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65+ Simple Ways To Say Greetings In German

April 25, 2022

Did you know that the German language is one of the most popular languages on Earth? It's spoken in over 22 countries worldwide but remains the most popular in Europe. Over 155 million people speak German, and they would surely be impressed if you knew any greetings in German!

Greeting people in their native language is always a polite thing to do. It creates an immediate level of respect. Learning German language greetings is sure to come in handy if you plan to travel to Germany, especially if you're trying to impress business colleagues or any parents of your German partner.

Just like with any culture, there are, of course, right ways and wrong ways to greet people in German. Let's take a look at the most common German greetings.

 

Dos And Don'ts: How To Greet People Properly In Germany (And Abroad)

How to greet someone in Germany

Greetings in German may be quite different from what you're used to. What is deemed proper etiquette in one culture can be considered to be completely disrespectful. You'll want to make a great first impression and avoid looking silly or offensive when making German greetings.

For example, it's normal etiquette to kiss everyone you meet on both cheeks in France. In Arab culture, it's the norm to hug and kiss both males and females. Is that what's expected in German culture? Let's dive into the dos and don'ts of greeting etiquette.

Do You Shake Hands In Germany?

Handshakes - Do

Yes! When meeting someone for the first time, it is customary to greet them with a firm (but not too strong) handshake. You don't want to give a meek handshake, which could say a lot about your character.

It's common to shake hands with both men and women, and if you want to go that extra mile to impress a woman, you could go for the kiss the back of the hand trick.

Do People Hug In Germany?

Hugs - Don't

Greetings in German do not often involve hugs. Germans are not overly affectionate with people they've just met. It's best to avoid going in for a hug the first few times you meet and greet someone. Germans tend to reserve hugging for very close friends and family, and even then, hugs are given as more of a half-hug with a pat on the back.

Women are more open to the idea of hugs, but don't get carried away! Hugs are reserved for people they know well, so don't overstep your boundary.

Do People Kiss In Germany?

Kisses - Don't In Germany, Do In Austria

Kisses on the lips or cheeks as a way to greet someone in Germany is not a common practice at all. Even among close family and friends, it's a rare occurrence. However, kissing on the cheeks is more culturally accepted in neighboring Austria but still reserved for close family and friends. Don't greet a stranger by kissing them!

Should You Make Eye Contact With Germans?

Making Eye Contact - Do

Yes! Greetings in German should all involve eye contact. When greeting a German person, it's polite and expected that you would look them in the eyes. Not a hard stare or anything. Just a polite look and a nod will do. Along with confident body language, eye contact shows confidence and friendliness.

 

Formal And Informal Greetings In German

In a German-speaking country, the general rule of thumb is that formal is better. You can't go wrong with being formal, and people will appreciate the level of respect! We'll go over different greetings in German, such as how to say hello, say goodbye, ask people how they are, and respond to such inquiries in formal situations or informal situations.

You'll want to use formal German greetings in a formal setting. You can opt for casual greetings in an informal situation, especially among friends.

 

How To Say 'Hello' In German

How to say hello in German

Saying 'hello' in German can be achieved in many different ways. The German language offers lots of fun ways to say hello!

Formal German

German PhraseEnglish Translation
HalloHello
Grüß Gott!Good day!
(In southern Germany)
Guten TagGood day
Guten MorgenGood morning
Guten TagGood afternoon
Guten AbendGood evening
Schöner TagHave a nice day
ServusAt your service
Grüß Gott!God bless you!

Informal German

German PhraseEnglish Translation
Moin!Hi! (In northern Germany)
Schön dich zu sehen!Good to see you!
Lange nicht gesehen!Long time no see!
Grüß dich!Hello there! (Literal meaning: "I greet you!")
Alter!Hey, dude!
Wie geht es dir?How’s it going?
Was geht?/Was ist los?/Was läuft?What’s going on?
Was geht ab?/Was liegt an?/Was ist los?What’s up?
Schön dich wiederzusehen!Nice to see you again!

 

How to Ask 'How Are You?' In German

A part of most cultures is checking in on the person you have met with a simple inquiry; 'How are you?' Like in the English language, the Germans' have many ways to ask that question.

Formal German

German PhraseEnglish Translation
Wie geht es ihnen?How are you?
Geht es gut?Are you doing fine?
Hallo, wie geht es ihr? Hi, how are you?
Gut, danke, und ihnen? Fine, thanks, how are you?

Informal German.

German PhraseEnglish Translation
Wie geht’s?How’s it going?
Ist alles OK?Is everything OK?
Wie geht es dir?How’s it going?
Alles gut?Everything alright?

 

How to Say 'Goodbye' In German

How to say goodbye in German

Equally as saying hello, is knowing how to say goodbye in German! It can be rude not to say goodbye, and there are many forms to do so.

Formal German

German PhraseEnglish Translation
Auf WiedersehenGoodbye
Schönen TagHave a nice day
Schönes Wochenende!Have a nice weekend!
Auf WiedersehenSee you again
Abend nochHave a nice evening

Informal German

German PhraseEnglish Translation
CiaoBye
Bis zum nächsten mal!Until next time!
Bis bald /Auf baldSee you soon
Wir sehen uns!See you (Literal translation: "We see each other")
TschüssGoodbye
Mach’s gut!Take care!
TschauBye
Bis dannSee you
Bis späterSee you later
Gute Nacht!Good night!
Pass auf dich auf!Take care of yourself!

 

How To Respond To German Greetings

Greetings in German formal and informal

It's important to know what to say when someone asks you how you are or says hello. You can use various sayings to respond to people on the street, people you've just met, or your friends.

Formal German

German PhraseEnglish Translation
Grüß Gott!Good day (literally means: "Greet God!")
Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen!It’s nice to meet you
Schön Sie zu treffen!Pleased to meet you!
Wie geht es Ihnen?How are you?
Geht es gut?Are you doing fine?
Freut mich!I’m glad!
Ich grüße Sie!I greet you!
Sehr erfreutVery pleased

General Responses

German PhraseEnglish Translation
Es geht mir gutI’m fine
Es geht mir besserI'm doing better/I’m feeling better
Es geht soIt’s going so-so
Es geht mir schlechtI'm not doing well
Passt schonIt’s alright

All right! With all this new useful knowledge, you're ready to head out and use these German greetings! It can be tough learning a foreign language, and we hope this article has made learning greetings, such as saying hello in German much clearer.

Learn German language with Ling

Are you ready to dive in and learn German? Ling App is a great language acquisition tool that you can carry around in your pocket. With just 5 to 15 minutes a day, Ling will help you learn the ins and outs of German. Go on! Try it out and be prepared for your travels or be ready for a conversation with a friend or neighbor.

Auf bald! See you soon!

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