92 Basic German Phrases To Survive Your First Conversation With A Native Speaker

basic german phrasesHave you always wanted to learn German?

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

In order 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 about 92 basic German phrases and words that can help you have your first interactions in the language.

To make it easier for you, I’ve divided the phrases up into different categories based on the different situations they’re used in:

  1. German Greetings & Introductions
  2. “I Don’t Understand!” – Getting Out Of Sticky Situations
  3. Numbers In German
  4. Visiting A German Restaurant
  5. Transport – Getting Around In Germany
  6. Asking For Directions
  7. Shopping In German
  8. Dealing With Medical Emergencies
  9. Finding Hidden Gems

Whether you are going to Germany or Austria or Switzerland, chances are you’ll find some of the locals can speak a pretty good English. But if you speak some German too, you’ll be able to have much more enjoyable and authentic experiences when you travel.

Having a few common German phrases up your sleeve when you are travelling or starting out in the language allows you to experience local culture and hospitality in a completely different way.

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

You don’t need to have a natural flair for languages. Learning a few key phrases and a being willing to speak the language is all you need to get started.

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

To make it as easy as possible for you to practice these phrases in your German conversations, I’ve created audio of the phrases and a special PDF version of this article save on your phone to listen to and read anywhere, anytime and practice your German.

Note: The anglicised pronunciation’s listed for each phrase is approximate. There are certain aspects of German pronunciation (such as the ‘ch’ sound, for example) which are unique sounds not used in English. In order to get a clear understanding of how each of the words and phrases in this post are pronounced, I’ve created a set of free audio files to accompany the post. To download these for free, just click here.

German Greetings & Introductionsgerman greetings

If you want to make a good impression with German speakers, the least you can do is learn a few basic phrases to meet and greet people.

After all, you’re going to be using greetings every time you have a conversation in German!

These phrases are simple, easy to remember and will go a long way to help you make friends and have your first conversations in the language.

  • #1 Hallo – Hello [any time of day]
    • (ha-low)
  • #2 Hallo, wie geht’s? – Hello, how are you?
    • (ha-low, vee gits?)
  • #3 Guten Morgen -Good morning
    • (goot’n maw-g’n)
  • #4 Guten Tag [lit. good day] – Good afternoon
    • (goot’n tag)
  • #5 Guten Abend – Good evening
    • (goot’n ab’nd)
  • #6 Gute Nacht – Good night
    • (goot-eh na-kht)
  • #7 Vielen Dank – Thank you very much
    • (vee-len dank)
  • #8 Ich danke Ihnen auch – Thank you, too [in reply to “thank you” from someone else]
    • (ikh dank-eh ee-nen auk)
  • #9 Tschüss, bis zum nächsten Mal – Goodbye, see you next time
    • (choos, bis zum nayk-sten mal)
  • #10 Schönes Wetter heute, nicht wahr? – It’s lovely weather today, isn’t it?
    • (schoo-nes vet-ter hoy-teh nikht vaar?)
  • #11 Mein Name ist _ – My name is _____
    • (Mine nah-mah ist _____)
  • #12 Ich bin Amerikaner, Kanadier, Engländer (male) – I’m American/Canadian/English
    • (ikh bin Ameri-kAh-ner, Kan-Ah-dee-er, Eng-lan-der)
  • #13 Ich bin Amerikanerin, Kanadierin, Engländerin (female) – I’m American/Canadian/English
    • (ikh bin Ameri-kAh-ner-in, Kan-Ah-dee-er-in, Eng-lan-der-in)
  • #14 Woher kommen Sie? – Where are you from?
    • (wo-her kom-men zee?)
  • #15 Freut mich – Nice to meet you!
    • (froyt mikh)
  • #16 Ich habe viel Spaß! – I’m having a great time!
    • (Ikh ha-buh vee-el shpaa)

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“I Don’t Understand!” – Getting Out Of Sticky SituationsI don't understand

Not understanding things is a very normal part of learning a new language – something every new German learner will experience! This can seem frustrating and embarrassing at first but knowing these key phrases will help you remain in control of the situation and make a huge difference.

  • #16 Sorry, aber ich verstehe nicht – I’m sorry, but I don’t understand
    • (Sorry, ah-ber ikh ver-shte-he nikht)
  • #17 Ich spreche nicht gut Deutsch – I don’t speak German very well
    • (ikh spre-kuh nikht goot doytch)
  • #18 Können Sie das bitte wiederholen? – Could you say that again please?
    • (Kun-nen zee das bi-tuh vee-der-ho-len?)
  • #19 Können Sie bitte langsamer sprechen? – Could you say that more slowly please?
    • (Kun-nen zee bi-tuh lang-za-mar shpre-kuhn?)
  • #20 Schreiben Sie das bitte für mich auf – Please write that down for me
    • (Schrii-ben zee das bi-tuh fur mikh auv)
  • #21 Was bedeutet das? – What does that mean?
    • (Vas be-doy-tet das?)
  • #22 Sprechen Sie Englisch? – Do you speak English?
    • (spre-kehn zee eng-lisch?)
  • #23 Es tut mir leid – I’m sorry
    • (Es toot mir lied)
  • #24 Ich weiß nicht – I don’t know
    • (Ikh vies nikht)
  • #25 In Ordnung – All right
    • (In Ord-nung)
  • #26 Macht nichts – Never mind
    • (makht nikhts)

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Numbers In Germangerman numbers

Whether you’re at the supermarket, ordering in a restaurant, buying transport tickets or just having a normal conversation, it’s essential to know how to use numbers in German. Let’s get to it!

  • null – zero
    • (null)
  • eins – one
    • (i-ens)
  • zwei– two
    • (tz-vay)
  • drei – three
    • (drr-ay)
  • vier – four
    • (fee-er)
  • fünf – five
    • (fuhnf)
  • sechs – six
    • (zex)
  • sieben – seven
    • (zee-b’n)
  • acht – eight
    • (akht)
  • neun – nine
    • (noyn)
  • zehn – ten
    • (tzen)
  • elf – eleven
    • (elf)
  • zwölf – twelve
    • (z-welf)
  • dreizehn – thirteen
    • (drr-ay-tzen)
  • vierzehn – fourteen
    • (veer-tzen)
  • fünfzehn – fifteen
    • (fuhnf-tzen)
  • sechzehn – sixteen
    • (zekh-tzen)
  • siebzehn – seventeen
    • (zeeb-tzen)
  • achtzehn – eighteen
    • (akht-tzen)
  • neunzehn – nineteen
    • (noyn-tzen)
  • zwanzig – twenty
    • (tzan-tzig)
  • einundzwanzig – twenty-one
    • (eyn-und-tzan-tzig)
  • zweiundzwanzig – twenty-two
    • (tz-vay-und-tzan-tzig)
  • dreuundzwanzig – twenty-three
    • (drr-ay-und-tzan-tzig)
  • vierundzwanzig – twenty-four
    • (veer-und-tzan-tzig)
  • fünfundzwanzig – twenty-five
    • (fuhnf-und-tzan-tzig)
  • sechsundzwanzig – twenty-six
    • (zekh-und-tzan-tzig)
  • seibenundzwanzig – twenty-seven
    • (zeeb-und-tzan-tzig)
  • achtundzwanzig – twenty-eight
    • (akht-und-tzan-tzig)
  • neunundzwanzig – twenty-nine
    • (noyn-und-tzan-tzig)
  • dreißig – thirty
    • (drr-ays-ig)
  • einunddreißig – thirty-one
    • (eyn-und-drr-ays-ig)
  • zweiunddreißig – thirty-two
    • (tz-vay-und-drr-ays-ig)
  • vierzig – forty
    • (veer-tzig)
  • fünfzig – fifty
    • (fuhnf-tzig)
  • sechzig – sixty
    • (zekh-tzig)
  • siebzig – seventy
    • (zeeb-tzig)
  • achtzig – eighty
    • (acht-tzig)
  • neunzig– ninety
    • (noyn-tzig)
  • hundert – one hundred
    • (hun-dert)
  • zweihundertfünfzig – two hundred and fifty
    • (tz-vay-hun-dert-fuhnf-tzig)
  • fünfhundert – five hundred
    • (fuhnf-hun-dert)
  • siebenhundertdreiundachtzig – seven hundred and eighty three
    • (zee-ben-hun-dert-drr-ay-und-akht-tzig)
  • tausend – one thousand
    • (tau-s’nd)

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Visiting A German Restaurantgerman restaurant

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

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

  • #27 Ein Tisch für eine Person bitte – A table for one, please
    • (eyn tish fuhr eyn-a per-zown bi-tuh)
  • #28 Ein Tisch für zwei Personen, bitte – A table for two, please
    • (eyn tish fuhr tzvay per-zown-en bi-tuh)
  • #29 Haben Sie schon auf? – Are you open yet?
    • (ha-ben zee schun auf?)
  • #30 Können wir (auf einen Tisch) warten? – Can we wait (for a table)?
    • (ko-nen vir auf eyn-en tish var-ten?)
  • #31 Können wir dort sitzen? – Can we sit over there?
    • (ko-nen vir dort zit-tzen?)
  • #32 Entschuldigung! – Excuse me! [Calling a waiter]
    • (ent-schuld-ee-gung!)
  • #33 Was empfehlen Sie? – What do you recommend?
    • (vas em-fEE-len zee?)
  • #34 Was ist das beliebteste Gericht? – What’s your most popular dish?
    • (vas ist das be-lee-eb-test-uh ger-eekht?)
  • #35 Was ist das? – What is this?
    • (vas ist das)
  • #36 Was für Bier haben Sie? – What type of beer do you have?
    • (vas fuhr bee-er ha-ben zee?)
  • #37 Ein kleines Bier bitte – A small beer, please
    • (eyn kleyn-uhs bee-er bi-tuh)
  • #38 Ein großes Bier bitte – A large beer, please
    • (eyn grro-ses bee-er bi-tuh)
  • #39 Bringen Sie mir bitte eine Auswahl von leckeren Sachen – Please bring me a selection of nice things
    • (bring-en zee mir bi-tuh eyn-uh aus-vahl von leck-er-en za-khen)
  • #40 Bitte wählen Sie etwas – It’s up to you/You can decide
    • (bi-tuh veeh-len zee et-vas)
  • #41 Die Rechnung, bitte – The bill, please
    • (dee rekh-nung, bi-tuh)
  • #42 Kann ich bitte die Speisekarte haben? – Can I have the menu, please?
    • (kan ikh bi-tuh dee spiis-uh-kar-tuh ha-ben?)

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Transport – Getting Around In Germanygerman transport

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, we’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
    • (Ikh muhkh-tuh nakh _____)
  • #44 Wann fährt der nächste Zug / Bus nach _____? – What time is the next train/bus to __?
    • (Vann fehrt der naykh-stuh tzoog/bus nakh _____?)
  • #45 Was kostet das? – How much is it?
    • (vas kos-tet das?)
  • #46 Einmal/ zweimal (nach _____), bitte – 1 ticket / 2 tickets (to _____), please
    • eyn-mal/tz-vay-mal nakh, bi-tuh)
  • #47 Wie lange dauert das? – How long does it take?
    • (vee lang-uh dau-ert das?)
  • #48 Wohin muss ich jetzt gehen? – Where should I go now?
    • (vo-hin muss ikh yetz gay’n?)
  • #49 Wann fährt er ab? – When does it leave?
    • (van fehrt er ab?)
  • #50 Wie spät ist es (jetzt)? – What time is it (now)?
    • (vee spayt ist es yetz?)
  • #51 Hält der Zug/ Bus in _? – Does this train/bus stop in _____?
    • (haylt der zoog/bus in _____?)
  • #52 Entschuldigen Sie, ist dies _____? – Excuse me, is this _____? [Useful when you’re on the bus/train and aren’t sure when to get off]
    • (ent-schul-dig’n zee, ist dees _____?)
  • #53 Können Sie das bitte für mich aufschreiben? – Can you write that down for me?
    • (kun-nen zee das bi-tuh fuhr mikh auf-schri-ben?)
  • #54 Zeigen Sie mir das bitte auf der Karte? – Can you show me on the map?
    • (zay-gen zee mir das bi-tuh auf der karr-tuh)
  • #55 Wo ist _____ auf der Karte? – Where is _____ on the map?
    • (Vo ist _ auf der karr-tuh?)

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Asking For Directionslooking for directions

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

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

  • #56 Entschuldigung, darf ich Sie etwas fragen? Excuse me, could I ask you something?
    • (ent-schul-di-gung, daf ikh zee et-vas frra-gen?)
  • #57 Ich möchte nach _____– I want to go to _ [If you know the name of your destination]
    • (ikh muhkh-tuh nakh _____)
  • #58 Ich möchte dahin – I want to go here [Pointing to your destination on the map]
    • (ikh muhkh-tuh da-hin)
  • #59 Ich habe mich verlaufen – I’m lost (on foot)
    • (ikh ha-buh mikh ver-lau-fen)
  • #60 Ich habe mich verfahren – I’m lost (by car)
    • (ikh ha-buh mikh ver-fah-ren)
  • #61 Wie komme ich dahin? – How can I get there?
    • (vee kom-muh ikh da-hin?)
  • #62 Geht es hier lang? – Is it this way? [Useful for checking if you’re walking in the right direction]
    • (Gey es hee-er lang?)
  • #63 Zeigen Sie mir das bitte auf der Karte? – Can you show me on the map?
    • (zee-gen zee mir das bi-tuh auf der kar-tuh)
  • #64 Wo ist __? – Where is _?
    • (vo ist _?)

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Shopping In Germangerman shop

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

To do this, you need to be able to ask questions [and even haggle a bit!] just like you would in English.

  • #65 Das gefällt mir – I like this
    • (das ge-faylt mir)
  • #66 Was kostet das? – How much is this?
    • (vas kos-tet das?)
  • #67 Bitte wiederholen Sie das – Can you say that again please?
    • (bi-tuh vee-der-ho-len zee das)
  • #68 Schreiben Sie das bitte für mich auf? – Can you write that down for me?
    • (schree-ben zee das bi-tuh fuhr mikh auf?)
  • #69 Und wenn ich das alles kaufe? – If I buy these together? [A useful way to knock the price down]
    • (und venn ikh das alles kau-fuh?)
  • #70 Das ist mir zu teuer – It’s too expensive for me
    • (das ist mir tzu toy-uer)
  • #71 Geben Sie mir einen Rabatt? – Can you give me a discount?
    • (gay-ben zee mir eye-nen rrab-att?)
  • #72 Ich suche nach _____ – I’m looking for a _____
    • (ikh zukh-uh nakh _)
  • #73 Ich schaue mich nur um – I’m just looking around
    • (ikh schau-uh mikh nur um)
  • #74 Danke, ich suche noch weiter – Thank you, I’ll keep looking [when you’re getting hassled to buy something]
    • (dan-kuh, ikh zukh-uh nokh vai-ter)
  • #75 Moment, bitte – Just a moment
    • (mo-ment, bi-tuh)
  • #76 Ja, bitte – Yes, please
    • (ya, bi-tuh)
  • #77 Nein, danke – No, thanks
    • (nyn, dan-kuh)

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Dealing With Medical Emergenciesgerman medical emergency

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

  • #78 Können Sie mir bitte helfen? – Can you help me, please?
    • (kuh-nen zee mir bi-tug hel-fen?)
  • #79 Ich brauche einen Arzt – I need to see a doctor
    • (ikh brau-khuh eyn-en art-zt)
  • #80 Es geht mir nicht gut – I don’t feel well
    • (es get mir nikht goot)
  • #81 Es geht ihm/ihr nicht gut – He/she doesn’t feel well
    • (es get im/ir nikht goot)
  • #82 Gibt es ein Krankenhaus in der Nähe? – Is there a hospital near here?
    • (gib-t es eyn krank-haus in der nay-uh?)
  • #83 Fahren Sie mich bitte zum Krankenhaus – Take me to the hospital please [To a taxi driver]
    • (fah-ren zee mikh bi-tuh zum krank-en-haus)
  • #84 Es tut hier weh – It hurts here [pointing to body part]
    • (es toot heer veh)
  • #85 Ich brauche Medizin – I need some medicine
    • (ikh brau-kuh med-ee-tzin)

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Finding Hidden Gemsgerman cafe

Finally, let’s learn a few additional German phrases that don’t fall into any particular category. These final phrases will allow you to sound more polite and natural. I’ve also 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 …
    • (es toot mir lied, zee tzu shtoo-ren, ah-ber …)
  • #87 Kann ich Sie schnell etwas fragen? – Could I ask you something quickly?
    • (kann ikh zee schnell et-vas fra-gen?)
  • #88 Ich suche ein Restaurant mit gutem Essen hier in der Nähe – I’m looking for a place with good food around here
    • (ikh zu-khuh eyn rres-taur-ant mit goo-tem ess-en heer in der nay-uuh)
  • #89 Ich suche ein nettes Café in der Nähe – I’m looking for a nice cafe in the area
    • (ikh zu-khuh eyn net-tes ca-fay in der nay-uh)
  • #90 Wissen Sie was über _____? – Do you know anything about _____?
    • (vissen zee vas oo-ber ______?)
  • #91 Gibt es hier in der Nähe etwas Interessantes zu sehen – Is there anything interesting to see in this area?
    • (gib-t es heer in der nay-uh es-vas in-ter-ess-an-tes tzu ze-hen)
  • #92 Trotzdem danke – Thank you anyway [if the person can’t help you]
    • (trotz-dem dan-kuh)

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

With these phrases in your back pocket, you will 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?

One of my favourite ways to learn is through short-stories and that’s why I’ve written a book of short stories in German especially for beginners!

These short stories are enjoyable and interesting while at the same time providing all of the most important vocabulary and grammar you need to get started improving your German. You can get your copy here.

I’ve also created a special free audio of all of the phrases in this article which you can download and use to practice your German right away! The download also includes a PDF of all the phrases so you can listen and read along at the same time.

If you’re planning a trip to Germany and want to start using some basic German, this audio and PDF are ideal for bringing with you on your tablet or phone!

Click here to download the FREE audio and PDF of the article and receive more great language learning tips for free.

How many of these phrases did you know already? Which new phrases do you think will be most useful for you in your conversations? Let me know in the comments below.

Download FREE Audio Of These Phrases!

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