One year ago I moved to Germany for the second time. My German was pretty good the first time I moved and it only got better during the first two years I spent in Germany. Unfortunately, it seems to be getting worse after the second time I moved. What changed? I don’t work in a German-speaking environment anymore and most of my daily interactions are pretty basic.
This are good news for any of you who are moving to Germany without speaking German. You don’t need to speak very good German to survive in daily life in Germany. Of course, you need to learn German if you want to feel more comfortable here or planning to live in Germany for a long time. But for everyday situations like shopping, ordering in restaurants, short conversations with neighbors, some basic German knowledge is enough. Here you will find 10 German phrases I use the most in everyday life.
German phrases for shopping at a grocery store
Shopping at the supermarket is really easy, you can do it even without speaking to anyone at all, but I prefer to be polite 😀 So I exchange usual phrases like “hello, good-bye, and have a nice day”. It’s also useful to know how to ask for help if you can’t find the things you need (which happened to me a lot in the beginning).
Guten Morgen! Morgen! – Good morning!
Guten Tag! – Hello!
Guten Abend! – Good evening!
Hallo! – Hello!
Contrary to a popular stereotype about Germany, it’s pretty common to pay with a card in stores. It’s a truth that some smaller shops still don’t accept cards and you need to have some cash with you at all times. But all big supermarket chains accept cards.
Mit Karte, bitte. – With card, please.
Kann ich mit Karte zahlen? – Can I pay with a card?
Kann ich mit Kreditkarte zahlen? – Can I pay with a credit card?
3. How to say thank you in German:
Danke! – Thank you!
Danke schön! – Thank you very much!
Vielen Dank! – Thanks a lot!
4. How to say goodbye:
Auf Wiedersehen! – Goodbye!
Tschüß! – Bye!
5. Wishing a nice day:
Schönen Tag (noch)! – Have a nice day!
Schönen Abend! – Have a nice evening!
Schönes Wochenende! – Have a nice weekend!
Danke, gleichfalls! – Thanks, the same to you!
6. How to ask for help:
Entschuldigung, können sie mir bitte helfen. – Excuse me, could you help me, please.
Ich suche … – I’m looking for …
Wo finde ich …? – Where can I find?
German phrases for bakery/cafe/restaurant
Eating out is another situation where you could just use English, people will probably still understand you. But these phrases are so easy, why not be nice at talk to people in their language 🙂
7. How to order food:
Ich hätte gern … – I would like …
Ich möchte … – I would like …
8. How to order take away in German:
Zum mitnehmen, bitte. – To go, please.
Ich hätte gern einen Kaffee zum mitnehmen. – I would like a coffee to go, please.
9. How to ask for bill:
Kann ich bitte zahlen?– Can I pay, please?
Ich möchte bitte zahlen. – I would like to pay.
Die Rechnung, bitte. – Bill, please.
Zusammen oder getrennt? – Do you want to pay together or separately?
Zusammen, bitte. – Together, please.
Getrennt, bitte. – Separately, please.
10. How to leave tip:
Stimmt so. – Keep the change.
These are the most important phrases that I use in my everyday life in Germany. As you see, they are really easy and basic. Good phrases to learn if you are moving to Germany without knowing German at all.