Meeting German speakers for the first time?
You’ll need to learn German common phrases which will make you sound like a native.
Besides, when you travel, you can use these everyday phrases when you decide to visit another German-speaking country.
Learn German common phrases including casual German phrases, phrases for ordering food or necessities, and common expressions.
German common phrases for greeting
This is the first phrase you say when you meet someone.
You can freely say hallo like you would in English to people you’re close with or to strangers when you want to open up a conversation.
The German word for “hello” is hallöchen (diminutive).
One of the German suffixes that reduce a word to its diminutive is “chen” at the end of “hallöchen.” To be clear, “hallöchen” means “hello” in German in a smaller, cuter voice.
Another way of saying Hello is:
Hallo, wie geht’s?
Hello, how are you?
Good day: Guten Tag in German
This idiom is appropriate throughout the day, with the exception of the evenings.
Use it when entering a business, asking a stranger for directions, or on the phone with someone.
Nice to meet you!
Good morning: Guten Morgen in German
This is a typical but more official way to welcome folks in the morning, whether in person or over the phone.
Good evening: Guten Abend in German
In German, “Good Evening” is addressed this way. Usually, “Guten Abend” is used around 6 p.m., but some people may begin saying it earlier.
There is no German phrase for “good afternoon” like there is in the English language.
While “Guten Morgen” is acceptable until around eleven o’clock in the morning, you can use “Guten Tag” beyond that time.
Expressing your thankfulness have different connotations
Formal: Ich danke Ihnen!
The most common form of saying thank you to anyone.
Thank you very much (Many thanks)
Perfect when you want to say thank you to your friend who helped you learn more German expressions
You say this word right after someone says Danke.
Bitte schön / Bitte sehr
Thank you very much
This applies when instead of saying a plain Danke, someone tells you Danke schön and Danke sehr. Then, you reply Bitte schön or Bitte sehr.
German common phrases when traveling
When you’re traveling in Germany, you’ll have to remember basic conversation phrases to save you from sticky situations such as getting lost around the city.
Here is a list of words and simple phrases you need to pack with you.
Ich habe mich verlaufen.
I am lost.
Gibt es hier in der Nähe eine öffentliche Toilette?
Is there a public restroom close by?
Ich fahre weiter nach..
I’m traveling to…
Ich bleibe für das Wochenende
I’m staying for the weekend
Ich bleibe fürein paar Tage
I’m staying for a few days.
Ich bleibe für das Wochenende
I’m staying for a week
Was darf es sein? / Darf ich Ihnen helfen?
May I help you?
Phrases for ordering food and eating
Traveling will take lots of energy and make you tired. Why not order delicious German food?
There’s lots of varieties from der Schinken to das Schweinefleisch and Geflügel.
If you’re ordering at a restaurant, consider practicing these phrases with your friends or family.
Können Sie das bitte wiederholen?
Could you say that again, please?
Ich möchte bitte einen Tisch reservieren.
I would like to book a table, please.
Ich möchte bitte ein Glas Wein.
I would like a glass of wine, please.
Ich möchte bittedie Speisekarte.
I would like the menu.
Ich möchte bitte zahlen.
I would like to pay, please.
Zum mitnehmen, bitte.
To go, please.
Zum hier essen, bitte.
For here, please.
Bieten Sie auch Gerichte zum Mitnehmen an?
Do you offer takeaway meals as well?
German vocabulary when buying and shopping
Part of your necessary social life in Germany is to step away from speaking only to English speakers and start conversing in the German language.
If you aren’t confident to say basic phrases, better start looking for native German speakers online.
Especially, most vendors and shop owners in Germany are usually older and may not be inclined to speak English.
Wie viel kostet das?
How much does this cost?
Wie spät sind Sie offen?
How late are you open?
Haben Sie das auch in einer anderen Farbe?
Do you have this in a different color?
Mit Karte, bitte.
With card, please.
Kann ich mit Karte zahlen?
Can I pay with a card?
Kann ich mit Kreditkarte zahlen?
Can I pay with a credit card?
More informal and casual German phrases
Let’s cover some of the new phrases that are mostly spoken when you have a close relationship with a German friend or living with a very relaxed host family.
Some of these phrases are also borrowed words/loan words (Fremdwörter) from other countries that are tweaked into the German taste.
However, as mentioned earlier, you can only speak these casual German phrases to people who you really know.
It might be considered impolite or informal to mention these words to a German elderly, your employer, or a person of authority (police, government official, etc.).
Bis nächstes Mal!
Till next time! (See you next time!)
Guten Appetit is a combination of the German word Guten for good and Appétit from the french word Bon Appétit. This word means have a good meal.
A connotation that someone sounds stupid, with its equivalent English phrase “What are you saying?”
Dafür nicht / Nicht dafür
Not for that
This is a prevalent expression in northern Germany, but it’s also becoming more popular in the southern area.
In situations where the favor isn’t worth much gratitude, it might be used as if it were part of one’s work.
An unpleasant or prudish person could interpret this sentence as “never mind” in response to a sincere thank you.
It’s possible to express gratitude in a different way if you are concerned about being taken advantage of.
Hei! Was ist los?
Hey! What’s going on?
Na? Wie läufts?
What’s up? How’s it going?
Use simple German sentences to keep yourself going
Having problems memorizing German? Start with small, conversational words and phrases.
Rather than just focusing on polite conversation patterns, be familiar with German slang phrases instead.
That’s the normal way of speaking in any kind of language anyway.
If you can’t understand at all, it’s still useful to have apps like Google Maps or Google Translate to help you roam around Germany.
The best approach to language learning is to keep it simple and relevant to your language learning level.
Initiate learning new vocabulary by checking out ten reasons to learn German words.