sleeping.”

19. sich die Zähne putzen – “brush teeth”

Ich putze mir gerade die Zähne, warte mal kurz.

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

20. sich die Haare bürsten – “brush hair”

Ich hasse es, wenn jemand mir die Haare bürstet.

“I hate it when someone brushes my hair.”

21. das Bett machen – “make the bed”

Wann wirst du dein Bett machen?

“When are you going to make your bed?”

22. sich duschen – “to shower”

Ich dusche mich zweimal in der Woche.

“I take a shower twice a week.”

23. staubsaugen – “to vacuum”

Bitte, könntest du unter dem Bett noch mal staubsaugen?

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

24. bügeln – “to iron”

Ich bügle nie meine Hemden.

“I never iron my shirts.”

25. waschen – “to wash”

Hast du deine Hände gewaschen?

“Did you wash your hands?”

26. aufräumen – “to clean up”

Können Sie bitte die Küche aufräumen?

“Could you please clean up the kitchen?”

27. fernsehen – “to watch TV”

Ich sehe selten fern.

“I don’t watch TV often.”

28. lesen – “to read”

Was lesen Sie gerade?

“What are you reading now?”

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

Hörst du deutsche Hörbücher?

“Do you listen to German audiobooks?”

3. Verbs in the Kitchen

Couple Preparing Food in the Kitchen

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

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

30. kochen – “to cook,” “to boil”

Ich koche jeden Tag Eier.

“I cook eggs everyday.”

31. umrühren – “to stir”

Rühr die Suppe um.

“Stir the soup.”

32. backen – “to bake”

Kannst du Kekse backen?

“Can you bake cookies?”

33. vorheizen – “to preheat”

Den Backofen auf einhundert achtzig Grad vorheizen.

“Preheat the oven to one hundred eighty degrees.”

34. erhitzen – “to heat up”

Erhitzen Sie das Öl in der Pfanne.

“Heat up oil in the pan.”

35. einfrieren – “to freeze”

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

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

36. frühstücken – “to eat breakfast”

Ich frühstücke immer auf Arbeit.

“Where are we going to eat breakfast?”

37. Abendessen essen – “eat dinner”

Er isst Abendessen allein zu Hause.

“He is eating dinner alone at home.”

38. anbrennen – “to burn (food)”

Oh nein, ich habe das Sandwich angebrannt!

“Oh no, I burned the sandwich!”

39. schneiden – “to cut”

Wir schneiden den Teig mit einem Messer.

“We cut the dough with a knife.”

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

Das hier schmeckt nach altem Käse.

“This tastes like old cheese.”

41. probieren – “to try”

Schnecken würde er niemals probieren.

“He would never give snails a try.”

42. salzen  – “to salt”

Als Nächstes werde ich das gericht salzen.

“Next, I’ll salt the dish.”

4. Verbs at the University

People Taking a Test in a University Classroom

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

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

43. schreiben – “to write”

Ich kann nicht so gut schreiben.

“I can’t write very well.”

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

Ich studiere Geschichte als Hauptfach.

“I’m studying history as my major.”

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

Haben Sie für die Prüfung gelernt?

“Did you study for the test?”

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

Du hast das ganze Buch auswendig gelernt?!

“You learned the whole book by heart?!”

47. anmelden – “to register”

Wo melde ich mich an?

“Where do I register?”

48. forschen – “to research”

Forschen Sie lieber oder lehren Sie lieber?

“Do you prefer researching or teaching?”

49. sich verabreden – “make an appointment”

Wir haben uns schon verabredet.

“We’ve made an appointment.”

50. den Unterricht schwänzen – “to skip classes”

Ich habe niemals im Leben den Unterricht geschwänzt.

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

51. spicken – “to cheat”

Sie wurden beim spicken erwischt.

“They were caught cheating.”

52. bestehen – “to pass”

Ich will meine Deutschprüfung bestehen!

“I want to pass my German test!”

53. durchfallen – “to fail”

Viele Studenten sind dieses Jahr durchgefallen.

“Lots of students failed this year.”

54. wiederholen – “to repeat”

Können Sie das bitte wiederholen?

“Could you please repeat that?”

55. überzeugen – “to convince”

Ich bin immer noch nicht überzeugt.

“I’m still not convinced.”

56. vorlesen – “to read aloud”

Kannst du den Satz bitte vorlesen?

“Could you please read the sentence aloud?”

57. lehren – “to teach”

Er lehrt im Gymnasium.

“He teaches at the secondary school.”

58. verpassen – “to miss”

Ich habe meinen Bus verpasst!

“I missed my bus!”

59. einen Abschluss machen – “to graduate”

Sie hat ihren Abschluss noch nicht gemacht.

“She hasn’t yet graduated.”

5. Verbs at Work

Two Women Going Over Work-related Papers

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

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

60. Kaffee machen – “to brew coffee”

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

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

61. pünktlich sein – “to be on time”

Wie kann er immer pünktlich sein?

“How can he always be on time?”

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

Das Kind verspätet sich immer.

“The child is always late.”

63. anstellen – “to hire”

Stellen Sie hier viele Frauen an?

“Do you hire many women here?”

64. entlassen – “to fire”

Vorsicht, du könntest dafür entlassen werden.

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

65. arbeiten – “to work”

Wo arbeiten Sie?

“Where do you work?”

66. kündigen – “to quit”

Ich werde in zwei Wochen kündigen.

“I’m quitting in two weeks.”

67. erklären – “to explain”

Wir können diese Situation erklären.

“We can explain this situation.”

 68. jammern – “to babble”

Er jammert stundenlang in seinem Büro.

“He babbles constantly in his office.”

69. telefonieren – “to make a call”

Haben Sie mit der Abteilungsleiterin telefoniert?

“Did you call the department manager?”

70. drucken – “to print”

Wir drucken zu viele Sachen.

“We’re printing too many things.”

71. speichern – “to save”

Ich habe das Dokument nicht gespeichert!

“I didn’t save the document!”

72. schicken – “to send”

Ich habe es dir in einer E-Mail geschickt.

“I sent it to you via email.”

73. verhandeln – “to negotiate”

Ich muss ein besseres Gehalt verhandeln.

“I have to negotiate a better salary.”

More Essential Verbs

6. Verbs for Your Spare Time

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

Here are a few German hobby verbs to memorize.

74. zeichnen – “to draw”

Ich zeichne keine Menschen.

“I don’t draw people.”

75. skizzieren – “to sketch”

Er skizziert ein Turm.

“He sketches a tower.”

76. malen – “to paint”

Ich male gern mit den Kindern.

“I like to paint with the kids.”

77. fotografieren – “to take photos”

Ich fotografiere viele Blumen.

“I take a lot of pictures of flowers.”

78. Gitarre spielen – “to play guitar”

Es ist lange her seitdem ich Gitarre gespielt habe.

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

79. programmieren – “to program”

Ich programmiere sechs Stunden pro Tag.

“I program for six hours a day.”

80. klettern – “to climb”

Ist es erlaubt, hier zu klettern?

“Is it allowed to climb here?”

81. aufnehmen – “to record”

Ich nehme alle meiner Lieder auf.

“I record all my songs.”

82. üben – “to practice”

Ich übe jeden Tag Deutsch.

“I practice German everyday.”

83. fahren – “to drive,” “to ride”

Ich fahre gern Fahrrad.

“I like riding bikes.”

84. bolzen – “to play soccer”

Manchmal nach der Arbeit gehe ich mit den Jungs bolzen.

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

7. Verbs at the Gym

Woman and Man Weightlifting at the Gym

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

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

85. trainieren – “to exercise”

Trainierst du jeden Tag?

“Do you work out everyday?”

86. laufen – “to run”

Sie läuft im Park.

“She is running in the park.”

87. Gewichte heben – “to lift weights”

Wieviel kannst du heben?

“How much can you lift?”

88. pumpen – “to work out”

Ich war gestern im Fitnessstudio pumpen.

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

89. joggen – “to jog”

Ich jogge zwei mal die Woche im Mauerpark.

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

90. schwimmen – “to swim”

Kann man in dem Rhein schwimmen?

“Can you swim in the Rhine?” 

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

Kriegst du keine Muskelkater?

“Don’t you ever get sore muscles?”

92. sich wiegen – “to weigh oneself”

Du solltest dich nicht zu oft wiegen.

“You shouldn’t weigh yourself too often.”

93. sich entspannen – “to relax oneself”

Es ist schwer, mich zu entspannen.

“It’s hard to relax.”

94. abnehmen – “to lose weight”

Ich versuche etwas abzunehmen.

“I’m trying to lose some weight.”

95. zunehmen – “to gain weight”

Ich nehme immer noch zu.

“I’m still gaining weight.”

Negative Verbs

8. Verbs on a Date

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

96. rauchen – “to smoke”

Rauchst du?

“Do you smoke?”

97. lachen – “to laugh”

Sie lachten laut und lang.

“They laughed loud and long.”

98. lächeln – “to smile”

Er lächelte und sagte, sie sei schön.

“He smiled and said she was beautiful.”

99. umarmen – “to hug”

Sie haben sich zum Abschied umarmt.

“They hugged each other goodbye.”

100. küssen – “to kiss”

Kann ich dich küssen?

“Can I kiss you?”

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

9. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

You And Me Against the World Of German Pronouns

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

Congratulations – you mostly know them already!

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

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

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

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

1. Opening Up The Cases

Introducing Yourself

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

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

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

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

         Her brother gave me the book.

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

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

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

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

2. German Pronouns in the Nominative

Woman Looking in Rearview Mirror

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s see some examples!

Sie ist Taxifahrerin.

She is a taxi driver.

Sie sind ein guter Lehrer.

You’re a good teacher.

Sie haben heute viel zu tun.

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

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

Ich wohne in Belgien.

I live in Belgium.

Hast du Hunger?

Are you hungry?

3. Accusative German Pronouns

One Man Helping Another Climb Mountain

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

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

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

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

Hast du ihn gesehen?

Did you see him?

Ich werde euch nicht beraten.

I won’t give you (plural) advice.

Magst du mich?

Do you like me?

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

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

4. Dative German Pronouns

A Weekly Planner

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

Können Sie mir helfen?

Can you help me?

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

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

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

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

Wir wünschen Ihnen einen schönen Tag.

We wish you a good day.

5. Genitive Case

Basic Questions

By the way, what happened to the genitive case?

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

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

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

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

MasculineFeminineNeutralPlural
Nominativedieserdiesediesesdiese
Accusativediesendiesediesesdiese
Dativediesemdieserdiesemdiesen
Genitivediesesdieserdiesesdieser

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

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

Kennen Sie diesen Mann?

Do you know this man?

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

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

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

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

Sie wäscht sich täglich.

She is washing herself everyday.

6. Conclusion 

Improve Listening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Throw Out Your Talking Clock: Telling Time in German

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Did you know that Germans aren’t that punctual?

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Asking Others for the Time

Time

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

  • Entschuldigung, wie spät ist es jetzt?

“Excuse me, what time is it?”

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

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

  • Wieviel Uhr haben wir?

“What time is it?”

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

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

  • Wissen Sie, wie spät es jetzt ist?

“Do you know what time it is now?”

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

2. Hours in German

Large Hourglass Against Dark Background

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

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

  • Es ist vier Uhr.

“It’s four o’clock.”

  • Jetzt ist es sieben Uhr.

“It’s seven o’clock.”

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

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

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

  • Es ist knapp drei Uhr nachmittags.

“It’s almost three p.m.”

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

  • Es ist zwei Uhr nachts.

“It’s two at night (two a.m.).”

3. Minutes and Seconds

Man Pointing to Wristwatch

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

  • Es ist zwei Uhr zwanzig.

“It’s two-twenty.”

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

  • Es ist achtzehn fünfzig.

“It’s 18:50 (six-fifty p.m.).”

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

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

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

  • Es ist Viertel vor sechs.

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

  • Es ist Viertel nach zehn.

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

Sometimes, you may hear people just saying:

  • Viertel zwölf.

    “Quarter twelve.”

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

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

  • Ein Viertel der Torte

“A quarter of the cake”

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

  • Drei viertel zwölf

“Three quarters of twelve”

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

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

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

4. Describing Lengths of Time

Woman Thinking about Length of Time

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

  • Wie lange wird es dauern?

“How long is it going to take?”

  • Wie lange bis wir fertig sind?

“How long until we’re finished?”

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

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

  • Es wird ungefähr ein paar Stunden dauern.

“It will take about a couple of hours.”

  • Es wird wahrscheinlich zwei bis drei Minuten dauern.

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

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

Or is it?

5. When Did it Happen?

Improve Listening

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

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

  • Das Konzert findet um zwölf Uhr statt.

“The concert will take place at twelve.”

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

  • Wann ist das geschehen?

“When did it happen?”

  • Es hätte um acht Uhr zwanzig anfangen sollen.

“It should have started at eight-twenty.”

6. International Time in German-Speaking Countries

Airplane Taking Off from Airport on Clear Day

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

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

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

  • Hat Belgien die selbe Zeitzone als Österreich?

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

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

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

  • Wie spät ist es in Brasilien?

“What’s the time in Brazil?”

7. Time in German Idioms

Basic Questions

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

  • Zeit ist Geld.

“Time is money.”

  • Der frühe Vogel fängt den Wurm.

“The early bird catches the worm.”

  • Besser spät als nie.

“Better late than never.”

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

  • Kommt Zeit, kommt Rat.

“Time passes and advice comes.”

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

  • Er ist pünktlich wie die Maurer.

“He’s as punctual as a builder.”

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

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

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

8. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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

Happy German learning! 🙂

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Directions in German: Stay On the Straight and Narrow



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Where is it?


Asking Directions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The same with this phrase:

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

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

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

2. How far is it?


Blurred Road

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Ist es weit?
    “Is it far?”

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

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

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

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

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

Or distance expressions:

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

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

3. Giving Directions in German


Directions in German

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4. Get out your map of Germany


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5. Driving directions in German


Driving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Conclusion


Basic Questions

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

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

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

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

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

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

Build Your Vocabulary with These 100 German Nouns

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What’s that word?

It’s on the tip of your tongue!

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

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

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


1. Nouns You Need for Travel

Nouns 1

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

1. der Bahnhof — train station

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

2. der Koffer — suitcase

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

3. das Gepäck — baggage; luggage

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

4. das Ticket — ticket (usually for planes)

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

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

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

6. die Jugendherberge — hostel

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

7. das Zimmer — room

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

8. der Zug — train

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

9. die Plattform — platform

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

10. das Geld — money

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

11. die Tür — door

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

12. das Essen — food

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

13. die Straße — street

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

14. der Flug — flight

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

15. die Haltestelle — bus stop

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

16. der Schlüssel — key

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

2. Relaxing at Home

Family at Home wwtching TV

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

17. der Löffel — spoon

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

18. die Gabel — fork

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

19. das Messer — knife

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

20. das Kissen — pillow

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

21. die Decke — blanket

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

22. das Fenster — window

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

23. der Tisch — table

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

24. der Sessel — armchair

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

25. der Fernseher — television

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

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

3. Big Ideas

Nouns 2

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

26. die Gier — greed

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

27. die Zusammenarbeit — collaboration; cooperation; teamwork

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

28. die Freiheit — freedom

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

29. der Frieden — peace

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

30. die Regierung — government

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

31. der Hass — hatred

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

32. die Liebe — love

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

33. die Umweltverschmutzung — pollution

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

34. die Bildung — education

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

4. In the Classroom

Doing Schoolwork

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

35. der Taschenrechner — calculator

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

36. das Papier — paper

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

37. der Stift — pencil

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

38. der Klebstoff — glue

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

39. das Pult — lectern

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

40. das Klassenzimmer — classroom

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

41. die Hausaufgaben — homework

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

42. der Aufsatz — essay

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

5. University Life

Nouns 3

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

43. die Veranstaltung — event; session

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

44. die Burschenschaft — fraternity

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

45. der Professor — professor

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

46. die Sprechstunde — office hour

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

47. die Bewerbung — application

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

48. die Vorlesung — lecture

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

49. die Mensa — dining hall

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

50. das Stipendium — scholarship

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

6. Hard at Work

People Discussing Graphs and Charts

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

51. die Frist — deadline

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

52. der Kopierer — copier

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

53. die Kaffeepause — coffee break

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

54. das Gehalt — salary

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

55. der Gehaltsscheck — paycheck

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

56. der Vertrag — contract

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

7. Sit Down for a Meal

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

57. das Fleisch — meat

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

58. die Kartoffel — potato

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

59. der Kohl — cabbage

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

60. die Wurst — sausage

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

61. die Pommes — french fries

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

62. der Salat — salad

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

63. das Eis — ice cream

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

64. der Sekt — sparkling wine

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

65. das Mineralwasser — mineral water

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

66. die Schorle — spritzer

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

67. das Brot — bread

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

68. der Essig — vinegar

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

8. All About You

(Woman Stretching After Workout

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

69. die Zunge — tongue

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

70. das Bein — leg

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

71. der Knöchel — ankle

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

72. das Auge — eye

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

73. die Wange — cheek

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

74. der Ellenbogen — elbow

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

75. die Achselhöhle — armpit

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

76. das Knie — knee

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

77. der Hals — neck; throat

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

9. Your Clothes and Accessories

Nouns 4

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

78. die Halskette — necklace

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

79. das Armband — bracelet

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

80. der Gürtel — belt

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

81. der Schuh — shoe

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

82. das Handy — cell phone

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

83. die Kopfhörer — earphones

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

84. das Ladegerät — charger

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

85. die Krawatte — necktie

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

10. What Do You Do?



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

86. der Praktikant — intern

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

87. der Chef — boss

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

88. der Schriftsteller — writer

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

89. der Taxifahrer — taxi driver

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

90. der Musiker — musician

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

91. der Mechaniker — mechanic

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

92. der Zimmermann — carpenter

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

93. der Klempner — plumber

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

94. der Filialleiter — branch manager

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

95. der Kassierer — cashier

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

96. der Koch — cook

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

97. der Spion — spy

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

98. der Seeräuber — pirate

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

99. der Freiwillige — volunteer

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

100. der Straßenkehrer — street cleaner

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

11. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

Happy German learning!

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Learn the Best Compliments in German for Any Occasion

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. The Importance of Compliments

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

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

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

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

2. Compliments you always want to hear

Smiling cat toys

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

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

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

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

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

Five hands giving a thumbs up against a cloudy blue sky

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

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

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

Girl kissing her laughing beau on the cheek

2- Great job! – Großartige Arbeit!

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

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

Smiling woman giving a thumbs-up

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

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

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

Man and woman in an interview

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

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

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

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

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

Pair of people enjoying themselves at a party

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

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

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

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

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

Pair of women hugging and laughing

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

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

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

Man showing off a jacket in front of a camera

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

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

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

8- You’re smart! – Du bist schlau!

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

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

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

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

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

Young man holding a solved rubik's cube

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

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

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

Two dogs running together, holding one stick

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Compliments

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

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

Man in a kitchen, tossing food in a wok

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

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

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

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

Well-dressed woman drinking red wine in a restaurant

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

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

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

Woman in a billowing red dress

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

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

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

Positive feelings

3. Conclusion

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

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

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

Here are a few more ways you can practice daily:

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

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

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

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Get Angry in German with Phrases for Any Situation!

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

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

1. German phrases to use when you’re angry

Complaints

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Angry Blonde Girl Holding Up Her Hands to Warn Someone Away

2- I’m upset. – Ich bin verärgert.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5- That’s enough. – Es reicht.

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

Angry School Mistress Shaking a Ruler As If Reprimanding

6- Stop it. – Hör auf.

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

7- Cut it out. – Hör auf damit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10- What?! – Was?!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

14- Shut up. – Halt den Mund.

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

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

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

15- So what? – Na und?

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

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

2. Feeling negative in German

Negative Feelings

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

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

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

3. Conclusion

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

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

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

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

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Essential Vocabulary for Life Events in German

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

1. Life Events

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

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

1- Birthday – Geburtstag

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

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

Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag

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

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

2- Buy – kaufen

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

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

3- Retire – in Rente gehen

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

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

4- Graduation – Abschluss

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

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

5- Promotion – Beförderung

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

6- Anniversary – Jubiläum

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

7- Funeral – Beerdigung

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

8- Travel – reisen

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

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

9- Graduate – absolvieren

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

10- Wedding – Hochzeit

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

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

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

11- Move – umziehen

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

12- Be born – geboren

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

13- Get a job – Arbeit finden

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

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

14- Die – sterben

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

15- Home – Zuhause

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

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

Large, Double-Story House with Lit Windows.

16- Job – Job

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

17- Birth – Geburt

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

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

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

18- Engaged – verloben

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

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

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

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

19- Marry – heiraten

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

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

2. Marriage Proposal Lines

Marriage Proposal Lines

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

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

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

3. Talking About Age

Talking about Age

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

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

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

4. Conclusion

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

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

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

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Talk About the Weather in German Like a Native

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

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

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

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Table of Contents

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

1. Talking about the weather in Germany

Talking About Weather

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

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

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

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

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

3- Fluffy cloud – flauschige Wolke

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

Fluffy White Cloud in Clear Blue Sky

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

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

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

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

Heavy Rain in a Park

6- Flood – Überschwemmung

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

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

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

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

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

Two Men on Sailboat

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

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

10- A rainy day – ein regnerischer Tag

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

11- Scenic rainbow – malerischer Regenbogen

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

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

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

Electric Storm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hikers on Mountain with Clear Sky

16- Light drizzle – leichter Nieselregen

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

17- Temperature on a thermometer – Temperatur auf einem Thermometer

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

18- Humid – feucht

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

Humidity in Tropical Forest

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

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

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

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

21- Windy – windig

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

Leaves and Umbrella in the Wind

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

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

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

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

24- Fog – Nebel

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

Fog on a Pond with Ducks

25- Hurricane – Wirbelsturm

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

Palm Trees in a Hurricane

26- Killer tornado – Todestornado

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

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

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

Cloudy Weather on Beach with Beach Huts

28- Below freezing temperatures – Temperaturen unter dem Gefrierpunkt

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

Woman with Winter Gear in Freezing Weather

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

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

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

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

Thermometer Below Freezing Point

31- Waiting to clear up – dass es aufheitert

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

32- Avoid the extreme heat – der extremen Hitze ausweichen

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

Hand Holding a Melting Ice Cream

33- Morning frost – Morgenfrost

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

34- Rain shower – Regenschauer

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

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

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

Snow in the Park at Night

36- Severe thunderstorm – starkes Gewitter

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

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

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

38- Large hailstones – große Hagelkörner

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

Large Hailstones on a Wooden Floor

39- Rolling thunder – grollender Donner

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

40- Sleet – Schneeregen

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

2. Words for the first day of spring

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

Spring Vocabulary

3. Do You Know the Essential Summer Vocabulary?

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

Four Adults Playing on the Beach in the Sand

4. Must-Know Autumn vocabulary

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

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

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

Autumn Phrases

5. Winter

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

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

Skier Sitting in the Snow

6. GermanPod101 can prepare you for any season.

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

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

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100 of the Best German Adjectives for Any Place & Time

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Ever felt a little lost for words when speaking German?

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

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

That sentence can’t even get off the ground.

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

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

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

Let’s have a look.

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Table of Contents

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

1. A Quick Overview of German Adjectives

Improve Pronunciation

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

So how do German adjectives work?

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

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

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

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

  • Meine Mutter ist alt.
    My mother is old.

Same word, no ending. No problem!

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

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

2. Top 100 German Adjectives List

Most Common Adjectives

1- German Colors Adjectives: Describing Colors

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

1. weiß – white

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

2. schwarz – black

Ist dein Auto schwarz?
Is your car black?

3. blau – blue

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

4. rot – red

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

5. gelb – yellow

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

6. grün – green

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

7. braun – brown

Magst du braune Schuhe?
Do you like brown shoes?

8. rosa – pink

Ihre Haare sind rosa.
Her hair is pink.

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

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

10. grau – gray

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

2- German Adjectives for Food: Describing Taste

Roast Goose Meal

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

11. scharf – spicy

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

12. würzig – spicy, with a lot of spices

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

13. süß – sweet

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

14. lecker – tasty

Das ist richtig lecker!
That’s really tasty!

15. frisch – fresh

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

16. gebraten – fried

Gebratene Eier sind gesund.
Fried eggs are healthy.

17. stinkend – stinky

Magst du stinkenden Tofu?
Do you like stinky tofu?

18. salzig – salty

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

19. bitter – bitter

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

20. sauer – sour

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

21. roh – raw

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

3- German Adjectives for Personality

Man Holding Completed Rubik’s Cube

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

22. offen – open-hearted; personable

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

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

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

24. hilfsbereit – helpful; ready to help

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

25. geduldig – patient

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

26. klug – clever

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

27. böse – evil

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

28. egoistisch – selfish; egoistic

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

29. faul – lazy

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

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

Braves Kind!
Wonderful child!

31. gefährlich – dangerous

Es ist zu gefährlich!
It’s too dangerous!

4- German Adjectives: Feelings & Emotions

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

32. genervt – annoyed

Warum bist du genervt?
Why are you annoyed?

33. froh – happy

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

34. müde – tired

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

35. hungrig – hungry

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

36. traurig – sad

Was für ein trauriger Film!
What a sad movie!

37. gespannt – excited

Seid ihr alle gespannt?
Are you all excited?

38. übel – nauseated; queasy

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

39. bequem – comfortable

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

40. wütend – angry; furious

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

5- German Adjectives for Describing Nationality

Flags of Many Countries

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

41. deutsch – German

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

42. französisch – French

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

43. dänisch – Danish

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

44. ungarisch – Hungarian

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

45. chinesisch – Chinese

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

46. südafrikanisch – South African

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

47. mexikanisch – Mexican

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

48. kanadisch – Canadian

Haben Sie kanadischen Speck?
Do you have Canadian bacon?

6- German Adjectives for Describing Time

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

49. schnell – fast

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

50. langsam – slow

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

51. früh – early

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

52. spät – late

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

53. pünktlich – punctual; on time

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

7- German Adjectives for Describing Appearance (People)

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

54. glatzköpfig – bald

Der Mann war glatzköpfig.
The man was bald.

55. dick – fat

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

56. dünn – thin

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

57. reich – rich

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

58. arm – poor

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

59. groß – tall

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

60. alt – old

Wie alt bist du?
How old are you?

61. jung – young

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

62. schön – beautiful

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

8- German Adjectives for Describing Appearance (Things)

Reading

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

63. teuer – expensive

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

64. billig – cheap

Trägst du billige Kleidung?
Do you wear cheap clothes?

65. breit – wide; broad

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

66. lang – long

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

67. schwer – heavy

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

68. leicht – light

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

69. dick – thick

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

70. eng – narrow

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

71. hier – here

Bist du schon hier?
Are you here yet?

72. da – there

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

73. dort – there (far away)

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

74. hell – bright

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

75. dunkel – dark

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

9- German Weather Adjectives: Describing Weather

Snow in Germany

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

76. windig – windy

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

77. heiß – hot

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

78. kalt – cold

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

79. sonnig – sunny

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

80. bewölkt – cloudy

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

81. neblig – foggy

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

82. warm – warm

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

10- German Adjectives for Describing Touch

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

83. hart – solid; fixed

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

84. weich – soft; smooth

Das Bett ist weich.
The bed is soft.

85. rutschig – slippery

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

86. brüchig – brittle; fragile

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

87. gefroren – frozen

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

88. geschmolzen – melted

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

11- German Adjectives for Describing Concepts

Success and Failure Written on a Chalkboard

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

89. wichtig – important

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

90. populär – popular

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

91. leicht – easy

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

92. schwer – difficult

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

93. kompliziert – complicated

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

94. richtig – correct

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

95. falsch – false

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

96. praktisch – practical; convenient

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

97. identisch – identical

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

98. unterschiedlich – different

Sind sie überhaupt unterschiedlich?
Are they different at all?

99. genau – exact

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

100. ungefähr – about; roughly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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