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German Phrases and Useful Expressions

German Phrases and Useful Expressions

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

English German
Hello Hallo
Good morning  Guten Morgen
Good day Guten Tag
Good evening Guten Abend
Bye Tschüss
Welcome Willkommen
See you Bis Bald!
Good bye Auf 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.

English German
Yes Ja
No Nein
How are you? Wie geht’s?
Good Gut
Bad Schlecht
Maybe Vielleicht
Much Vielen
More Mehr
What’s your name? Wie heisst du?
Excuse me Entschuldigung
Excuse me (more polite) Entschuldigen Sie
Thank you Danke
Thank you very much Danke schön
You’re welcome Bitte schön
Please Bitte
I don’t understand Ich verstehe nicht
I don’t german very well Ich 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.

English German
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-done Gut 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, please Die Rechnung, bitte
Can I pay with card?  Kann ich mit Kreditkarte
zahlen?

Meals

English German
Breakfast Frühstück
Lunch Mittagessen
Dinner Abendessen

German Food and Drink phrases

English German
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.

English German
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”.

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

English German
One Eins
Two Zwei
Three Drei
Four Vier
Five Fünf
Six Sechs
Seven Sieben
Eight Acht
Nine Neun
Ten Zehn
Eleven Elf
Twelve Zwölf
Thirteen Dreizehn
Fourteen Vierzehn
Fifteen Fünfzehn
Sicteen Sechzen
Seventeen Siebzehn
Eighteen Achtzen
Nineteen Neunzhen
Twenty Zwanzig
Twenty one Einundzwanzig
Twenty two Zweiundzwanzig
Thirty Dreißig
Forty Vierzig
Fifty Fünfzig
Sixty Sechzig
Sevety Siebzig
Eighty Achtzig
Ninety Neunzig
One hundred Hundert
Thousand Tausend
One million Eine 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.

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Mari Collier

Tuesday 6th of December 2016

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

Friday 16th of December 2016

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.