Dialogue - German



wirklich really
ich I
nein no
Wasser water
nur only, just
ja yes
sicher sure
Sie you (formal)
schon already
es it
sein to be
und and

Lesson Notes



The focus of this lesson is the verb "sein" (to be)
Ich bin Joe.
"I am Joe."

In this lesson we've seen three forms of the verb „sein“, „to be“. This verb is irregular in almost all languages, and German is no exception. Here are the forms we've seen;

sein – to be

ich bin – I am

es ist – it is

Sie sind – you are (formally)


We've also seen that German word order corresponds to English so far. When you're asking a question, the verb moves to the front of the sentence in German, just like in English.

Sind Sie Joe? = Are you Joe?

Sind Sie sicher? = Are you sure?

Cultural Insights

Apologizing and reacting

The most general word of apology in German is „Entschuldigung“. This literally means „apology“, and it's used in most situations:

  • when you've accidentally done something bad

  • when you want somebody's attention

  • when you want people to make room

It is NOT used when somebody tells some sad news about themselves, because that is not something you should apologize for – unless you had any stake in it.

If you need something stronger than „Entschuldigung“, use „Es tut mir leid“ (literally „it does me harm“). And you can make it even stronger by adding an adverb before the „leid“.

Es tut mir wirklich leid. - I'm really sorry.

Es tut mir sehr leid. - I'm very sorry.


To accept an apology informally, say;

Es ist (schon) okay. - It's okay (now).

Kein Problem. - No problem.

Lesson Transcript

Chuck: Chuck here. Absolute Beginners Series, Season 1, Lesson 1 – “Is Your Coffee as Strong as Your German Apologies?” Hello everyone, welcome to GermanPod101.
Judith: If you’re looking for the best place online to learn German.
Chuck: You found it.
Judith: Today we’re making a clean, fresh start. If you haven’t studied any German before, start learning today with this lesson.
Chuck: And then just study a new lesson every week and you’ll be speaking German in no time.
Judith: If you have studied German before, use these series for review or check out our intermediate series to learn more.
Chuck: In this lesson you’ll be learning how to apologize in German.
Judith: This conversation takes place during a flight to Germany.
Chuck: The conversation is between Joe and [Anke].
Judith: Joe just spilled his water on [Ankes]’s lap.
Chuck: The speakers don’t know each other. Therefore, they’re speaking formal German. Let’s listen to the conversation.
(A spills his water onto the next passenger's lap)
A: Oh! Entschuldigung! … Entschuldigung, es tut mir wirklich leid.
D: Es ist schon okay.
A: Sind Sie sicher?
D: Ja. Es ist okay.
A: Sind Sie wirklich sicher?
D (grins): Ja. Es ist nur Wasser.
A: Kein Problem?
D: Nein, kein Problem.
A: Ich bin Joe Cardigan, und Sie?
D: Ich bin Anke Löwen.
(A spills his water onto the next passenger's lap)
A: Oh! Excuse me! ... Excuse me, I'm really sorry.
D: It's okay.
A: Are you sure?
D: Yes. It's okay.
A: Are you really sure?
D (grins): Yes. It's just water.
A: No problem?
D: No, no problem.
A: I'm Joe Cardigan, and you?
D: I'm Anke Löwen.
Judith: Well, I think this lesson is perfect to teach you the word [Entschuldigung] because it appears so often. It’s the most general word of apology in German.
Chuck: This literally means “apology” and it’s used in most situations.
Judith: It is however not used when somebody tells you some sad news about themselves.
Chuck: Because that’s not something you should apologize for. Unless you has any stake in it.
Judith: If you need something stronger than [Entschuldigung] use [Es tut mir leid].
Chuck: That means literally “It does me harm.” And you can make it even stronger by adding an adverb before the leid].
Judith: [Es tut mir wirklich leid]
Chuck: “I’m really sorry.”
Judith: [Es tut mir sehr leid]
Chuck: “I’m very sorry.” So, [Judith] how do you accept an apology informally?
Judith: [Es ist okay, Es ist schon okay]
Chuck: “It’s okay.” “It’s okay already.”
Judith: [Kein Problem]
Chuck: “No problem.” Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Judith: First word. [wirklich]
Chuck: “Really”.
Judith: [wirklich, wirklich] Next, [sein]
Chuck: “To be”.
Judith: [sein, sein] Next, [es]
Chuck: “It”.
Judith: [es, es] Next, [schon]
Chuck: “Already”.
Judith: [schon, schon] Next, [Sie]
Chuck: “You” – formally.
Judith: [Sie, Sie] Next, [sicher]
Chuck: “Certain” or “sure”.
Judith: [sicher, sicher] Next, [ja]
Chuck: “Yes”.
Judith: [ja, ja] Next, [nur]
Chuck: “Only” or “just”.
Judith: [nur, nur] Next, [Wasser]
Chuck: “Water”.
Judith: [Wasser, das Wasser] This is neutral. Next, [nein]
Chuck: “No”.
Judith: [nein, nein] Next, [Ich]
Chuck: “I”.
Judith: [Ich, Ich] Next, [und]
Chuck: “And”.
Judith: [und, und]
Chuck: Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Judith: The first word we’ll look at is [Sie].
Chuck: “You” – formally. It does national formality in German just like in French, Spanish, Italian and other languages.
Judith: If you’re addressing somebody by their family name you should also call them [Sie] and you should use the corresponding form of the verbs.
Chuck: If you’re addressing somebody by their first name, you usually use another pronoun, [Du].
Judith: The formal address is the default in German, unless you’re talking to children or people who exclusively ask you to switch to an informal address. As a foreigner, you do well to address everybody as [Sie], initially.
Chuck: Though you might occasionally get some laughs if you’re younger and you did that to people about your own age.
Judith: Yeah, about student age.
Chuck: Did you learn that in a text book?
Judith: It’s worst than offending somebody by calling them [Du] when they don’t want you to.
Chuck: Yeah, that’s true.

Lesson focus

Chuck: In this lesson, we’ve seen a few forms of the verb [sein], “to be”. This verb is regular on almost all languages and German is no exception. Here’re the forms we’ve seen.
Judith: [sein]
Chuck: “To be”.
Judith: [Ich bin]
Chuck: “I am”.
Judith: [Es ist]
Chuck: “It is”.
Judith: [Sie sind]
Chuck: “You are” – formally.
Judith: I’ll repeat. [Ich bin, Es ist, Sie sind]
Chuck: We’ve also seen the German word order corresponds to English so far. When you’re asking a question, the verb is most in front of the sentence in German, just like in English.
Judith: [Sind Sie Joe]
Chuck: “Are you Joe?”
Judith: [Sind Sie sicher]?
Chuck: “Are you sure?” Well, that just about does it for today. Before we go, I want to tell you about a way to drastically improve your pronunciation.


Judith: The voice recording tool.
Chuck: Yes, the voice recording tool in the premium learning center.
Judith: Record your voice with the click of a button.
Chuck: Then play it back just as easily.
Judith: So, you record your voice then you listen to it.
Chuck: Compare it to the native speakers.
Judith: And adjust your pronunciation.
Chuck: This will help you improve your pronunciation fast.
Judith: Also, I recommend you to listen to our accent improvement lessons that we published last year. And tune in again next week for the next beginner lesson. [Bis dann]!
Chuck: See you then.