15 Different Ways to Say Thank You in German + How to Respond with You’re Welcome in German (Bonus Audio)

Depending on the situation and of course who you’re talking to, there are numerous ways to say thank you in German. Saying thank you in German and knowing the best response to it is essential. It’s like when we were little and we learned to say thank you for the chocolate from a nice person.

When you start to learn German, it’s like learning a new way to talk, just like learning to speak. Spring German (a project I’m a co-founder) teacher Brunhild has 7 alternative ways to this important chunk:

You start with the basics, like thank you and you’re welcome, and then you learn more words and ways to say the same thing. There are different ways to say thank you in any language, and German is no exception.

We’re going to find out the best ways to say thank you in German.

1. Danke – Thank you

Danke” is the cornerstone of expressing gratitude in German. It’s simple and versatile, suitable for most everyday situations.

Effortless Answers

Danke” (Thank you in German) is the most common way to express gratitude and can be used in a variety of contexts. It’s a safe choice when you’re unsure which level of formality to use.

Let’s look at how we might use “Danke” in a conversation. Imagine you’re at a café in Berlin and you’ve just been served your coffee:

  • Waitress: Hier ist Ihr Kaffee. (Here is your coffee.)
  • You: Danke, das sieht lecker aus! (Thank you, that looks delicious!)

Or if a friend has done you a favor:

  • Friend: Ich habe deinen Schlüssel gefunden. (I found your key.)
  • You: Oh, danke! Du bist ein Lebensretter. (Oh, thank you! You’re a lifesaver.)

Danke” can be used in a wide range of contexts, from the most casual to more formal situations.

2. Danke schön – Thank you kindly

When “danke” isn’t enough, this phrase adds extra gratitude. “Danke schön” (Thank you kindly) carries a tone of elegance and is slightly more formal than a simple “danke.”

Here’s an example of how it might be used in a conversation:

  • Waiter: Ich habe Ihnen das zusätzliche Glas Wein gebracht, das Sie bestellt haben. (I brought you the extra glass of wine that you ordered.)
  • You: Danke schön, das ist sehr aufmerksam von Ihnen! (Thank you kindly, that’s very thoughtful of you!)

Or if you’re receiving a gift from a close relative:

  • Relative: Hier ist das Buch, das du immer wolltest. (Here’s the book that you always wanted.)
  • You: Danke schön! Das bedeutet mir viel. (Thank you kindly! This means a lot to me.)

The phrase “danke schön” is best used in instances where you want to express a deeper level of thanks or when the situation calls for something more formal than a simple “danke”.

3. Danke sehr – Thank you very much

Danke sehr” (Thank you very much) intensifies the feeling of gratitude, best used when someone has gone out of their way for you.

  • Neighbor: Ich habe Ihre Post aufgehoben, während Sie im Urlaub waren. (I collected your mail while you were on vacation.)
  • You: Danke sehr! Das war wirklich hilfreich. (Thank you very much! That was really helpful.)

This phrase is particularly useful when you want to emphasize the gratitude you feel for a favor or a kind act.

thank you in german danke held up high in the air

4. Vielen dank – Many thanks

Vielen dank” is perhaps one of the most versatile expressions of gratitude in the German language.

It is commonly used and understood by all German speakers.

  • Friend: Ich habe dein Auto gewaschen, während du weg warst. (I washed your car while you were away.)
  • You: Vielen dank! Das war eine große Hilfe. (Many thanks! That was a big help.)

Or in a professional setting:

  • Colleague: Ich habe den Bericht fertig gestellt, den du benötigt hast. (I’ve completed the report you needed.)
  • You: Vielen dank! Das erleichtert mir die Arbeit enorm. (Many thanks! That greatly eases my work.)

Vielen dank” is used to express a high degree of gratitude and is suitable for both informal and formal situations. It is a good phrase to use when you want to express strong appreciation for a favor or a kind act.

5. Herzlichen dank – Heartfelt thanks

Herzlichen dank” is a warm, heartfelt expression of gratitude that carries a sense of deep appreciation.

  • Friend: Ich habe dein Zimmer aufgeräumt, während du weg warst. (I cleaned your room while you were away.)
  • You: Herzlichen dank! Du hast mir wirklich sehr geholfen. (Heartfelt thanks! You really helped me a lot.)

In a formal context, it can be used in a similar manner:

  • Boss: Ich habe Ihren Termin auf morgen verschoben, damit Sie heute früher nach Hause gehen können. (I moved your appointment to tomorrow so you can go home earlier today.)
  • Employee: Herzlichen dank! Das bedeutet mir viel. (Heartfelt thanks! That means a lot to me.)

The phrase “herzlichen dank” is used to express profound gratitude and is suitable for both informal and formal situations.

6. Ich danke dir – I thank you

Ich danke dir” can be translated to “I thank you” in English.

It is a direct and personal expression used to show gratitude.

  • Friend: Ich habe dir ein Geschenk aus meinem Urlaub mitgebracht. (I brought you a gift from my holiday.)
  • You: Wirklich? Ich danke dir! Das ist sehr nett von dir. (Really? I thank you! That’s very kind of you.)

In a formal context, it would be used like this:

  • Colleague: Ich habe den Fehler in der Datenbank korrigiert. (I have corrected the error in the database.)
  • You: Ich danke dir für deine Hilfe und Unterstützung. (I thank you for your help and support.)

The phrase is a simple and direct way to express gratitude in both informal and formal situations. It emphasizes the speaker’s personal acknowledgment of the favor or kindness shown by the other person.

7. Ich danke Ihnen – I thank You

This phrase is typically used in a formal context.

  • Interviewer: Wir freuen uns, Sie in unserem Team willkommen zu heißen. (We are pleased to welcome you to our team.)
  • You: Ich danke Ihnen für diese Gelegenheit. Ich freue mich darauf, mit Ihnen zusammenzuarbeiten. (I thank you for this opportunity. I look forward to working with you.)

This phrase acknowledges the respect the speaker has for the person being addressed.

8. Besten dank – Best thanks

Besten dank” is an idiom that conveys profound gratitude.

Here’s how to use it in a conversation:

  • Neighbor: Ich habe Ihr Paket angenommen, während Sie weg waren. (I received your package while you were away.)
  • You: Besten dank, das war sehr hilfsbereit von Ihnen! (Best thanks, that was very helpful of you!)

In a formal context, it might look like this:

  • Boss: Ich habe Ihren Urlaubsantrag genehmigt. (I have approved your leave request.)
  • You: Besten dank, ich schätze Ihre Unterstützung sehr. (Best thanks, I greatly appreciate your support.)
thank you in german gratitude in fall season illustration

9. Danke vielmals – Thank you very much

Danke vielmals” is a polite way to express intense gratitude towards another person.

  • Friend: Ich habe dir deine Lieblingskekse vom Markt mitgebracht. (I brought you your favorite cookies from the market.)
  • You: Danke vielmals! Das war sehr aufmerksam von dir! (Thank you very much! That was very thoughtful of you!)

In a formal context, it might look like this:

  • Colleague: Ich habe den Bericht für dich fertiggestellt und an den Manager gesendet. (I have completed the report for you and sent it to the manager.)
  • You: Danke vielmals, Ich schätze deine Hilfe wirklich! (Thank you very much, I really appreciate your help!)

The phrase “danke vielmals” is a polite and profound way to express gratitude, appropriate for both casual and formal situations.

10. Tausend dank – A thousand thanks

Tausend dank” is quite a hyperbolic way to express gratitude in German. This phrase is used to show extreme gratitude and is suitable in both formal and informal situations.

In an informal context, it might look like this:

  • Friend: Ich habe dein Fahrrad repariert. (I fixed your bicycle.)
  • You: Tausend dank! Du hast mir einen großen Gefallen getan. (A thousand thanks! You did me a great favor.)

In a formal context, it could be:

  • Boss: Ich habe Ihre Überstunden in zusätzlichen Urlaub umgewandelt. (I have converted your overtime into additional vacation.)
  • You: Tausend dank, das ist sehr großzügig von Ihnen. (A thousand thanks, that’s very generous of you.)

The term “tausend dank” is a strong way to express gratitude, and though it’s used less frequently than other phrases, it’s quite effective when used in the right context.

11. Danke im Voraus – Thanks in advance

This phrase is used when you want to express gratitude for something that has not yet occurred but is expected to happen.

Here are examples of its use in both informal and formal contexts:

  • Friend: Ich werde später am Abend einkaufen gehen. (I will go shopping later in the evening.)
  • You: Könntest du bitte für mich etwas Milch mitbringen? Danke im Voraus! (Could you please bring some milk for me? Thanks in advance!)

In a formal context, it could be:

  • Colleague: Ich plane, die Besprechungsprotokolle bis morgen zu vervollständigen. (I plan to complete the meeting minutes by tomorrow.)
  • You: Könntest du mir bitte eine Kopie davon schicken, sobald sie fertig sind? Danke im Voraus. (Could you please send me a copy once they are ready? Thanks in advance.)

This phrase, “danke im Voraus” is a polite way of expressing gratitude for a future action, often used when making requests.

12. Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar – I am very grateful to you

The phrase is used when you want to express profound gratitude to someone for a significant favor or act of kindness.

Here are examples of its use in both informal and formal contexts:

  • Friend: Ich habe dir deinen Lieblingskuchen gebacken. (I baked your favorite cake for you.)
  • You: Ich bin dir sehr dankbar, das war so wunderschön von dir! (I am very grateful to you, that was so wonderful of you!)

Formal:

  • Boss: Ich habe Ihre Bewerbung für die Beförderung in Betracht gezogen. (I have considered your application for the promotion.)
  • You: Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar für diese Gelegenheit. (I am very grateful to you for this opportunity.)

Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar” shows a deeper level of gratitude and is appropriate when someone has gone above and beyond in helping you.

13. Das war sehr aufmerksam von dir! – That was very thoughtful of you!

Das war sehr aufmerksam von dir” phrase is used to express appreciation for someone’s considerate action or gesture.

In an informal setting:

  • Friend: Ich habe dir deinen Lieblingskaffee mitgebracht. (I brought you your favorite coffee.)
  • You: Das war sehr aufmerksam von dir. Vielen dank! (That was very thoughtful of you. Thank you!)

In a more formal situation:

  • Colleague: Ich habe die Dateien, die Sie benötigen, bereits in Ihren Ordner verschoben. (I moved the files that you need to your folder.)
  • You: Das war sehr aufmerksam von Ihnen. Vielen dank! (That was very thoughtful of you. Thank you!)

This phrase recognises someone’s effort to be considerate, fostering a positive and appreciative dialogue.

14. Wie nett von Ihnen, sich darum zu kümmern – How nice of you to take care of it

This alternative of thank you in German expresses gratitude when someone assumes responsibility for a task.

In an informal conversation:

  • Neighbor: Ich habe Ihren Müll rausgebracht, während Sie weg waren. (I took out your trash while you were away.)
  • You: Wie nett von Ihnen, sich darum zu kümmern. Vielen dank! (How nice of you to take care of it. Thank you!)

In a formal context:

  • Assistant: Ich habe den Termin für Ihre nächste Besprechung festgelegt. (I’ve scheduled your next meeting.)
  • You: Wie nett von Ihnen, sich darum zu kümmern. Ich schätze das sehr. (How nice of you to take care of it. I appreciate that very much.)

This “thank you” expression shows appreciation for someone’s initiative and responsibility.

15. Ich möchte mich recht herzlich bedanken – I would like to express my heartfelt thanks

It signifies deep gratitude and is appropriate in both formal and informal contexts.

In an informal conversation:

  • Friend: Ich habe dir eine Suppe gemacht, weil du krank bist. (I made you some soup because you’re sick.)
  • You: Ich möchte mich recht herzlich bedanken. Das hat mir sehr geholfen. (I would like to express my heartfelt thanks. That helped me a lot.)

In a formal conversation:

  • Boss: Ich habe Ihren Urlaubsantrag genehmigt. (I’ve approved your vacation request.)
  • You: Ich möchte mich recht herzlich bedanken. Das bedeutet mir sehr viel. (I would like to express my heartfelt thanks. This means a lot to me.)

Ich möchte mich recht herzlich bedanken” is a phrase that conveys a strong sense of gratitude and is a powerful way to thank someone in German.

16. Bitte and Gern Geschehen – You’re welcome in German and My pleasure: how to respond to thank you in German

It could also easily happen that you are on the other side of “Danke” in German, meaning that you need to learn how to respond to thank you.

Here are the two most common alternatives:

Bitte – You’re welcome

In an informal setting:

  • Friend: Danke für deine Hilfe beim Umzug. (Thanks for your help with moving.)
  • You: Bitte. Es war keine große Sache. (You’re welcome. It was no big deal.)

In a formal context:

  • Colleague: Danke, dass Sie den Bericht überprüft haben. (Thank you for checking the report.)
  • You: Bitte. Es war mir eine Freude. (You’re welcome. It was my pleasure.)

Gern geschehen – My pleasure

In an informal setting:

  • Sibling: Danke, dass du mein Zimmer aufgeräumt hast. (Thanks for cleaning up my room.)
  • You: Gern geschehen. Wir sind doch eine Familie. (My pleasure. We are family after all.)

In a formal context:

  • Client: Vielen Dank für die rasche Bearbeitung meiner Anfrage. (Thank you very much for the prompt handling of my inquiry.)
  • You: Gern geschehen. Ihre Zufriedenheit ist unsere Priorität. (My pleasure. Your satisfaction is our priority.)

17. Learn gratitude in German and say thanks in multiple forms with Conversation Based Chunking

Expressing gratitude in German, especially through the use of “danke” and its associated responses, can be effectively learned through Conversation Based Chunking method. This method promotes the understanding and use of language as it occurs naturally in dialogue, rather than isolated words.

By examining and practicing phrases like “danke“, “bitte“, and “gern geschehen” in the context of conversations, learners can understand their own nuances and proper usage of the language more intuitively. This approach also provides insights into cultural practices linked to expressing thankfulness in German-speaking societies.

Download the Conversation Based Chunking now and learn the most important chunks in German!

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