5 Different Ways to Say Good Afternoon in German – Guten Tag & Schönen Nachmittag

Afternoons in German-speaking regions are a little bit different than in the rest of Europe: while others are still working hard, Spanish speaking people are taking a siesta, German native speakers are engaging in end of the workday activities or simply taking a moment to pause and reflect.

If you want to get closer to this German culture, it’s important to learn how to say good afternoon in German. Spring German, a project I co-founded, made a great insight on different German greetings you will need:

Whether it’s about enjoying a leisurely “Kaffee und Kuchen” (coffee and cake) in a cozy café or taking pleasure in “Feierabend” (end of the workday) activities it’s important to know how to greet someone in the afternoon. Find 5 alternative ways!

1. Guten Tag (Good day) – The standard way of saying good afternoon in German

Effortless Answers

Guten Tag” (literally: Good day) is the all-in-one German greeting used throughout the day in every German-speaking region. From late morning until the evening.

Pronunciation:

This greeting is formal and versatile, and it’s good for different settings in life – from entering a shop to starting a conversation with a stranger on the street.

Here’s how it would look like in a real-life conversation:

Alexander: Guten Tag! Wie kann ich Ihnen helfen? (Good day! How can I help you?)
Maximilian: Guten Tag! Ich suche die Abteilung für deutsche Literatur. (Good day! I’m looking for the German literature department.)

2. Guten Nachmittag (Good afternoon) – A greeting German people rarely use

Interestingly, “Guten Nachmittag” (Good afternoon) is a direct translation that is rarely used in everyday German conversation.

Pronunciation:

While it’s grammatically correct, it doesn’t quite resonate with the natural rhythm of German greetings. This chunk will be understood by German speakers, but it’s not really used to greet someone in the afternoon. “Guten Tag” is the preferred choice for most of the day.

Take a look at this short interaction:

Sebastian: Entschuldigung, sagen die Leute hier eigentlich ‘Guten Nachmittag’? (Excuse me, do people actually say ‘Good afternoon’ here?)
Lukas: Ah, ‘Guten Nachmittag’ ist korrekt, aber wir benutzen normalerweise ‘Guten Tag’. (Ah, ‘Good afternoon’ is correct, but we usually use ‘Good day’.)

I just mentioned chunks. What are they? Well, they are natural building blocks of the language and native speakers use them all the time. Sign up now to get your German Conversation Based Chunking Guide with a weekly study program, an essential list of German chunks, my favourite German learning resources and more!

3. Schönen Nachmittag (Have a nice afternoon) – Wish someone a good afternoon

Wünsche Ihnen einen schönen Nachmittag” (I wish you a nice afternoon) is more of a parting chunk than a greeting.

Pronunciation:

It’s a warm way to wish someone well for the rest of their afternoon. This phrase is useful in service situations, like:

  • at the end of a meal in a restaurant
  • or when saying goodbye to someone you won’t see again for the rest of the day.

Let’s explore this situation:

Sophia: Danke für den Kaffee. Ich muss jetzt gehen. (Thanks for the coffee. I have to go now.)
Anna: Kein Problem. Schönen Nachmittag noch! (No problem. Have a nice afternoon!)

4. Grüß Gott (Greetings) – A common way to say good afternoon in Austria

In Austria, and parts of Bavaria, “Grüß Gott” is a traditional greeting that can be heard throughout the day.

Pronunciation:

This expression literally means “Greet God”. It’s more of a greeting in the mentioned local cultures and is used as a general greeting.

An imaginary conversation in Austria would look like:

Lena: Grüß Gott! Kann ich bitte zwei Tickets für das Schloss Schönbrunn kaufen? (Greet God! Can I buy two tickets for Schönbrunn Palace, please?)
Lukas: Grüß Gott! Ja, natürlich. Hier sind Ihre Tickets. (Greet God! Yes, of course. Here are your tickets.)

5. Grüezi (Hello) – Learn German greetings in Switzerland

Switzerland, with its unique linguistic landscape, introduces “Grüezi” (Greetings) in the Swiss-German speaking regions.

good afternoon in german in switzerland

Like “Grüß Gott” in Austria, “Grüezi” is a greeting that can be used at any time of the day. It’s a hallmark of Swiss politeness and a must-know for anyone looking to travel to the Swiss-German cantons.

Pronunciation:

A dialogue with “Grüezi” would sound like this:

Emma: Grüezi, ich hätte gerne einen Tisch für zwei Personen. (Greetings, I would like a table for two.)
Isabella: Grüezi! Ja, gerne. Folgen Sie mir bitte. (Greetings! Yes, gladly. Please follow me.)

6. Words and phrases for the afternoon in German-speaking countries

In these daily interactions, it’s good to always know the right phrases to use in the afternoon. Beside the common ways to say good afternoon in German, there are other chunk that are connected to the afternoon activities in German-speaking regions.

Take a look!

GermanEnglish
Einen schönen Nachmittag noch!Have a nice afternoon!
NachmittagspauseAfternoon break
KaffeezeitCoffee time
Wie war dein Nachmittag?How was your afternoon?
Bis zum Nachmittag!See you in the afternoon!
NachmittagsteeAfternoon tea
Guten Tag! Wie geht’s dir?Good day! How are you?
Schaust du heute Nachmittag Fußball?Are you watching football this afternoon?
Lass uns nachmittags einen Spaziergang machen.Let’s go for a walk in the afternoon.
Haben Sie heute Nachmittag Zeit?Do you have time this afternoon?
Ich treffe mich nachmittags mit Freunden.I’m meeting friends in the afternoon.

7. Practice Worksheet – How do you say good afternoon in German?

Fill in the blanks with the correct phrase!

This is just part of the exercise. Click the button below to get the full exercise and request access to the Full Practice Worksheet Library!

8. Learn more about the German language with Conversation Based Chunking

Learning to say good afternoon in German and familiarizing yourself with the nuances of afternoon greetings can make your cultural appreciation and linguistic abilities better.

Maybe it’s the universally accepted “Guten Tag“, or a more specific afternoon farewell with “Schönen Nachmittag“, you can incorporate these chunks into your everyday conversations with Conversation Based Chunking.

The key with this method is to immerse yourself in the language as much as you can: listen to German podcasts, watch good YouTube channels to learn German, take a look at our reviews of German TV shows and explore our Practice Worksheet Library. You can do all this with the German Conversation Based Chunking Guide.

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