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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Anja here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common German questions.
The question for this lesson is: How do I say that something’s “great” in German?
There are two main ways to express that something’s great in German. These two words are toll and groß. Toll just means “great.” You can even use it on its own. For example, if you see something really impressive or amazing you can just say, Toll! “Great!” Or, you can use it as part of a sentence, like, Das ist so toll, meaning, “That is so great.”
The word groß by itself actually means “tall” or “big.” However, the word großartig can also mean, “great.” You can even use both toll and groß by saying, Das ist toll, wirklich großartig, which means, “That is great, really great,” or “That is awesome, really awesome,” to emphasize how amazing something is.
Let’s do some examples so you can learn how to use toll and groß correctly.
Let’s start with the sentence, Das hast du toll gemacht, meaning “You did a great job.” This is something parents might say after watching their child participate in a school musical or play in a sports tournament. However, this is a casual expression and should not be used when speaking formal German. If you want to congratulate your co-worker on a job well done, it would be better to use, Das haben Sie wirklich sehr gut gemacht, which means, “You really did that very well.”
Here’s an easy one. If you went on a trip or to an event, and someone asks you how it was, you can use the expression Es war toll, “It was great!”
Let’s do one more. The expression, Na großartig! is an ironic expression that literally means, “Well, great!” This is used when you make a mistake or knock something over and so on.
An interesting tidbit is that the word toll originally meant “crazy” but nobody uses it that way anymore.
How was it?
Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments and I’ll try to answer them!
Tschüss, bis zum nächsten Mal! “Bye, see you next time!”