92 Basic German Phrases to Survive Your First Conversations (2023)

92 Basic German Phrases to Survive Your First Conversations (1)

Have you ever wanted to learn German?

Or are you planning a trip to a German-speaking country?

To get started and have your first basic conversations in German, you're going to need to learn some words!

In this post, you'll learn 92 basic German phrases and words that will help you on your travels or just at home.

To make it easier for you, I've divided the phrases into different categories.

  1. “I do not understand!” – Getting Out Of Sticky Situations
  2. Numbers In German
  3. Visiting A German Restaurant
  4. Transport – Getting Around In Germany
  5. Asking For Directions
  6. Shopping In German
  7. Dealing with Medical Emergencies
  8. Finding Hidden Gems

Whether you're going to Germany or Austria or Switzerland, chances are you can get by in English.But if you learn basic German too, you'll be able to connect more with German speakers.

Having a few common German phrases will make you experience these countries in a completely different way.

And even at home, learning German will allow you to learn more about German culture and connect with native German speakers in your local community.

You don't need to have a natural flair for language learning. Learning a few key phrases and being able to use them is a great start. And German isn't as hard as its reputation suggests, especially for native English speakers.

You never know, maybe learning these phrases will motivate you to go on and learn to speak German fluently.

Note:Want to go beyond basic German phrases and learn German with confidence and fluency? The best way to do so is by working through a comprehensive and well designed course.

My top recommendation isGerman Uncovered, my in-depth online German course for beginners that teaches you through the power of story. If you’re ready to get started,click here for a 7-day FREE trial.

German Greetings & Introductions

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If you want to make a good impression with German speakers, you'll need a few basic phrases to meet and greet people.

After all, you're going to use greetings every time you have a conversation in German!

These phrases are simple, easy to remember and will help you make new German friends.

#1 HalloHello [any time of day]

#2Hallo, wie geht’s? Hello, how are you?

#3 Guten MorgenGood morning

#4 Guten Tag [lit. good day]Good afternoon

#5 Guten AbendGood evening

#6 Gute NachtGood night

#7 Vielen DankThank you very much

#8 Ich danke Ihnen auchThank you, too [in reply to “thank you” from someone else else]

#9 Tschüss, bis zum nächsten MalGoodbye, see you next time

#10Schönes Wetter heute, nicht wahr? It's lovely weather today, is not it?

#11 Mein Name ist_My name is _____

#12 Ich bin Amerikaner, Kanadier, Engländer (male)I'm American / Canadian / English

#13 Ich bin Amerikanerin, Kanadierin, Engländerin (female)I'm American / Canadian / English

#14Woher kommen Sie? Where are you from?

#15 Freut michNice to meet you!

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“I Do Not Understand!” – Getting Out Of Sticky Situations

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It might seem a little intimidating to speak German, especially if you're new to the language. German people will be understanding if you're struggling to get your message across or catch what they say.

At the same time, don't hesitate to use these expressions to help the conversation run smoothly if you don't understand something or need a little help.

#16 Es tut mir leid, aber ich verstehe nicht I'm sorry, but I do not understand

#17Ich spreche nicht gut DeutschI do not speak German very well

#18Können Sie das bitte wiederholen? Could you say that again please?

#19Können Sie bitte langsamer sprechen? Could you say that more slowly please?

#20Schreiben Sie das bitte für mich aufPlease write that down for me

#21Was bedeutet das? What does that mean?

#22Sprechen Sie Englisch? Do you speak English?

#23Es tut mir leidI'm sorry

#24Ich weiß nicht I do not know

#25 In OrdnungAll right

#26Macht nichtsnever mind

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Numbers In German

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Whether you're at the supermarket, ordering in a restaurant, or just having a normal conversation, it's essential to know how to use numbers in German. Eins, zwei, drei….let's get to it!

  • nullzero
  • einsone
  • zweitwo
  • dreithree
  • vierfour
  • fünffive
  • sechssix
  • sieben seven
  • achteight
  • neunnine
  • zehnten
  • elfeleven
  • zwölftwelve
  • dreizehn thirteen
  • vierzehnfourteen
  • fünfzehnfifteen
  • sechzehnsixteen
  • siebzehnseventeen
  • achtzehneighteen
  • neunzehnnineteen
  • zwanzigtwenty
  • einundzwanzigtwenty-one
  • zweiundzwanzig twenty-two
  • dreiundzwanzigtwenty-three
  • vierundzwanzigtwenty-four
  • fünfundzwanzigtwenty-five
  • sechsundzwanzigtwenty-six
  • siebenundzwanzigtwenty-seven
  • achtundzwanzigtwenty-eight
  • neunundzwanzigtwenty-nine
  • dreißig thirty
  • einunddreißigthirty-one
  • zweiunddreißigthirty-two
  • vierzig forty
  • fünfzig fifty
  • sechzig sixty
  • siebzig seventy
  • achtzig eighty
  • neunzigninety
  • hundertone hundred
  • zweihundertfünfzigtwo hundred and fifty
  • fünfhundertfive hundred
  • siebenhundertdreiundachtzigseven hundred and eighty three
  • tausendone thousand

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Visiting A German Restaurant

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One of the most enjoyable cultural experiences you can have in a German-speaking country is visiting a restaurant and trying out some of the delicious local dishes.

The following phrases cover all the questions and statements you need to make when eating out, from asking for a table to paying the bill!

#27 Ein Tisch für eine Person bitteA table for one, please

#28 Ein Tisch für zwei Personen, bitteA table for two, please

#29Haben Sie schon auf? Are you open yet?

#30Können wir (auf einen Tisch) warten? Can we wait (for a table)?

#31Können wir dort sitzen? Can we sit over there?

#32Entschuldigung! Excuse me! [Calling a waiter]

#33Was empfehlen Sie? What do you recommend?

#34Was ist das beliebteste Gericht? What's your most popular dish?

#35Was ist das? What is this?

#36 Was für Bier haben Sie?What type of beer do you have?

#37 Ein kleines Bier bitteA small beer, please

#38 Ein großes Bier bitteA large beer, please

#39 Bringen Sie mir bitte eine Auswahl von leckeren SachenPlease bring me a selection of nice things

#40 Bitte wählen Sie etwasIt's up to you / You can decide

#41 Die Rechnung, bitteThe bill, please

#42Kann ich bitte die Speisekarte haben? Can I have the menu, please?

By the way, if you're interested in food and drink as it relates to German culture, take a look at this post about Oktoberfest, the world-famous Bavarian beer festival.

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Transport – Getting Around In Germany

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There are lots of practicalities to consider when taking a trip to Germany, including finding your way around. Finding the right train or bus on time isn’t always easy and you don’t want to end up being the ‘foreigner’ who is holding up the ticket queue!

In this section, you’ll learn some key transport phrases that will help you quickly and easily navigate your way around any German-speaking city or country.

#43 Ich möchte nach_____I want to go to

#44 Wann fährt der nächste Zug / Bus nach _____?What time is the next train/bus to __?

#45 Was kostet das?How much is it?

#46 Einmal/ zweimal (nach_____), bitte1 ticket / 2 tickets (to _____), please

#47 Wie lange dauert das?How long does it take?

#48 Wohin muss ich jetzt gehen?Where should I go now?

#49 Wann fährt er ab?When does it leave?

#50 Wie spät ist es (jetzt)?What time is it (now)?

#51 Hält der Zug/ Bus in _?Does this train/bus stop in _____?

#52 Entschuldigen Sie, ist dies_____?Excuse me, is this _____ ? [Useful when you're on the bus / train and are not sure when to get off]

#53Können Sie das bitte für mich aufschreiben? Can you write that down for me?

#54Zeigen Sie mir das bitte auf der Karte? Can you show me on the map?

#55Wo ist _____ auf der Karte? Where is _____ on the map?

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Asking For Directions In German

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Public transport in Germany is notoriously excellent, but there are some places you'll need to walk or drive to yourself. And for most of us, that means occasionally getting lost and asking for directions!

Here are the phrases you need to ask and receive directions in German:

#56Entschuldigung, darf ich Sie etwas fragen? –Excuse me, could I ask you something?

#57Ich möchte nach_____I want to go to _ [If you know the name of your destination]

#58Ich möchte dahinI want to go here [Pointing to your destination on the map]

#59 Ich habe mich verlaufenI'm lost (on foot)

#60 Ich habe mich verfahrenI'm lost (by car)

#61Wie komme ich dahin? How can I get there?

#62Geht es hier lang? Is it this way? [Useful for checking if you're walking in the right direction]

#63Zeigen Sie mir das bitte auf der Karte? Can you show me on the map?

#64 Wo ist__?Where is _ ?

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Whether you're at the supermarket, the shopping centre or the local farmer's market you're going to buy things at some point or another!

And even haggle a bit – just like you would in English. Grab a bargain in German with these sentences.

#65Das gefällt mirI like this

#66Was kostet das? How much is this?

#67 Bitte wiederholen Sie dasCan you say that again please?

#68Schreiben Sie das bitte für mich auf? Can you write that down for me?

#69Und wenn ich das alles kaufe? If I buy these together? [A useful way to knock the price down]

#70 Das ist mir zu teuerit's too expensive for me

#71Geben Sie mir einen Rabatt? Can you give me a discount?

#72Ich suche nach_____I'm looking for a _____

#73Ich schaue mich nur umI'm just looking around

#74 Danke, ich suche noch weiterThank you, I'll keep looking [if you're getting hassled to buy something]

#75 Moment, bitteJust a moment

#76 Ja, bitteYes, please

#77 Nein, dankeNo, thanks

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Dealing With Medical Emergencies In German

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Hopefully, you'll never need the phrases in this section! Nonetheless, it's always good to know some basic medical vocabulary so that you can handle an emergency if you're unwell or have an accident.

#78Können Sie mir bitte helfen? Can you help me, please?

#79 Ich brauche einen ArztI need to see a doctor

#80Es geht mir nicht gutI do not feel well

#81Es geht ihm/ihr nicht gut he / she does not feel well

#82Gibt es ein Krankenhaus in der Nähe? Is there a hospital near here?

#83 Fahren Sie mich bitte zum KrankenhausTake me to the hospital [To a taxi driver]

#84 Es tut hier wehIt hurts here [pointing to body part]

#85 Ich brauche MedizinI need some medicine

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Finally, let's learn a few more phrases that don't fall into any particular category. These final examples of basic vocabulary will allow you to sound more polite and natural.

I've included a couple of questions you can ask the locals, so you can find the hidden gems in their cities and have a more authentic German experience!

#86 Es tut mir leid, Sie zu stören,aber…I'm sorry to bother you, but …

#87Kann ich Sie schnell etwas fragen? Could I ask you something quickly?

#88 Ich suche ein Restaurant mit gutem Essen hier in der NäheI'm looking for a place with good food around here

#89Ich suche ein nettes Café in der NäheI'm looking for a nice cafe in the area

#90 Wissen Sie etwas über _____?Do you know anything about _____ ?

#91 Gibt es hier in der Nähe etwas Interessantes zu sehen?Is there anything interesting to see in this area?

#92 Trotzdem dankeThank you anyway [if the person can not help you]

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Your Next Steps In German

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So there you have it: a collection of German expressions to help you get started on your new adventure!

With these phrases in your back pocket, you'll soon find yourself having your first basic conversations and getting excited about continuing to improve your German.

So now that you've learned the basics, are you ready to take the next step in your German adventure?

I'm a big believer in the power of story to enable you to learn a language. That's why I've created an entire beginner course to help you learn German online by immersing yourself in a compelling story.

It's my German Uncovered course, and it's designed to take you from beginner to B1 Intermediate level.

Click here for more information on the course and how it'll help you.


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