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Polite German Words and Phrases

When traveling through Germany, like in other parts of the world, politeness is the key. It helps to be respectful at all times. So be sure to study this list of polite German words and phrases and treat those you encounter with the respect they deserve.

How to say “Please” in German

Bitte

Let’s start with this super useful word in the German language. You may find that bitte is used almost in excess. Germans are a polite people, so be sure to use this word liberally.

“Ein Stück Apfelkuchen bitte.”

“Bitte sehr.”
“A slice of apple cake please.”

“Here you are.”

How to say “Thank you” in German

Danke

Be sure to master the “Danke” if you don’t want to look ungrateful. It’s nice to be nice to the nice! Makes sense?

“Wie geht es dir?”

“Es geht mir gut, danke.”
“How are you?”

“I’m doing well, thank you.”

How to say “Excuse me” in German

entschuldigen Sie mich

When you need to be excused for something, this is a polite way to say “excuse me” in German. Don’t worry, we all make mistakes.

“Bitte entschuldigen Sie mich.”

“Wofür?”

“Für mein schlechtes Deutsch.”
“Please excuse me.”

“For what?”

“For my bad German.”

How to say “Hope” in German

Hoffnung

When you need to express that your spirits are still high, this is the word to use. A good way to show that you are staying positive and not losing faith.

“Ist Deutsch schwierig?”

“Ja, aber Ich werde die Hoffnung nie verlieren.”
“Is German difficult?”

“Yes, but I’ll never lose hope.”

How to say  “Seem” in German

Scheinen

When you are looking to express how you see something, this word will come in handy.

“Er ist ein guter Tänzer.”

“Ja, Er wirkte wie ein Fachmann.”
He’s a great dancer.

Yeah, he seemed like a professional.

How to say “Perhaps” in German

Vielleicht

An important word for those of you that hate verbal commitments. Or when you want to show a bit of uncertainty.

“Kommst du zu meiner Party?”

“Vielleicht.”
“Are you coming to my party?”

“Perhaps.”

How to say  “Do you mind….?” in German

Macht es dir etwas aus...?

When you don’t want to seem rude and abruptly do something that may displease the people around you, show them consideration with this phrase. They will appreciate that you care.

“Macht es dir etwas aus, wenn ich das Fenster öffne?”

‘Nein, natürlich nicht”
“Do you mind if I open the window?”

“No, of course not.”

How to say “After you” in German

nach dir

When you want to show the other person that you are a proper lady or gentleman, this is what to say. Who said chivalry is dead?

“Nach dir, Herr.”

“Danke.”
“After you, sir.”

“Thank you.”

“If you should change your mind, do let me know” in German

Falls du es dir anders überlegen solltest, lass es mich wissen

Show that person that you’re not demanding by saying this phrase. After all, it’s respectful to be flexible.

“Falls du es dir anders überlegen solltest, lass es mich wissen.”

“Ja, ich will.”
“If you should change your mind, do let me know.”

“Yes, I will.”

How to say “I need some help” in German

Ich brauche Hilfe.

Sometimes, we can all use some help. As a tourist, there is no doubt you will need this phrase to get by. Even tasks that once seemed simple can become a source of much frustration in a different culture. Don’t be afraid to ask for some help!

“Ich brauche Hilfe.”

“Was kann ich für dich tun?”
“I need some help.”

“What can I do for you?”

How to say  “No problem” in German

Kein Problem

When you want to let someone know that whatever they are asking is nothing to be concerned about. Say, kein Problem!
“Bitte lehre mich deutsch.”

“Kein problem!”
“Please teach me German.”

“No problem!”

How to say  “Forgive me” in German

Verzeihen Sie

Sometimes, you need to ask for forgiveness. Don’t fret as long as you got this phrase in your back pocket. Let’s just hope they forgive you.

“Wieso hast du das getan?”

“Verzeihen Sie.”
“Why did you do that?”

“Forgive me.”

How to say  “of course” in German

naturlich

When “Ja” just won’t suffice, hit them with a “naturlich”. This will help show that you know what you are talking about and the question didn’t need to be asked at all!

Sprichst du Deutsch?

“Naturlich!”
“Do you speak German?”

“Of course!”

How to say  “You’re welcome” in German

Bitte schon

Did you do something that warrants a grateful “danke”? This is the appropriate way to respond to someone’s gratitude!

“Danke für den Kaffee.”

“Bitte schon.”
“Thank you for the coffee.”

“You’re welcome”

How to say  “No, thank you” in German

Nein, danke

When you need to politely refuse something, be sure to thank them for the offer with this phrase.

“Möchtest du ein Bier?”

“Nein, danke.”
“Would you like a beer?”

“No, thank you.”

How to say  “Correct” in German

richtig

When you want to tell someone that they are indeed correct, this word well help them feel smarter than a simple yes would!

“Ist das Paul?”

“ach ja, richtig!”
“Is that Paul?”

“Oh yes, correct!”

Conclusion

Now you have the tools to carry out polite conversation while you chat your way through Germany. Now get out there, and start talking with confidence---and politely, too!

If you are looking to further enhance your German speaking ability, check out German short stories below!

A  FUN AND EFFECTIVE WAY TO LEARN GERMAN

  • 10 entertaining short stories about everyday themes
  • Practice reading and listening with 90+ minutes of audio 
  • Learn 1,000+ new German vocabulary effortlessly!

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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