Common German Phrases: Master 70+ Basic German Words and Phrases

German may feel like a LOT at first: its complex grammar and vocabulary with long words can be frightening. But deep down, this language is very logical and once you have the basics, it’ll be very easy to advance!

In this blog post, we will explore common German phrases that are essential for any beginner-level student, traveler, or language enthusiast!

We will cover topics such as introducing yourself, greeting and saying goodbye, asking questions, ordering food in a restaurant, shopping for clothes, asking for directions, making small talk with locals, and more.

You can watch this great video where Denisa from Spring German (a project I’m a co-founder) tells you more about common German Phrases. She explains everything in just a few minutes!

This is Common German Phrases 101 with lots of chunks!

1. What you need to know before learning German phrases

German is a language that is heavily reliant on grammar rules.

Understanding the grammar of the language is important to learning and using German phrases correctly.

Effortless Answers

The German language has three different articles for different genders:
der for masculine
die for feminine
das for neutral
Learning the gender of each noun is vital for using articles and pronouns correctly.

BUT!

This doesn’t mean that there’s only one approach to learning German! Read on to learn chunks (this is what we call common phrases/expressions on Effortless Conversations) and why they make it easier to learn any language!

Alternatively, you can immediately request the Conversation Based Chunking Guide which includes a step-by-step explanation of the theory and practice behind learning any language with chunks (and why it works so well), dedicated starter packs for different languages, and a lot more to learn about common German phrases!

2. Introducing yourself in German

Of course, introducing yourself is the start of any relationship in any language.

The most basic introduction in German is simply saying your name, which follows the format:

  • “Ich heiße + [Name]” – I am + Your Name
  • “Ich heiße John” – “I am (called) John”.

You could also say:

  • “Mein Name ist [Name]“. – “My name is [Your Name]”
  • “Mein Name ist Anna” – “My name is Anna”.

If you want to ask someone else’s name, you can say:

  • “Wie heißt du?” – What is your name?.

Keep in mind, that this is the informal version of this question because du is the 2nd person singular in German.

To make it more formal, for instance, if you’re talking to a stranger or someone older, you will use:

  • “Wie heißen Sie?” – What is your name?

When you’re meeting someone for the first time, it’s common to share more things about yourself, like where you come from:

  • “Ich komme aus [Das Land/Die Stadt]” – “I come from [Country/City]”.
  • “Ich komme aus New York” – I come from New York”.

Check out the following table for more common German phrases/chunks that you could use when meeting someone!

GermanEnglish
Ich heiße LauraI am (called) Laura
Mein Name ist MichaelMy name is Michael
Wie heißt du?What is your name? (informal)
Wie heißen Sie?What is your name? (formal)
Ich komme aus BerlinI come from Berlin
Ich bin Lehrer von BerufI am a teacher by profession
Ich bin zwanzig Jahre altI am twenty years old
Ich wohne in MünchenI live in Munich
Mein Hobby ist Fußball spielenMy hobby is playing soccer
Ich habe zwei GeschwisterI have two siblings

Practicing these chunks regularly will help you become comfortable with introductions in German!

3. Greeting and Saying Goodbye in German

Greeting and saying goodbye is a common practice that shows politeness and respect, whether you talk to one of your friends or you want to say goodbye to your boss at the end of the day.

Look at this table to learn a few of these common German phrases and greetings:

GermanEnglish
Guten MorgenGood Morning
Guten TagGood Day
Guten AbendGood Evening
HalloHello
TschüssBye
Auf WiedersehenGoodbye
Bis späterSee you later
Gute NachtGood Night
WillkommenWelcome
Mach’s gutTake care

Here’s a small, everyday conversation showing you the greetings and goodbyes in German we’ve learned:

  • “Guten Morgen, Laura. Wie heißt du? – “Good morning, Laura. What’s your name?”
  • “Hallo! Ich heiße Michael. – “Hello! My name is Michael.”
  • “Kommst du aus Berlin, Michael? – “Are you from Berlin, Michael?”
  • “Nein, ich komme aus München. Und du? – “No, I come from Munich. And you?”
  • “Ich komme aus New York. Schön dich kennenzulernen, Michael. – “I come from New York. Nice to meet you, Michael.”
  • “Auch schön dich kennenzulernen, Laura. Bis später! – “Nice to meet you too, Laura. See you later!”
  • “Auf Wiedersehen, Michael. Mach’s gut! – “Goodbye, Michael. Take care!”

4. Useful Questions in German

Asking questions is necessary for effective communication, and German has a range of question words to use.

Some of the essential question words that are called the W-Fragen in German are:

  • “Wer?” (Who?)
  • “Was?” (What?)
  • “Wo?” (Where?)
  • “Wann?” (When?)
  • Warum?” (Why?)
  • “Wie?” (How?)

Common German phrases that use these question words include:

GermanEnglish
Guten MorgenGood Morning
Guten TagGood Day
Guten AbendGood Evening
HalloHello
TschüssBye
Auf WiedersehenGoodbye
Bis späterSee you later
Gute NachtGood Night
WillkommenWelcome
Mach’s gutTake care

If you’re traveling to Germany as a tourist, some of the most important things are:

Asking for directions in the city

Getting lost is – unfortunately – a common thing when traveling in a foreign place.

common german phrases, beautiful urban view of munich in germany

Asking for directions is life-saving for finding your destination, whether that is the hotel, a restaurant or the train station.

The following table contains only formal sentences – because that’s usually how you ask for directions from strangers.

GermanEnglish
Entschuldigung, können Sie mir sagen, wo …Excuse me, can you tell me where…
Entschuldigen Sie, wissen Sie, wo …Excuse me, do you know where…
Könnten Sie mir bitte sagen, wo …Could you please tell me where…
Können Sie mir weiterhelfen? Ich suche nach …Can you help me? I am looking for…
Wo befindet sich …?Where is… located?
Ist das hier in der Nähe?Is this close by?
Ist es weit von hier?Is it far from here?
Wo ist der nächste Supermarkt?Where is the nearest supermarket?
Welchen Weg soll ich nehmen, um zum Theater zu gelangen?Which way should I take to get to the theater?
Wie komme ich zum Museum?How do I get to the museum?
Wo finde ich die nächste Bushaltestelle?Where can I find the nearest bus stop?
Wo kann ich ein Taxi finden?Where can I find a taxi?
Wie weit ist es zum Flughafen?How far is it to the airport?

Ordering food in a restaurant

Germany has a rich culinary scene, and it is an excellent opportunity for language learners to practice ordering in a restaurant.

common german phrases served table in a restaurant

Some of the most common German phrases and questions/chunks are:

GermanEnglish
“Ich hätte gern …”“I would like…”
“Was empfehlen Sie?”“What do you recommend?”
“Die Rechnung, bitte”“The bill, please”
“Ich bin allergisch gegen …”“I am allergic to…” (if you have specific dietary restrictions)
“Ich hätte gerne eine Vorspeise.”“I would like an appetizer.”
“Könnten Sie das Steak medium braten?”“Could you cook the steak medium?”
“Ich hätte gerne einen Tisch für zwei Personen.”“I would like a table for two.”
“Könnten Sie mir bitte das Menü zeigen?”“Could you please show me the menu?”
“Welche Desserts haben Sie zur Auswahl?”“What desserts do you have available?”
“Könnten Sie mir eine Empfehlung für ein vegetarisches Gericht geben?”“Could you recommend a vegetarian dish for me?”

Shopping for clothes and asking questions

If you plan on shopping in Germany, knowing how to ask for assistance or specific items is helpful. You can definitely find some really good articles in the country!

Some useful chunks and questions:

GermanEnglish
Ich suche nach …I am looking for…
Haben Sie…?Do you have…?
Wie viel kostet das?How much does that cost?
Welche Größe haben Sie?What size do you have?
Gibt es das in rot?Do you have that in red?
Wo finde ich …?Where can I find…?
Kann ich das umtauschen?Can I exchange this?
Haben Sie eine Quittung?Do you have a receipt?
Können Sie mir helfen?Can you help me?
Was ist die Rückgaberegel?What is the return policy?
Wie lange dauert die Lieferung?How long does the delivery take?

Making small talk with locals

Small talk is also an excellent way to learn more about the local culture and practice your language skills.

Check out these topics and useful chunks to engage in small talk with locals!
Hint: The following sentences are informal – it’s also good to start with a smile on your face 🙂

GermanEnglish
Wie ist das Wetter heute?How is the weather today?
Hast du irgendwelche Hobbys?Do you have any hobbies?
Hast du schon einmal Deutschland besucht?Have you ever visited Germany?
Was machst du gerne in deiner Freizeit?What do you like to do in your free time?
Kennst du gute Restaurants in der Nähe?Do you know any good restaurants nearby?
Gibt es hier besondere Sehenswürdigkeiten?Are there any special attractions here?
Wie lange wohnst du schon hier?How long have you been living here?
Was sind deine Lieblingsaktivitäten?What are your favorite activities?
Kannst du mir ein paar Tipps zur Stadt geben?Can you give me some tips about the city?
Wo kann man hier am besten einkaufen gehen?Where is the best place to go shopping around here?

Small talk is one of the best ways you can practice your conversation skills in real life!

4. Practice Worksheet for Common German Phrases

Below you’ll find a practical worksheet to help you practice common German phrases. To get the most out of these exercises, try to say the phrases out loud as you go along!

I. Fill in the blanks with the most common German Phrases!

Remember, practice makes perfect! Don’t be discouraged by initial mistakes. Keep practicing and you’ll get the hang of it!

We have the best practice worksheets for you (available for ALL of our blog posts in Spanish and in German)! Click the button below to request the FULL PRACTICE WORKSHEETS!

5. Start with the Basics and follow the Conversation Based Chunking Method

Learning the most common German phrases can be a fun and exciting journey that allows you to discover a new culture and connect with others.

One effective technique that can enhance your language learning experience is Conversation Based Chunking. Practice conversations in chunks, focus on specific topics or scenarios, and improve your speaking skills!

This approach helps you break down the language into manageable parts, making it easier to grasp and remember.

As you continue to learn, explore, and practice with Conversation Based Chunking method, you’ll find yourself making steady progress and enjoying the process of acquiring German language skills.

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