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Basic German Questions Every Traveler Should Know

It only takes a few questions in German to start a conversation. Check out the list below to learn some phrases that could mark the difference between making some friends, or spending your trip alone.

Interrogative Questions

Are you looking for some information? Check out the questions that will get them talking. 

“Where is the bathroom?” in German

Wo ist die Toilette?

When you got to go, you got to go. If you can’t learn how to use this phrase correctly, you may be in for some trouble.

Wo ist die Toilette?Where is the bathroom?
Es ist dort drüben.It’s over there.

“Where are you from?” in German

Wo kommst du her?

The first question most people will ask you. However, it can be a good ice breaker If you are looking to make friends, or just trying to make a little small talk.

Wo kommst du her?Where are you from?
Ich komme aus den Vereinigten Staaten.I am from the United States.

“Could you say that again, please?” in German

Konnen Sie das bitte wiederholen?

Even if you can understand German well, if you do not master this phrase it could lead to many awkward interactions. In case you missed what someone said and can’t ask them to repeat, the person may assume you don’t understand German at all! Try to avoid these missed connections with this useful question.

Konnen Sie das bitte wiederholen?Can you say that again, please?
Mögen sie Deutschland?Do you like Germany?

“What did you say?” in German

Was hast du gesagt?

This works in a similar fashion as the previous phrase. Much like the difference between the two in English, this is a more casual way to ask the person to repeat what they were saying.

Was hast du gesagt?What did you say?
Ich mag das Essen sehr!I like the food a lot!

“What time does the bus go?” in German

Wann fahrt der Bus?

We have all got places to be. You don’t want to waste your time trying to Google this phrase last minute---it could cost you a bus trip! So make sure to come prepared and memorize this question in advance.

Wann fahrt der Bus?What time does the bus go?
Jetzt kommt der Bus!The bus is coming now!

“Since when have you been living here?” in German

Seit wann wohnst du heir?

This is another good question to break the ice and start getting to know some of the people around you. If you don’t understand the response afterward, just keep nodding. It’s the idea that counts after all!

Seit wann wohnst du heir?Since when have you been living here?
Ich verbrachte hier mein ganzes Leben.I have lived here my whole life.

“Where did you buy your pants?” in German

Wo hast du deine Hose gekauft?

Some people just have nice pants and you got to get a pair of those fresh slacks for yourself. It can also serve as another useful addition to your newly acquired small talk arsenal. I mean, who doesn’t like to be complimented on their pants?

Wo hast du deine Hose gekauft?Where did you buy your pants?
Die Hose habe ich in H&M gekauft.I bought my pants at H&M.

Yes or No questions

Questions straight to the point that get the job done.

“Are you hungry?” in German

Bist du hungrig?

Everyone’s got to eat. Why not enjoy a meal together? This is an essential phrase to make some friends or score some dates!

Bist du hungrig?Are you hungry?
Ja, Was möchten Sie essen?Yeah, what would you like to eat?

"Are you playing with me?” in German

Spielen Sie mit mir?

Let that playful someone know you are on to them. You are no fool. At least, that’s what your mom used to tell you. This phrase is great to make some playful banter that will create a good rapport.

Spielen Sie mit mir?Are you playing with me?
ich meine das ernst.I’m being serious.

“Are you going to the Cinema?” in German

Geht ihr ins Kino?

No need to mess with a classic. This is a simple phrase to help you meet up with some friends, or an easy way to make a date with minimal German. You’ll be pulling the old yawn and stretch in no time.

Geht ihr ins Kino?Are you going to the cinema?
Ja, willst du mitkommen?Yes, would you like to come along?

“Can you understand me?” in German

Konnen Sie mich verstehen?

No matter how hard you try, sometimes  your German may be met with the head tilt of confusion. Not to worry, use this phrase to help ensure understanding.

Konnen Sie mich verstehen?Can you understand me?
No, was hast du gesagt?No, what did you say?

“Are you going out with your friends?” in German

Gehst du mit deinen Freunden aus?

Are you trying to find out where the party is at? This phrase will come in handy when you are looking to hang out and make some new memories!

Gehst du mit deinen Freunden aus?Are you going out with your friends?
Ja, willst du mitkommen?Yeah, would you like to come along?

“Have you seen that before?” in German

Hast du das schon mal gehesen?

Sometimes you may witness something that leaves you baffled and wondering if this is a normal part of German culture. Why not stir up some conversation and ask a local?

Hast du das schon mal gehesen?Have you seen that before?
Das ist ein Novum für michThat’s a first for me.

“Are you going to order a pizza?” in German​

Bestellst du dir eine Pizza?

Pizza brings people together. Don’t be afraid to spend the night indoors enjoying some conversation and a pizza.

Bestellst du dir eine Pizza?Are you going to order a pizza?
Ja, was möchten sie bestellen?Yes, what would you like to order?

“Do you want another beer?” in German

Willst du noch Bier?

You know you made a friend when you crack open a few beers together. If you plan to invite a guest to your place, make sure you master this phrase.

Willst du noch Bier?Do you want another beer?
Natürlich!Of course!

Conclusion

Now that you have had some time to practice your German, get out there and start asking questions. With our list by your side, you won’t regret it!

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About the Author Charity Johnson

Charity Johnson is a third sector worker and former secondary teacher based in the Scottish Isles. Her blog, Archipelagal, is the (re)telling of her geographical and ideological whereabouts.

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