Are you looking to connect with German friends? Then knowing how to ask "how are you?" in German is an essential question to know to strengthen bonds with the German people, whether they are friends, family, or co-workers.
There are a few things to be mindful about when walking around asking, how are you today in German. While it's nice to ask, it's not part of the German culture to constantly ask how people are doing. This article will cover cultural norms when greeting people and how to respond to how are you when people ask you!
If you're from North America, Australia, or the UK, we tend to treat "how are you?" as a general greeting. We don't actually expect much of a response and certainly wouldn't expect someone to open a deep discussion.
In Germany, people don't throw how are yous around like they are nothing. Instead, they treat this question with respect. You would only really ask this question to friends and family members and people you haven't seen in a while. It's best to introduce yourself to someone first before inquiring about their personal life.
Germans consider being asked how are you a serious question, so if you ask it, you better be prepared to sit down and listen wholeheartedly to the response. In other words, don't ask unless you genuinely want to know.
When you need to ask someone how they are doing in German, check out all the ways below.
The formal version of how are you in German is Wie geht es Ihnen?
Of all the ways to ask someone how they are in German, this is the most common way. That's because it's the safest way to keep up with formalities. No matter who you say it to, they aren't going to judge you for saying it wrong according to cultural formalities with the German language.
You would ask Wie geht es Ihnen? in a formal setting, such as to your boss at work, a teacher at school, or to someone at a formal event whom you don't know. Actually, it would help if you always used Wie geht es Ihnen when asking someone you don't know (although it would be rare to ask a stranger unless you can tell something is evidently wrong).
The most common informal way to ask how are you in German is Wie geht es dir?
It's used when speaking to extended family and familiar friends and co-workers you're friendly with.
There are also two German slang versions or shortened versions: wie geht's dir and wie geht’s?
You would likely be using these versions of how are you in German in most as they're used with close family members and close friends.
The latter form removes the personal pronoun for you, determining whether a sentence is formal or informal. Dir is the informal pronoun for you, whereas above in the formal version, Ihnen (the Dative personal pronouns version of Sie) is the formal pronoun for you.
|Wie geht es dir?||This has a literal translation of "how goes you," which translates in English to how are you?|
|Wie schaut’s aus?||The literal meaning is "how is it looking," which is the same in English. This is the question to ask if you don't have time to listen to a diatribe about someone's life but want to check in quickly. You can expect a response of ok or a brief update about what's going on in the person's life.|
|Wie läuft’s?||The literal translation is "how running." However, a rough English translation is how are you doing?/how's it going?|
|Wie geht's dir?||This translates into how are you?|
|Wie ist die Lage?||This means, "how is the situation." In English, it's more of "what’s up" or "how is it going" You would use this casually around friends|
|Wie geht es euch?||This translates to "how are you all." You would use this with a group of friends or family, and you would expect a shortened response.|
|Na?||You'll want to use this word to make you sound like a native speaker! It means "and?" However, it's taken on a world of its own, with multiple insinuated meanings and no meaning at all. This informal version is only used among very close friends in informal settings.|
|Alles klar?||This means and translates to everything good? This can be used as a quick check-in and also as a response! See below.|
|Mir geht es gut||meer git es gud||I'm doing well/I'm good|
|Nicht schlecht||nitsh shlescht||Not bad|
|Es geht||es gate||It's going ok|
|Geht so||gate soh||So-so|
|Sehr gut||sir gud||Very good|
|Ganz gut||gaanz gud||Quite good|
|Mir geht es schlecht||meer git es shlescht||I’m not well / I’m not great|
|Alles klar||al-les clar||All right|
|Gut danke||gud dun-ke||Good thanks|
|Und dir?||und der||And you?|
|Wie geht es deinem Vater?||How is your father?|
|Wie geht es deinem deiner Mutter?||How is your mother?|
|Es geht ihr nicht so gut||She is not so good|
|Meinem Vater geht es gut||My father is fine|
|Meiner Mutter geht es nicht so gut||My mother is not so good|
|Es geht ihm gut||He is fine|
Thank you for reading this! We hope you learned a lot. We know that language learning isn't easy, but Ling would love to help you speak German fluently.
We know making friends and not making missteps with cultural language issues is essential, especially among German speakers. That's where Ling comes in to save the day!
Ling is a really popular language app with over 10 million downloads. It offers German, just one of over 60 languages offered by Ling. You'll get reading, speaking, flashcards, and writing practice. We have an interactive whiteboard that allows you to write the letters of the alphabet on your device!
At Ling, we also strive to make learning fun! Head over to check it out and learn even more German language skills. Download Ling today and start speaking confidently in German!