13 Ways to Say Hello in German: Common German Greetings

When learning German, knowing how to greet someone is essential. From the schoolyard and among friends to the solemnity of a scientific conference, the way you say hello in German can change a lot. At Spring German, a project I co-founded, we’ve created a comprehensive video tutorial on introducing yourself in German, covering greetings and hellos.

It’s the starting point of every interaction and offers a peek into the German culture and etiquette – that can be quite different than you’re used to ;). In this blog post, we’ll learn about 13 common ways to say hello in German, and we’ll make sure that you’re prepared for every situation. Let’s make your language toolkit bigger together!

1. How to Say Hello in German – an Effortless Answer

Effortless Answers

The most straightforward and universal way to greet someone informally in German is with “Hallo“. It’s akin to the English “hello” and can be used in a variety of settings among friends, family, and casual acquaintances.

Let’s illustrate that with some dialogue:

  • Maximilian: Hallo, wie geht’s dir? (Hello, how are you?)
  • Sofia: Hallo, mir geht’s gut, danke. Und dir? (Hello, I am good, thanks. And you?)

2. A Common German Greeting During the Day: Guten Tag – Good Day

During daylight hours, “Guten Tag” is the go-to phrase. It’s a common German greeting that strikes a balance between formality and friendliness, making it suitable for both formal and less formal daytime interactions.

Here’s how it sounds in a real-life scenario:

  • Herr Schmidt: Guten Tag, Frau Müller. (Good day, Mrs. Müller.)
  • Frau Müller: Guten Tag, Herr Schmidt. Wie geht es Ihnen heute? (Good day, Mr. Schmidt. How are you today?)

3. Know How to Say Guten Morgen – Good Morning in German

Start your day by sharing a “Guten Morgen” with others. This greeting is commonly used in the morning and can be heard everywhere from bakeries to workplaces as a polite way to acknowledge someone’s presence.

Imagine this exchange:

  • Lucas: Guten Morgen, Anna. (Good morning, Anna.)
  • Anna: Guten Morgen, Lucas. Hast du gut geschlafen? (Good morning, Lucas. Did you sleep well?)

4. Wish Someone a Guten Abend – Good Evening

When the day transitions into evening, “Guten Abend” is the appropriate greeting. It’s a common way to greet someone after the day’s work is done, and it carries a warm sense of respect.

Let’s put this into context with a quick chat:

  • Johanna: Guten Abend, darf ich mich zu Ihnen setzen? (Good evening, may I sit with you?)
  • Gabriel: Natürlich, Guten Abend! (Of course, good evening!)

5. You Can Use Servus in Informal Greetings – Hello or Goodbye

Servus” is an informal way to say hello or goodbye predominant in Austria and some parts of Germany. Its roots lie in Latin, meaning “at your service”.

hello in german is a little bit different in this austrian landscape

Here’s a typical interaction:

  • Jan: Servus, Max! Wie läuft’s? (Hello, Max! How’s it going?)
  • Max: Servus, alles klar hier. Und bei dir? (Hello, all good here. And with you?)
The Conversation Based Chunking method is a way of learning a language by focusing on lexical chunks of words or phrases that are commonly used together, just like you would in a real conversation. Instead of studying grammar rules and vocabulary lists separately, you learn whole phrases that native speakers often use. This could be greetings, common responses, or other everyday sayings. If you get familiar with these chunks, you can start to speak more naturally and understand others better, because you’re learning language in the way it’s actually used in everyday life. Sign up now to learn more about it!

6. A Variation of Regional German Greetings: Grüß Gott – Greet God

Grüß Gott“, literally translating to “Greet God”, is a regional greeting commonly used in Southern Germany and Austria, especially Bavaria. It’s a respectful formality, especially in rural areas.

Consider this conversational snippet:

  • Marie: Grüß Gott, kann ich Ihnen helfen? (Greet God, may I help you?)
  • Francesca: Grüß Gott, ja bitte. Wo finde ich…? (Greet God, yes please. Where can I find…?)

7. Another Way to Say Hello – Moin

Although “Moin” might seem an odd greeting at first glance, it is a beloved informal way to say hello in Northern Germany. Its use cuts across all age groups and is a hallmark of the local culture.

A sample dialogue might go like this:

  • Lena: Moin, schon wach? (Hi, already awake?)
  • Laura: Moin, ja, gerade eben. (Hi, yes, just now.)

8. German Phrases Alone Can Be Greetings: Tag – Day

In some German-speaking countries, a simple “Tag” is enough to greet someone. It’s a shortened form of “Guten Tag” and is used in more informal situations or when you’re in a rush but still want to be polite.

Picturing a common dialogue:

  • Romain: Tag, wie steht’s? (Day, how’s it going?)
  • Bianca: Tag, läuft bei mir. Und selbst? (Day, it’s going well for me. And yourself?)

9. A Simple Way of Saying Hello – Tach

Tach” is another informal way of saying hello, typically heard in Western Germany. It’s an abbreviation of “Guten Tag” and is used in the same casual way to greet friends and acquaintances.

Envisioning this in everyday conversation:

  • Fabian: Tach, lange nicht gesehen! (Hi, long time no see!)
  • Mia: Tach! Ja, wirklich. Wie geht’s? (Hi! Yes, really. How are you?)

11. Mostly in Formal Situations Grüezi – Hello

Grüezi” is a formal way of saying hello prevalent in Swiss German. It conveys a level of formality suitable for business meetings and greeting strangers. Its usage, while widespread in Switzerland, is less common in other German-speaking areas.

hello in german has variations in this swiss landscape

Picture the following back-and-forth:

  • Lisa: Grüezi, ich hätte gerne einen Termin. (Hello, I would like to make an appointment.)
  • David: Grüezi, natürlich. Wann passt es Ihnen? (Hello, of course. When would be convenient for you?)

12. Know How to Say ‘Little Hello’ – Hallöchen

Hallöchen” is a diminutive and endearing way to say hello in German, often used with children or in cheerful informal situations. It’s a playful twist that softens the greeting.

Let’s see all of this in action:

  • Charlotte: Hallöchen, was machst du denn hier? (Hi there, what are you doing here?)
  • Florian: Hallöchen! Ich warte auf einen Freund. (Hi there! I’m waiting for a friend.)

13. Say Hi in German

Hi” has been adopted into German from English and is commonly used among younger people and in casual, friendly settings.

Here’s a practical application of the greeting:

  • Katharina: Hi, Lust auf Kino heute Abend? (Hi, fancy going to the movies tonight?)
  • Tobias: Hi, klar, klingt gut! (Hi, sure, sounds good!)

Practice Worksheet: How do you say Hello in German?

Complete the sentences below with the correct German greeting based on the context provided.

Well, this is just a part of this exercise. Do you want to practice more? Sign up now and get access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

Learn more formal and informal greetings and farewells with Conversation Based Chunking

Time to wrap up! The innovative approach of Conversation Based Chunking™ can boost your efficiency in learning these chunks, and other aspects of the German language. This method emphasizes understanding language in context, helping you become more fluent by absorbing phrases and expressions as they are used in real-life conversations.

We offer a specialized program featuring Conversation Based Chunking™ that streamlines your language learning.

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