So you're in Germany, one of the 42 German-speaking countries worldwide, and you've done something nice for someone. They acknowledge your kind act with a "thank you" or another pleasantry. How do you respond? It would be rude not to, right? In this article, you'll learn how to say you're welcome in German. If you are ready for that, keep reading below!
Equally as important as knowing how to say a basic phrase such as you're welcome is recognizing it when you hear it. That's why we've added pronunciation buttons to help you. Just click on the blue buttons and listen to all the vocabulary and phrases in the German language.
German Culture And Polite Phrases
The German people are really quite polite, although they may have a reputation that suggests otherwise. They are always on time, treat each other and visitors with respect, and follow the speak unto others as they speak unto you rule. Therefore, it's always a good idea to talk to people in the most polite ways possible, and remember to be humble and grateful.
Knowing polite expressions in German will garner a warm response from locals and help you make connections and friendships. Make sure you study and practice basic phrases such as how to say hello, good morning, goodnight, or thank you.
So, how do you respond to (Danke) thank you in German?
How NOT To Say You're Welcome In German
Let's make sure you don't repeat this very common mistake. Many foreign language speakers assume that willkommen (welcome) is the way to respond when someone thanks you in German.
In actuality, it would be a mistake to use willkommen when someone says danke sehr (thank you). willkommen is only really used when welcoming someone into your home, as in welcome to my home. You may also see it on signs indicating you are entering a new region within Germany such as welcome to Frankfurt.
How To Say You're Welcome In German - Informal Ways
The most common way of saying you're welcome in German is Bitte (BIH-teh) with the syllable emphasis on the first syllable. Bitte can be used in casual situations and professional environments too. It's quite versatile.
Are there more ways to extend courtesies by saying you're welcome in German? Absolutely! Here are 13 other ways:
1. Bitte sehr
You’re very welcome
This version is also very commonly used and you'll hear it a lot, especially in the service industry.
2. Bitte schön
You’re very (nicely) welcome
You can use this interchangeably with Bitte sehr. They have very similar interpretations.
3. Bitte sehr im Voraus
You’re welcome in advance
Not be used as a common response to danke schön (thank you), rather this phrase is meant to be a sort of joke. You would only say this to close friends as a way to convey confidence that what you're about to do deserves a big thanks.
4. Gern geschehen
A glad occurrence
While the literal translation doesn't quite make sense, another interpretation is, “I’m glad I was there to help”. It's not quite the same as saying you're welcome, but it still expresses the same notion. You can say this with a smile and a wave to those you have helped. It's informal and polite.
Slang for the above phrase, it expresses a quick response. This expression can be translated to, "Happy to help!" but it's only really appropriate to use with close friends and family and isn't appropriate for professional environments.
6. Vergiss es!
Forget about it!
You'd say this with close friends or family you have helped out to let them know your efforts aren't worth mentioning (you're being polite of course!)
7. Schon gut!
It's all right!
Similar to above, you'd use this to say it's all right, don't worry about it!
8. Wofür hat man denn Freunde!
What are friends for?!
You could use a combination of the above phrase and this phrase when responding to friends you have just helped move house for example.
9. Ohne Ursache
You can also think of this phrase to mean, "Think nothing of it."
10. Mit Vergnügen
A formal way of saying you're welcome in German, Mit Vergnügen would be used at formal events to very important people of stature.
11. Nix zu danken
This is the slang version of the above expression.
12. Kein Problem / Kein Ding! / Kein Thema!
Another great way of saying you're welcome in German is Kein Problem. Used in casual situations only, it can replace Bitte and make you sound hipper.
13. Dafür nicht
You don’t need to thank me for that
This is the colloquial way to respond to thank you in Northern Germany. It's informal and commonly used in the north, but less so in Southern Germany.
How To Say You're Welcome In German - Formal Ways
1. Es war mir ein Vergnügen
It was my pleasure
Even more than a pleasure, you actually mean that you enjoyed helping out and that you had fun doing so!
2. Nichts zu danken
There’s nothing to thank (me for)
You would say this when you feel proud of completing your duty to help and it wasn't necessary for the person to thank you.
3. Keine Ursache
No need to thank me
This is quite a polite way to respond to being thanked and ensures the person knows that your act wasn't any kind of burden.
You've Done It!
Now that you know all the different ways to say you're welcome in German, it's time to get out there and start using these in daily conversation! Germans will really appreciate hearing a response when they thank you.
Be sure to pay attention to the context you're in so you are aware of whether to give a formal or informal response. Choose your words wisely!
Now hopefully you're even more motivated to learn German and we have the perfect tool to help you.
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Ling is an all-encompassing language tool to help you learn the German language, which is one of over 60 languages that we offer. What you get is a different learning experience because we hire native speakers to help curate and design each language course. In fact, all of Ling's audio lessons and conversational lessons are recorded by native speakers.
You'll also get reading and writing practice which uses an interactive whiteboard that allows you to write onto your phone screen.