German Phrases and Useful Expressions

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Last updated: August 13, 2018

Are you traveling to Germany? Then it might be a good idea to learn a few German phrases and expressions before departure. The Germans like to speak their own language instead of English, and if truth to be told, the level of English is about the same as in France.

You can absolutely have a good stay just using English, but don’t expect to have a meaningful conversation. 

In short, if you learn a few German expressions and phrases, your trip to Germany will be more fun and rewarding. German is not so different after all and in many cases, one can understand the meaning without knowing the language fluently.

If you think it’s hard to learn more than a few greeting words and daily phrases, you could at least learn a few funny German words to spread some joy while meeting locals.

Below I have collected lots of words and phrases in German that gives you everything you need for a successful stay.

German greeting phrases

EnglishGerman
HelloHallo
Good morning Guten Morgen
Good dayGuten Tag
Good eveningGuten Abend
ByeTschüss
WelcomeWillkommen
See youBis Bald!
Good byeAuf Wiedersehen

Useful German Phrases and expressions to memorize

These are probably the most useful phrases in German. Below you will find everyday phrases and expressions that will make life easier. It can be anything from small talk with hotel staff to a stranger on the town or staff in the shop.

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EnglishGerman
YesJa
NoNein
How are you?Wie geht’s?
GoodGut
BadSchlecht
MaybeVielleicht
MuchVielen
MoreMehr
What’s your name?Wie heisst du?
Excuse meEntschuldigung
Excuse me (more polite)Entschuldigen Sie
Thank youDanke
Thank you very muchDanke schön
You’re welcomeBitte schön
PleaseBitte
I don’t understandIch verstehe nicht
I don’t german very wellIch spreche kein Deutsch
Do you speak English?Sprechen Sie Englisch?
Where’s the toilet?Wo ist die Toilette, bitte?

German is a polite language and words like bitte and danke schön are particularly important to use and remember. Even if you speak English, it may be respectful and nice to add bitte when you ask for something or danke schön when you say thanks.

All Germans are using these two words frequently.

German Phrases on the restaurant

As a tourist, it is unlikely that you will go to a restaurant. Therefore it is a good idea to learn a few restaurant phrases so you can order food and drinks. Below you will also find a list of words for the typical dishes and drinks.

EnglishGerman
Could I see the menu, please? Kann ich bitte die Speisekarte sehen?
Would you like something to eat? Möchten Sie gerne etwas essen?
Would you like something to drink? Möchten Sie gerne etwas trinken?
Medium Rare Mittleres seltenes
Well-doneGut durchbraten
Rare Blutig
What could you recommend? Was können Sie empfehlen?
Enjoy your meal Guten Appetit!
Could you pass me the…? Können Sie mir geben…?
How much will it cost? Wie viel kostet es?
Check, pleaseDie Rechnung, bitte
Can I pay with card? Kann ich mit Kreditkarte
zahlen?
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Meals

EnglishGerman
BreakfastFrühstück
LunchMittagessen
DinnerAbendessen

German Food and Drink phrases

EnglishGerman
Shrimps Garnelen
Meatballs Hackbällchen
Ham Schinken
Meat Das Fleisch
Chicken Hühnchen
Fish Fisch
Vegetables Das Gemüse
Ice-cream Eis
Dessert Der Nachtisch
Salt Salz
Peppar Pfeffer
White wine Der Weißwein
Red wine Der Rotwein
Beer Das Bier
Coffee Kaffee
Soda Brause / softdrink
Water Wasser
Water without gas Stilles wasser
Water with gas Wasser mit kohlensäure

Directions

Germans are generally friendly and helpful. If one goes astray or looking for something in particular, it may be useful to know what the different directions is called in German. Below are some of the most common directions.

EnglishGerman
Here Hier
Left Links
Right Rechts
Straight forward Geradeaus
In the beginning of.. Das anfang der
Close Nahe
In the end of.. Das ende der
Behind Hinter
Excuse me, where is…? Entschuldigung, wohin ist…?

How to count in German

Being able to count on the German is always an advantage, especially when you’re about to do some shopping, or if you’re sitting in a restaurant. If you are going to bargain on any market, it is better to use German numerals.

Below, you have everything you need to be able to count from 1 to 100 in German. As you can see after twenty, simply add the number + und before, like this “einundzwanzig” for twenty-one and “zweiundzwanzig” for twenty-two.

As you can probably guess thirty, forty and so on works the same way. The only thing that changed is the suffix, such as “einunddreißig” is thirty one and “zweiundvierzig” equal to forty two. If you would rather say, thirty three or forty four, it would be “dreiunddreißig” and “vierundvierzig”.

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Below you can see how to count from 1 to 100 in German.

EnglishGerman
OneEins
TwoZwei
ThreeDrei
FourVier
FiveFünf
SixSechs
SevenSieben
EightAcht
NineNeun
TenZehn
ElevenElf
TwelveZwölf
ThirteenDreizehn
FourteenVierzehn
FifteenFünfzehn
SicteenSechzen
SeventeenSiebzehn
EighteenAchtzen
NineteenNeunzhen
TwentyZwanzig
Twenty oneEinundzwanzig
Twenty twoZweiundzwanzig
ThirtyDreißig
FortyVierzig
FiftyFünfzig
SixtySechzig
SevetySiebzig
EightyAchtzig
NinetyNeunzig
One hundredHundert
ThousandTausend
One millionEine Million

There, now you have everything needed for a successful trip to Germany. You learn German phrases for restaurant visits and everyday expressions and German greetings and German numerals.


If you have more suggestions in German phrases and expressions. Leave a comment below.

December 5th, 2016|

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Swedish Nomad

Hello! I’m Alex Waltner — A Swedish Travel Blogger & Photographer.

My vision with this blog is to inspire people to travel more and better by sharing useful travel guides and tips from my adventures around the world.

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2 Comments

  1. Mari Collier 12/06/2016 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    It is interesting to see how some of the phrases differ from the German my Great-grandparents and Grandparents used. That would be the 1870’s & 1880’s high German and Platte Deutsche. Just have the phrases without the pronunciation might cause a small problem. Thanks for posting.

    • Alexander Waltner 12/16/2016 at 6:15 pm - Reply

      Hi, oh wow, thanks for sharing. Yes, it’s quite interesting to see how languages change over time. I will try to add mp3 files with pronunciation in the future.

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