7 Different Ways to Say Like in German: Use Mögen, Gefallen, Gern (Examples Included)

You like beer, you like football, you like delicious German food. But how do you say all of this German?

Mugridge language made a video on how you can say you like something in German:

There’s certainly a lot more than this to the topic. What if you want to compare two or more things in German? Do you use a word for like in German, too? In this blog post, we’ll share 6 ways to say like in German – every one of these ways will be shared with at least one example.

1. Mögen (to like)

Effortless Answers

The verb “mögen” is the most straightforward way to say “to like” in German.

It’s used all the time in German conversations and is good for almost an topic: from liking German food and activities to people and even objects.

Mögen could work like this in a real conversation:

Anna: Magst du italienisches Essen? (Anna: Do you like Italian food?)
Paul: Ja, ich mag besonders Pizza und Pasta. (Paul: Yes, I especially like pizza and pasta.)

2. Gern haben (to like – affection or fondness)

Gern haben” is a phrase that translates to “to like” and is mainly used when you’re referring to how you feel about people or things. Just like we stated, gern haben is used to express some kind of affection or fondness to your dialogue partner.

When in a real dialogue:

Sophie: Hast du deinen neuen Kollegen gern? (Sophie: Do you like your new colleague?)
Jonas: Ja, ich habe ihn wirklich gern. Er ist sehr freundlich. (Jonas: Yes, I really like him. He is very friendly.)

3. Gefallen (to please, to appeal to)

The verb “gefallen” is used when you want to talk about something that pleases you or appeals to you.

The construction is somewhat different because “gefallen” is a dative verb, which means the thing that is liked is the subject, and the person who likes it is in the dative case.

It’s not that complex, if you use it in a real context:

Clara: Gefällt dir das neue Buch, das du liest? (Clara: Do you like the new book you are reading?)
Tom: Ja, es gefällt mir sehr. Es ist sehr spannend. (Tom: Yes, I like it a lot. It is very exciting.)

4. Lieber mögen (to prefer)

Lieber mögen” means “to prefer” and is you can add it to your German sentences when you like something more than something else. It’s a way to express a preference among options but it’s not the same as using ‘wie‘ – a little later on that!

an emoji icon expressing like in german

Check how this one works:

Lisa: Möchtest du Kaffee oder Tee? (Lisa: Would you like coffee or tea?)
Max: Ich mag Kaffee lieber als Tee. (Max: I prefer coffee to tea.)

5. Lust haben auf (to feel like)

This phrase translates to “to feel like” and is used to say a desire or craving for something specific. You can use Lust haben auf for foods or activities.

Like this:

Katrin: Hast du Lust auf ein Eis? (Katrin: Do you feel like having an ice cream?)
Markus: Ja, ich habe große Lust auf Erdbeereis. (Markus: Yes, I really feel like having strawberry ice cream.)

6. Stehen auf (to like, informal)

Stehen auf” is more of an informal way to say to like in German and is mainly used among younger generations now. You could use it to talk about your interests, preferences, or even for romantic attractions.

You can check German slangs on our website.

Let’s imagine a conversation between two youngsters:

Nina: Stehst du auf diese Band? (Nina: Do you like this band?)
Felix: Ja, ich stehe total auf ihre Musik. (Felix: Yes, I really like their music.)

7. Wie (like – for comparisons, describing and idiomatic expressions)

And now, let’s talk a bit more about the most complex word for like in German: wie.

The word “wie” in German is used for comparisons and expressions of similarity. It can also be translated as like in German, but it’s not for expressing your feelings or emotions. Rather, it’s for something else.

Comparisons with wie

“Wie” is used to compare things or people, similar to “like” or “as” in English.

Sebastian: Du läufst schnell wie ein Blitz! (Sebastian: You run fast like lightning!)
Maria: Danke! Ich trainiere jeden Tag. (Maria: Thanks! I train every day.)

Describing how something is done

“Wie” can describe the manner or method in which something is done.

Anna: Kannst du mir zeigen, wie man das macht? (Anna: Can you show me how to do that?)
Paul: Natürlich, ich zeige es dir gern. (Paul: Of course, I’d be happy to show you.)

Equating states or qualities with wie

Wie” can also be used to indicate that two states or qualities are equal or similar. It’s often combined with ‘so’ (so… wie) for emphasis.

Sophie: Dein Kleid ist so schön wie meines. (Sophie: Your dress is as beautiful as mine.)
Laura: Danke, ich habe es gestern gekauft. (Laura: Thanks, I bought it yesterday.)

Expressing examples

Wie” can also be used to introduce examples that illustrate a point, similar to “like” or “such as” in English.

Clara: Ich mag Obst wie Äpfel und Bananen. (Clara: I like fruits such as apples and bananas.)
Tom: Ich auch, besonders Bananen. (Tom: Me too, especially bananas.)

Idiomatic expressions with ‘wie’

There are various idiomatic expressions using “wie” to express likeness or manner.

Nina: Er isst wie ein Pferd. (Nina: He eats like a horse.)
Felix: Ja, er hat immer großen Hunger. (Felix: Yes, he’s always very hungry.)

Practice worksheet for saying like in German

Fill in the blanks with the correct phrases!

If you want to practice more, you can request the full practice worksheet for this blog post!

Use different vocabulary for like in German with Conversation Based Chunking

To truly internalize these expressions, consider using Conversation Based Chunking, a method that breaks down language learning into manageable, conversational pieces.

Practice these phrases in real-life contexts and conversations! Soon, you’ll find the becoming a second nature.

The CBC method helps you to boost your confidence in everyday interactions but will also help you get closer to German culture!

Ready to take your German to the next level? Sign up now!

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