97 German Phrases Every Beginner Needs to Know

97 German Phrases Every Beginner Needs to Know

If learning to speak German was always on your bucket list, you might be wondering what is the best way to start?

It may sound boring but memorizing German phrases and words is key to speaking the language. It is definitely the first thing that any good German language tutor will ask you to do.

After all, how will you learn the proper rules of grammar if you don’t even know enough German words to make a proper sentence? Or answer questions from German speakers if you can’t understand common German phrases.

To help you out on your language learning journey, we’ve compiled a list of 97 common German phrases that you should learn. Bonus? There’s a PDF that you can download here so you can study these words at your leisure. Let’s start by learning how you can start a conversation with a German speaker.

German Phrases of Greeting to Use to Start a Conversation

When attempting to start a conversation with a German speaker, the first thing that you should do is greet them. You can do so by using one of the four phrases below.

1. Guten Morgen

Translation: Good morning

2. Guten Tag

Translation: Good afternoon/Good day

3. Guten Abend

Translation: Good evening

Those three phrases are used by German speakers to greet someone, and you can use them too. However, you should know that they are “time-sensitive”.

“Guten Morgen” can be used until around noon, at which point, Germans usually switch to using “Guten Tag”. “Guten Tag” is also translated to “Good day” and as such, can also be used in place of “Guten Morgen”, as long as the sun is up.

“Guten Abend”, on the other hand, is used starting around 6 PM in Germany,

4. Hallo

Translation: Hello 

Instead of one of the “Guten” phrases, you can actually use this as an all-around, anytime greeting. 

Phrases You Can Use to Introduce Yourself in German

After you’ve gotten someone’s attention by greeting them, it’s only polite that you introduce yourself to them by saying the following German phrase.

5. Mein Name ist 

Translation: My name is

Most German speakers, after you’ve told them your name will respond in kind. After they’ve told you their name, you should then keep the conversation going by saying the following.

6. Est freut mich, dich kennenzulernen

Translation: I’m pleased to meet you

7. Wie geht’s? 

Translation: How are you?

Most Germans will ask you “wei geht’s” after meeting or being introduced to you. Much like in English, it’s more a polite formality than an actual request. They don’t express a long and detailed answer, but mostly a polite “I’m fine”.

Here are German phrases to answer when someone says “wei geht’s?”

8. Gut, Danke

Translation: I’m fine, thank you

9. Es geht mir sehr gut

Translation: I’m very well

10. Nicht schlecht

Translation: Not bad

You should also then add the following phrase:

11. Und dir?

Translation: And you? 

How to Ask and Answer “Getting to Know You” Questions in German

As a traveler striking conversations with native German speakers, they are bound to be a little curious about where you are from. As, such, you will probably hear one of the following phrases below quite often.

12. Wo kommst du her?

Translation: Where are you from?

13. Woher kommen Sie?

Translation: Where are you from?

Both these German phrases mean the same thing, but “Wo kommst du her?” is considered informal compared to “Woher kommen Sie?”.  

To answer you can use one of the following phrases:

14. Ich bin aus (city name)

Translation: I am from

15. Ich komme aus (country)

Translation: I am from

Of course, you should also ask about the person you are speaking to, so you should use the following phrases.

16. Woher kommst du/Sie?

Translation: Where are you from? (informal/formal)

17. Woher wohst du/Sie?

Translation: Where do you live? (informal/formal)

18. Wie lange lebst du schon in (area)?

How long have you been living in (area)?

You might also want to ask your new friend the following questions to keep the conversation going and get to know a little more about them

19. Wie alt bist du? 

Translation: How old are you?

20. Was bist du von Beruf? 

Translation: What is your profession?

21. Was machen Sie in Ihrer Freizeit? 

Translation: What do you do for fun?

How to Finish a Conversation in German

If you need to leave your new friends, because you have to get to class or go to a meeting, you can use the following German phrases.

22. Tschüss

Translation: Goodbye

23. Auf Wiedersehen

Translation: Goodbye

24. Gute Nacht

Translation: Good night

This is, of course, a “time-sensitive” way of saying goodbye. 

While the above phrases are the generic “polite” way of saying goodbye in German, you can also use the following phrases.

25. Bis bald!

Translation: See you soon!

This is a good phrase to use among friends, especially if you have plans to meet up with them later. Here are a few other informal ways to say “goodbye”

26. Bis spatter

Translation: See you later

27. Bis morgan

Translation: See you tomorrow

German Phrases Language Learners Should Learn and Use

One of the best ways to learn German is to practice it by having daily conversations with German speakers. However, no matter how well your German language tutor says you’ve come along when you actually are around German speakers you might have a hard time following along.

Don’t get too discouraged, however. If you let a German speaker know that you are just learning they will be more than willing to help you out. 

To identify yourself as a foreigner learning to speak their language, here are a few German phrases you should memorize and use as needed. 

28. Sprechen Sie (language)

Translation: Do you speak (language)

If things are urgent and you need to find someone who can tell you something in your native tongue, use this phrase.

29. Ich Spreche Deutsch

Translation: I speak German

Though of course, you might want to be more honest and tell them that you are only learning and might not understand everything by saying these phrases instead.

30. Ich lerne Deutsch

Translation: I am learning to speak German

32. Ich spreche nicht viel Deutsch

Translation: I don’t speak much German

33. Ich spreche nicht gut Deutsch

Translation: I do not speak German very well 

Once you’ve told people you are just a learner, don’t hesitate to use the following phrases to make sure that you understand everyone correctly.

34. Sorry, aber ich verstehe nicht

Translation: I’m sorry, but I do not understand.

35. Können Sie das bitte wiederholen?

Translation: Could you say that again, please?

36. Können Sie bitte langsamer sprechen?

Translation: Could you say that more slowly, please?

37. Was bedeutet das?

Translation: What does that mean?

Important German Phrases to Learn in Case of Emergencies

Of course, we hope that you won’t need to use these phrases, but it’s always a good idea to know how you can ask for medical attention or help from the police.

38. Ich bin verletzt

Translation: I am injured

39. Es geht mir nicht gut

Translation: I do not feel well

40. Ich brauche einen Arzt

Translation: I need to see a doctor

41. Gibt es ein Krankenhaus in der Nähe?

Translation: Is there a hospital near here?

42. Fahren Sie mich bitte zum Krankenhaus

Translation: Take me to the hospital 

43. Bitte rufen Sie die Polizei

Translation: Please call the police

44. Gibt es hier in der Nähe eine Polizeistation?

Translation: Is there a police department in the vicinity?

German Phrases You Should Learn Because You Will Use Them Every Day

Here are a few other German phrases that you might find useful to learn.

45. Ja, bitte

Translation: Yes, please

46. Nein, danke

Translation: No, thank you

47. Kannst du/Sie mir helfen?

Translation: Can you help me? (informal/formal)

48. Gern geschehen

Translation: You’re welcome

49. Mir geht es gut

Translation: I’m fine

50. Vielen Dank

Translation: Thank you very much

51. Ich have mich verlaufen

Translation: I’ve gotten myself lost.

52. Ich weiß nicht 

Translation: I do not know

53. Ich schaue mich nur um

Translation: I’m just looking around

54. Macht nichts

Translation: Nevermind

55. Wo ist?

Translation: Where is?

56. Ich bin hungrig

Translation: I’m hungry

57. Ich habe Durst

Translation: I’m thirsty

58. Darf ich heir sitzen

Translation: May I sit here?

59. Wo bist du?

Translation: Where are you?

60. In Ordnung 

Translation: All right

61. Ich brauche Auskunft

Translation: I need some help

62. Haben Sie schon auf?

Translation: Are you open yet?

63. Was empfehlen Sie?

Translation: What do you recommend?

64. Was ist das?

Translation: What is this?

65. Die Rechnung, bitte

Translation: The bill, please

66. Ich möchte nach

Translation: I want to go to

67. Was kostet das?

Translation: How much is it?

68. Wie spät ist es jetzt?

Translation: What time is it now?

69. Können Sie das bitte für mich aufschreiben?

Translation: Can you write that down for me?

70. Zeigen Sie mir das bitte auf der Karte?

Translation: Can you show me on the map?

71. Geht es da lang?

Translation: Is it in this direction?

72. Entschuldigung, darf ich Sie etwas fragen?

Translation: Excuse me, could I ask you something?

73. Wissen Sie was über

Translation: Do you know anything about

74. Ich suche ein Restaurant mit gutem Essen hier in der Nähe

Translation: I’m looking for a place with good food around here

75. Gibt es hier in der Nähe etwas Interessantes zu sehen

Translation: Is there anything interesting to see in this area? 

76. Ist dies der Zug/Bus nach (place)?

Translation: Is this train/bus going to (place)

77. Wann fährt der Zug ab?

Translation: When is this train departing?

78. Wann fährt der nächste Bus nach (place)?

Translation: When is the next bus to (place) leaving?

79. Wann fährt der letzte Zug/Bus nach (place)?

When is the last train/bus to (place) leaving?

80. Was kostet ein Ticket?

Translation: How much is a ticket?

81. Komme ich auf diesem Weg zum (place)?

Translation: Is this the way to the (place)?

82. Gibt es hier in der Nähe eine öffentliche Toilette?

Translation: Is there a public restroom close by?

83. Kann ich hier auch mit Kreditkarte bezahlen?

Translation: Do you accept credit cards as well?

84. Haben Sie eine Speisekarte auf Englisch?

Translation: Do you have a menu in English?

85. Was ist der heutige Wechselkurs? 

Translation: What’s the exchange rate today?

Common German Phrases You Might Hear Every Day

Here are a few common German phrases that you might hear spoken around you. You should learn what they mean in order to understand them and respond appropriately.

86. Was brauchen Sie?

Translation: What do you need?

87. Wohin gehen Sie? 

Translation: Where are you going?

88. Es tut mir leid

Translation: I’m sorry

89. Bitte schön

Translation: You’re welcome

90. Darf ich mal vorbie

Translation: May I pass by?

91. Kein problem

Translation: No problem

92. Einen Augenblick, bitte!

Translation: Please wait a moment

93. Kann ich Ihened helfen?

Translation: Can I help you?

94. Darf es noch etwas sein?

Translation: Is there anything else you need?

95. Ich stimme dir zu

Translation: I agree with you.

96. Alles klar?

Translation: Is everything clear?/Are you good?

97. Schönes Wetter heute

Translation: Beautiful weather today

Conclusion

The key to learning any language is to learn and memorize the common word and phrases that are used by native speakers every day.

In order to quickly build up your inner dictionary of German words and phrases, you should find lists like this one and commit their meaning to memory. You should also look into German idioms and common German expressions

It’s not enough, however, that you should know what a German phrase means. You need to know when you should use them. While we’ve tried to help here, we still recommend that you find a native German language tutor who can go through the list with you and explain in more detail what these phrases mean.

Another advantage to working with a native speaking tutor is, they can correct your pronunciation as needed. While there are some funny German phrases and expressions out there, you don’t want to inadvertently make a German speaker laugh by saying something the wrong way. Happy learning!

What are some common German phrases?

Mein Name ist - My name is. Est freut mich, dich kennenzulernen - I’m pleased to meet you. Wie geht’s? - How are you? Woher kommst du/Sie? - Where are you from. Auf Wiedersehen - Goodbye.

What is a German greeting?

Guten Morgen (“good morning” in German), Guten Tag (good day), and Guten Abend (good evening).

What's the best way to learn German?

One of the best ways to learn German is to practice it by having daily conversations with German speakers. However, no matter how well your German language tutor says you’ve come along when you actually around German speakers you might have a hard time following along. Don’t get too discouraged, however. If you let a German speaker know that you are just learning they will be more than willing to help you out.

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