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Extensive Guide to German Conjunctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In this lesson, you’ll find the following:

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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


1. Coordinating vs. Subordinating Conjunctions

Sentence Patterns

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. German Correlative Conjunctions

A Flask of Glue and a Drop of Glue.

Und (C)

Meaning: And

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

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

Sowie (C/S)

Meaning: As well as / As soon as

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

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

Wie (S)

Meaning: How / As … as

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

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

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

Sowohl… als auch (S)

Meaning: As well as

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

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


3. Conjunctions to Express Condition

A Person Holding a Bottle of Hair Conditioner.

Wenn (S)

Meaning: If / When

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

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

Falls (S)

Meaning: In case / If

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

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

Sofern (S)

Meaning: As long as

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

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


4. Conjunctions to Express Cause

Improve Listening

Darum (C)

Meaning: Therefore

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

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

Weil (S)

Meaning: Because

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

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

Da (S)

Meaning: Because

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

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

Denn (C)

Meaning: Because

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

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


5. Conjunctions to Express Opposition

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

Aber (C)

Meaning: But

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

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

Sondern (C)

Meaning: But / But rather

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

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

Doch (C)

Meaning: However

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

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

Obwohl (C)

Meaning: Although

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

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


6. Conjunctions to Express Purpose

Listening Part 2

Damit (S)

Meaning: So that

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

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

Dass (S)

Meaning: That

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

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

Um… zu (S)

Meaning: In order to

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

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


7. More Conjunctions: German Conjunctions Tables

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

A Baby Learning to Crawl.

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

1- German Coordinating Conjunctions Chart

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

2- German Subordinating Conjunctions Chart

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

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

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


8. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn German Conjunctions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Top German Etiquette and Manners

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Table of Contents

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


1. Do’s and Don’ts for Dining

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

A Romantic Dinner with a Woman and a Man Drinking Wine

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

Hygiene Words

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

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

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

Vocabulary List

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

2- Do: Say Prost and make eye contact.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

4- Do: Say Guten Appetit.

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

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

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


2. German Social Etiquette in Public Places

Thanks

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

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

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

  • Ordnung muss sein
    “There must be order”

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Entschuldigung
    “Excuse me.”

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


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

Bad Phrases

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

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

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

1- Do: Say “Hello” to everybody.

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

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

2- Don’t make the polnischer Abgang.

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

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

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

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

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

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


4. German Guest Etiquette: Manners When Visiting Another House

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

1- Do: Use the formal Sie first.

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you want to address someone in a formal manner:

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

If you want to offer the du, say:

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

2- Do: Make a small gift.

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

  • Chocolate
  • A bottle of wine
  • Some beers

3- Don’t choose the wrong topics.

Showing Two War Machines

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

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

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

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

In general, be careful with potentially sensitive topics.


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

A Metro Passing by Really Fast

1- Don’t: Listen to loud music.

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

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

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

2- Do: Offer your seat.

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

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

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

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

To offer your seat, you can say:

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

Point to your seat while saying this.

3- Let other people leave the train first.

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

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


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

Business

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

1- Do: Bring your own cake.

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

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

2- Don’t: Be late.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


7. How to be a Good Part of German Society

1- Do: Recycle your garbage.

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

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

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

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

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

2- Don’t: Open closed doors unasked.

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

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

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


8. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Learn More German

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

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

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

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

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

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Days of the Week in German and More - Guide 2019

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

You will have to confirm a lot of deadlines!

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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

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

1- Writing Dates in German

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

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

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

2- Reading Dates in German

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

01.10.2019

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

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


2. How to Say the Years

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

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

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

              2019 is read like zweitausendneunzehn.

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

              1901 is read like neunzehnhunderteins.

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

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


3. How to Say the Months in German

Months

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

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

A Calendar Where the Sheets Are Changing Fast.

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

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


4. How to Say the Days

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

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

10 + 2 = 12

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

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


5. How to Say the Days of the Week

Weekdays

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

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

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

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

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


6. Time Units

Numbers

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

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


7. Questions and Answers about Dates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


8. German Cultural Insights and Special Days

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Save yourself a spot today!

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Learn to Say “Father” in German and Moreover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. Family in German - Die Familie

Family Words

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. List of Closest Family Members + Basic Sentence Patterns

Family

1- General Terms for German Immediate Family

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

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

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

2- Talking about Family Members

There are usually three situations when talking about family:

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

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

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

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

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


3. More Family and Endearment Terms

Parent Phrases

1- German Extended Family

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

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

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

2- Endearment Terms

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

A Cute Kitten.

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

1. Adding an i

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

Here are some examples:

Mama -> Mami
“mother” -> “mom/mommy”

Mutter -> Mutti
“mother” -> “mom”

Papa -> Papi
“father” -> “daddy”

Vater -> Vati
“father” -> “dad”

Opa -> Opi
“grandmother” -> “granny”

Oma -> Omi
“grandfather” -> “grandpa”

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

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

2. Adding chen to the end of the word

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

Good examples are:

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

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

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


4. How to Talk about Family

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

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

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


5. Cultural Insights in a German Family

Family Quotes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Four Arms Held Up and All Showing the Thumbs Up.

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

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

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

Save yourself a spot today!

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

Guide to German Travel Phrases for Tourists and Travelers

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

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

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

Log


1. Why Should You Learn German?

Preparing to Travel

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

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

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


2. German Pronunciation Specialities

Airplane Phrases

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

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

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


3. Greetings

Survival Phrases

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

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


4. Basic Questions and Their Perfect Answers

Basic Questions

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

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


5. Restaurants and Ordering Food

A Cook Seasoning a Plate with Food.

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

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


6. At the Hotel

A Couple at the Front Desk of the Reception.

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


7. Locations and Transportation

World Map

1- Asking for and Giving Directions

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

2- Transportation

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

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


8. Working Through Communication Barriers

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

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

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

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


9. How GermanPod101 Can Help You Master Urgent Travel Situations

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

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

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

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

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Everything You Could Possibly Ask About German Numbers

German Numbers

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

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

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

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

Table of Contents

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

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1. Cardinal Numbers

German Numbers

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

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

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

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

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

Well, look at thirteen through nineteen:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


2. Writing Numbers Down

(Woman Writing Things Down

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

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

  • 35 000/35.000
    35,000

And it’s even called das Komma!

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

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

  • €13,45
    €13.45


3. Special Numbers with Special Sounds

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

Pilots in Airplane

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

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


4. Ordinal Numbers

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

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

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

That’s right, they all end in -te!

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

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

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

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

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


5. Once, Twice, Thrice

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

  • Man lebt nur einmal.
    You only live once.

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

  • Fünfmal so breit.
    Five times as wide.

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

  • Einmal Brezel, bitte.
    One pretzel, please.

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


6. Fractions and More (Easy) Math

Math Equation on Blackboard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


7. Lemme Get Your Number

Man and Woman Exchanging Numbers on Date

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

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

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

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

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


8. German Numbers and Dates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • 18. Jahrhundert
    18th century

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


9. Checking the Time

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

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

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

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

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

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

Man Studying Late at Night

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

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

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

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

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


10. Numbers When Shopping

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

Store Selling Pastries

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

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

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

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

Or:

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

Guten Appetit! (Enjoy your meal!)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Saying Sorry in German: How You Can Make Everything Right

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

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

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

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

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

Now, the big question:

What have you done?
Was hast du gemacht?

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

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

Spilled Ice Cream

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

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

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

Somebody may approach you and say:

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

To which you can simply reply:

- Entschuldigung!
- Excuse me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

- Ups! Entschuldigung!
- Oops! Sorry!

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

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

But what if the mishap was slightly larger?


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

Woman Facepalming

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

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

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

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

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

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

Or better, if you’re able to:

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

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

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

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

3 Ways to Say Sorry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Say Sorry

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Man Asking Woman for Forgiveness

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

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

The best thing to do is to apologize sincerely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Woman Sitting Alone

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Man Shrugging

No, I’m not talking about being unrepentant!

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

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

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

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

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

- Bitte schön!
- Here you go!

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


Conclusion

Apologies are complex things that rarely conform to a guide.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Language Learning Tips: How to Avoid Awkward Silences

Avoid Awkward Silences

Yes, even beginners can quickly learn conversational German well enough to carry on real conversations with native speakers. Of course, beginners won’t be able to carry a conversation the same way they could in their native language. But, just knowing a few tips like which questions to ask to keep a conversation going are all you need to speak and interact with real native speakers! But before we get to specific suggestions, let’s first take a closer look at how having real German conversations is so vital to your mastery of the language.

Learning to Carry a Conversation is Vital to Mastery of Any Language

Communicating with other people is the very point of language and conversation is almost second nature in our native tongue. For beginners or anyone learning a new language, conversations aren’t easy at all and even simple German greetings can be intimidating and awkward.

However, there are 3 vital reasons why you should learn conversational German as quickly as possible:

  • Avoid Awkward Silences: Nothing kills a conversation faster than long periods of awkward silence, so you need practice and specific strategies to avoid them.
  • Improve the Flow of Conversation to Make a Better Impression: When you know what to say to keep a conversation going, communication becomes much easier and you make a better impression on your listener.
  • Master the Language Faster: Nothing will help you learn to speak German faster and truly master the language than having real conversations with native speakers. Conversations quickly expose you to slang, cultural expressions, and vocabulary that force you to absorb and assimilate information faster than any educational setting—and that’s a great thing!

But how can you possibly have real conversations with real German people if you are just starting out?

3 Conversation Strategies for Beginners

Conversation

1. Ask Questions to Keep a Conversation Going

For beginners and even more advanced speakers, the key is to learn to ask questions to keep a conversation going. Of course, they can’t be just random questions or else you may confuse the listener. But, by memorizing a few key questions and the appropriate time to use them, you can easily carry a conversation with minimal vocabulary or experience. And remember, the more German conversations you have, the quicker you will learn and master the language!

2. Learn Core Vocabulary Terms as Quickly as Possible

You don’t need to memorize 10,000’s of words to learn conversational German. In fact, with just a couple hundred German words you could have a very basic German conversation. And by learning maybe 1,000-2,000 words, you could carry a conversation with a native speaker about current events, ordering in restaurants, and even getting directions.

3. Study Videos or Audio Lessons that You Can Play and Replay Again and Again

If you want to know how to carry a conversation in German, then you need exposure to native speakers—and the more the better. Ideally, studying video or audio lessons is ideal because they provide contextualized learning in your native language and you can play them again and again until mastery.

GermanPod101 Makes it Easier and More Convenient Than Ever to Learn Conversational German

Learning German

For more than 10 years, GermanPod101 has been helping students learn to speak German by creating the world’s most advanced online language learning system. Here are just a few of the specific features that will help you learn conversational German fast using our proven system:

  • The Largest Collection of HD Video & Audio Lessons from Real German Instructors: GermanPod101 instructors have created hundreds of video and audio lessons that you can play again and again. And the best part is: They don’t just teach you German vocabulary and grammar, they are designed to help you learn to speak German and teach you practical everyday topics like shopping, ordering, etc!
  • Pronunciation Tools: Use this feature to record and compare yourself with native speakers to quickly improve your pronunciation and fluency!
  • 2000 Common German Words: Also known as our Core List, these 2,000 words are all you need to learn to speak fluently and carry a conversation with a native speaker!

In all, more than 20 advanced learning tools help you quickly build vocabulary and learn how to carry a conversation with native speakers—starting with your very first lesson.

Conclusion

Although it may seem intimidating for a beginner, the truth is that it is very easy to learn conversational German. By learning a few core vocabulary terms and which questions to ask to keep a conversation going, just a little practice and exposure to real German conversations or lessons is all it really takes. GermanPod101 has created the world’s largest online collection of video and audio lessons by real instructors plus loads of advanced tools to help you learn to speak German and carry a conversation quickly.

Act now and we’ll also include a list of the most commonly used questions to keep a conversation going so you can literally get started immediately!

How To Say ‘Thank you’ in German

How to Say Thank You in German

In most cultures, it is custom to express gratitude in some way or another. The dictionary defines gratitude as follows: it is “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. Giving a sincere, thankful response to someone’s actions or words is often the ‘glue’ that keeps relationships together. This is true in most societies! Doing so in a foreign country also shows your respect and appreciation for the culture. Words have great power - use these ones sincerely and often!

Table of Contents

  1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in German
  2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes
  3. Infographic & Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You
  4. Video Lesson: ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages
  5. How GermanPod101 Can Help You

So, how do you say ‘Thank you’ in German? You can learn easily! Below, GermanPod101 brings you perfect translations and pronunciation as you learn the most common ways German speakers say ‘Thanks’ in various situations.

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1. 12 Ways to say ‘Thank you’ in German

1- Thank you.

Danke.

The magical words that can bring a smile to any face. For one day, truly mean it whenever you say these words, and see how this lifts your spirit too!

2- That’s very kind of you.

Das ist sehr nett von dir/Ihnen (informal/formal).

This phrase is appropriate when someone clearly goes out of their way to give good service, or to offer you a kindness.

3- Thanks for your kind words!

Danke für deine/ihre netten Worte!

Someone paid you a compliment and made you feel good? That is kind of him/her, so express your gratitude!

4- Thank you for coming today.

Danke, dass du heute gekommen bist.

This welcoming phrase should be part of your arsenal if you’re conducting more formal meetings with German speakers. If you’re hosting a party, this is also a good phrase when you greet your German guests!

5- Thank you for your consideration.

Danke für deine/ihre Berücksichtigung.

This is a more formal, almost solemn way to thank someone for their thoughtfulness and sensitivity towards you. It is also suitable to use when a native speaker has to consider something you submit, like a job application, a project or a proposal. You are thanking them, in essence, for time and effort they are about to, or have spent on your submission.

6- Thanks a lot!

Danke vielmals!

This means the same as ‘Thank you’, but with energy and enthusiasm added! It means almost the same as ‘thank you so much’ in German. Use this in an informal setting with your German friends or teachers.

7- Teachers like you are not easy to find.

Lehrer wie Sie sind nicht leicht zu finden.

Some phrases are compliments, which express gratitude by inference. This is one of them. If you’re particularly impressed with your GermanPod101 teacher, this is an excellent phrase to memorize!

8- Thank you for spending time with us.

Vielen Dank für die gemeinsame Zeit.

Any host at a gathering with German speakers, such as a meeting or a party, should have this under his/her belt! Use it when you’re saying goodbye or busy closing a meeting. It could also be another lovely way to thank your German language teacher for her time.

9- Thank you for being patient and helping me improve.

Vielen Dank für Ihre Geduld und die Unterstützung, mich zu verbessern.

This phrase is another sure way to melt any formal or informal German teacher’s heart! Teaching is not easy, and often a lot of patience is required from the teacher. Thank him/her for it! It’s also a good phrase to use if you work in Germany, and want to thank your trainer or employer. You will go a long way towards making yourself a popular employee - gratitude is the most attractive trait in any person!

10- You’re the best teacher ever!

Sie sind der beste Lehrer den es gibt!

This is also an enthusiastic way to thank your teacher by means of a compliment. It could just make their day!

11- Thank you for the gift.

Danke für das Geschenk.

This is a good phrase to remember when you’re the lucky recipient of a gift. Show your respect and gratitude with these words.

12- I have learned so much thanks to you.

Ich habe so viel durch sie gelernt

What a wonderful compliment to give a good teacher! It means they have succeeded in their goal, and you’re thankful for it.

2. Video Lesson: Learn to Say ‘Thank You’ in 3 Minutes

In Germany manners and etiquette are very important. “Please,” “Thank You,” and “You’re Welcome” are parts of everyday interactions and should be used often. In most cases a simple danke will suffice however just like in English there are many ways to say thank you.

1- Dankeschön.
In Germany “Thank you.” is dankeschön. The first word of the phrase danke means thanks. This is followed by schön, which in German is “beautiful”. Now in German there are other ways to express one’s gratitude. There are more formal and more casual ways to do this.

2- Danke.
Let’s take a look at the casual way. In German the casual way of expressing gratitude, the equivalent of “Thanks” is danke. This phrase is used among friends, in other casual situations, continue on with more examples if possible.

3- Vielen Dank.
For very special occasions when someone goes above and beyond the call of being kind, when someone is extremely generous, or for any other time you’re extremely grateful, we have the following phrases to express extreme gratitude: The first one is vielen Dank or “many thanks”. The first word vielen means “many” in English.

4- Herzlichen Dank.
Next is Herzlichen Dank, which means “heart felt thanks” in English.

5- Ich Danke Ihnen.
In a formal situation it is important to address people in the formal Sie and Ihnen forms. This is especially important if you don’t know the person, in business settings, or any case when more distance is required. A good example would be meeting a professor, an employer, or in a business meeting. In these situations a simple danke is by no means , however using the formal Ich danke Ihnen is more common and more appropriate. Now let’s go over that one once more. The first word Ich is German for “I”. Then danke, and the last word Ihnen which is the formal form for the English “you”. To review the formal form of “thank you” is Ich danke Ihnen. These phrases are important and easy to use everyday. So wherever you go in Germany always remember to say danke.

Cultural Insights
It’s always a good thing to say danke or dankeschön after any helpful interaction. In formal situations because of the formal pronouns Sie and Ihnen the best way to say thank you is Ich danke Ihnen. You can use this form anytime you are not familiar with the person you are thanking. The German language has a set of vowels that we don’t have in English. These vowels are topped with two points above the letter called an Umlaut. We see this in the vowel ö in schön. You may be familiar with the song Danke Schoen by Wayne Newton where the word schön is mispronounced “shane” in order to rhyme with pain. The correct way to pronounce this vowel is with your lips slightly more closed like you’re about to whistle. The closest sound in English would be the word “earn”.

On the run to Germany? Wait! You can’t go without some basic language phrases under your belt! Especially if you’re heading to meet your prospective employer! Either in person or online, knowing how to say ‘Thank you’ in the German language will only improve their impression of you! GermanPod101 saves you time with this short lesson that nevertheless packs a punch. Learn to say ‘Thank you’ in German in no time!

3. Audio Lesson: Survival Phrases - Thank You

5 Ways to Say Thank You in German

Perhaps you think it’s unimportant that you don’t know what ‘Thank you’ is in German, or that it’s too difficult a language to learn. Yet, as a traveler or visitor, you will be surprised at how far you can go using a little bit of German in Germany!

Click Here to Listen to the Free Audio Lesson!

At GermanPod101, we offer you a few ways of saying ‘Thank you’ in German that you have no excuse not knowing, as they’re so simple and easy to learn. The lesson is geared to aid your ‘survival’ in formal and informal situations in Germany, so don’t wait! You will never have to google ‘How do you say thanks in German’ again…!

4. ‘Thank You’ in 31 Languages

For the global traveler in a hurry, here are 31 ways to say ‘Thank you’! These are the first words you need to learn in any foreign language - it is sure to smooth your way with native speakers by showing your gratitude for services rendered, and your respect for their culture! Learn and know how to correctly say ‘Thank you’ in 31 different languages in this short video.

5. Why would GermanPod101 be the perfect choice to learn German?

However, you need not stop at ‘Thank you’ in German - why not learn to speak the language?! You have absolutely nothing to lose. Research has shown that learning a new language increases intelligence and combats brain-aging. Also, the ability to communicate with native speakers in their own language is an instant way to make friends and win respect! Or imagine you know how to write ‘Thank you’ to that special German friend after a date…he/she will be so impressed!

Thank You

GermanPod101 Has Special Lessons, Tools and Resources to Teach You How to Say Thank You and Other Key Phrases

With more than a decade of experience behind us, we have taught thousands of satisfied users to speak foreign languages. How do we do this? First, we take the pain out of learning! At GermanPod101, students are assisted as they master vocabulary, pronunciation, and conversation through state-of-the-art and fun online learning methods. A library replete with learning resources allows for you to learn at your own pace and in your own space! Resources include thousands of video and audio recordings, downloadable PDF lessons and plenty of learning apps for your mobile devices. Each month, we add benefits with FREE bonuses and gifts to improve your experience.

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We accommodate all levels and types of learners, from Absolute Beginner to Advanced, and GermanPod101 is free for anyone to sign up. However, you can choose to fast track your fluency with lesson customization and increased interactive learning and practicing. Upgrade to Premium, or Premium PLUS to enhance your experience and greatly expedite your learning. With this type of assistance, and pleasurable effort on your part, you will speak German in a very short period of time!

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Best of all is that you’re never alone! We believe that practice is the holy grail of learning any new language, and we gear our courses to ensure lots of it. Enroll with us, and you gain immediate access to our lively forum where we meet and greet, and discuss your burning questions. Our certified teachers are friendly and helpful, and you are very likely to practice your first ‘Thanks!’ in German on him/her, AND mean it! Hurry up, and sign up now - you will thank us for it.

How to Start Thinking in German

Learn 4 tools and techniques to stop translating in your head and start thinking in German

Going through German lessons is enough to get by and learn the basics of German, but to truly become fluent you need to be able to think in German. This will allow you to have conversations with ease, read smoothly, and comprehensively understand natives. To do this, you need to go beyond just completing daily or weekly lessons.

We naturally translate in our heads because it’s viewed as the easiest way to learn the definitions needed when learning a language. This way of learning can actually hinder your skills and fluency later on. If your brain has to make neural connections between the word you’re learning, what it means in your native tongue, and the physical object the connection will not be nearly as strong. When you bypass the original translation between German and your native language then there is a more basic and strong connection between just the German vocabulary word and the tangible object.

start thinking in German

In this blog post, you will learn the 4 important techniques to easily and naturally begin to speculate about the daily occurrences in your life. The best part is all of these techniques are supported and can be achieved through GermanPod101.com.

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1. Surround yourself with German

Surround Yourself

By surrounding yourself with German constantly you will completely immerse yourself in the language. Without realizing it you’ll be learning pronunciation, sentence structures, grammar, and new vocabulary. You can play music in the background while you’re cooking or have a German radio station on while you study. Immersion is a key factor with this learning process because it is one of the easiest things to do, but very effective. Even if you are not giving the program your full attention you will be learning.

One great feature of GermanPod101.com is the endless podcasts that are available to you. You can even download and listen to them on the go. These podcasts are interesting and are perfect for the intention of immersion, they are easy to listen to as background noise and are interesting enough to give your full attention. Many of them contain stories that you follow as you go through the lessons which push you to keep going.

2. Learn through observation
learn through observation

Learning through observation is the most natural way to learn. Observation is how we all learned our native languages as infants and it’s a wonder why we stop learning this way. If you have patience and learn through observation then German words will have their own meanings rather than meanings in reference to your native language. Ideally, you should skip the bilingual dictionary and just buy a dictionary in German.

GermanPod101.com also offers the materials to learn this way. We have numerous video lessons which present situational usage of each word or phrase instead of just a direct translation. This holds true for many of our videos and how we teach German.

3. Speak out loud to yourself
talk to yourself

Speaking to yourself in German not only gets you in the mindset of German, but also makes you listen to how you speak. It forces you to correct any errors with pronunciation and makes it easy to spot grammar mistakes. When you speak out loud talk about what you did that day and what you plan to do the next day. Your goal is to be the most comfortable speaking out loud and to easily create sentences. Once you feel comfortable talking to yourself start consciously thinking in your head about your daily activities and what is going on around you throughout the day.

With GermanPod101.com you start speaking right away, not only this, but they have you repeat words and conversations after a native German speaker. This makes your pronunciation very accurate! With this help, you are on the fast path to making clear and complex sentences and then actively thinking about your day.

4. Practice daily

If you don’t practice daily then your progress will be greatly slowed. Many people are tempted to take the 20-30 minutes they should be practicing a day and practice 120 in one day and skip the other days. This isn’t nearly as effective because everyday you practice you are reinforcing the skills and knowledge you have learned. If you practice all in one day you don’t retain the information because the brain can realistically only focus for 30 minutes at most. If you’re studying for 120 minutes on the same subject little of the information will be absorbed. Studying everyday allows you to review material that you went over previous days and absorb a small amount of information at a time.

It’s tough to find motivation to study everyday, but GermanPod101.com can help. It’s easy to stay motivated with GermanPod101.com because we give you a set learning path, with this path we show how much progress you’ve made. This makes you stick to your goals and keep going!

Conclusion

Following the steps and having patience is the hardest part to achieving your goals, it’s not easy learning a new language. You are essentially teaching your brain to categorize the world in a completely new way. Stick with it and you can do it just remember the 4 tools I taught you today! With them, conversations, reading, and understanding will become much easier. The most important thing to remember is to use the tools that GermanPod101.com provides and you will be on your way to being fluent!

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