fun in german

How to Express ‘Having Fun’ in German

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Just like the rest of us, German speakers love to have fun! However when it comes to expressing ‘fun’ in German, the language does things a little differently.

In English we have the adjective ‘fun’. We use it like any other adjective alongside the verbs ‘have’ or ‘is’: ‘Tennis is fun’, ‘the theme park was great fun’, ‘did you have fun today?’

In German, the word used for ‘fun’ is Spaß, however it’s a noun, not an adjective. We can’t use Spaß in the same way as we use ‘fun’ in English because it can’t be used in combination with the verb sein (to be). This makes it incorrect to say Reisen ist Spaß (travelling is fun).

Because of this, we need to use other verbs in combination with Spaß, namely haben and machen.

Spaß haben (to have fun)

The closest we can get to an English equivalent is when we express ‘having fun’ in German.

  • Ich habe hier viel Spaß = I’m having a lot of fun here
  • Ich habe Spaß mit meinen Freunden = I’m having fun with my friends

If you want to describe an activity, use the preposition bei + dative, then the verb. In this case bei translates as ‘with’ or ‘at’:

  • Ich habe Spaß bei dem (beim) Wandern = I’m having fun with the hiking
  • Ich habe Spaß beim Fußball = I’m having fun at the football

Spaß machen (to make fun)

In German we usually talk about Spaß machen (making fun). This is used for describing any kind of activity. There are a number of ways we can express this:

  • Reisen macht Spaß = Travelling is fun
  • Die Bootsfahrt hat Spaß gemacht = The boat trip was fun
  • Das Tennisspielen hat viel Spaß gemacht = Playing tennis was good fun

You can also say ‘this activity is fun to me’ in German by using mir (to me):

  • Das Wandern macht mir Spaß = Hiking is fun to me
  • Das Radfahren macht mir Spaß = I’m having fun cycling

Describing People

When it comes to describing people, forget the word Spaß exists! Remember, Spaß is a noun, so you can’t use it to describe another noun (for example a person).

Instead we use an alternative adjective such as lustig (fun, amusing):

  • Jan ist ein lustiger Typ = Jan is a fun guy
  • Lena ist sehr lustig = Lena is good fun
  • Diese Leute sind überhaupt nicht lustig = These people are no fun at all

How to Say ‘Have Fun!’ in German

If someone is about to take part in a fun activity, you might like to say ‘have fun!’ In German it’s very easy to do this.

You can simply say viel Spaß! (much fun = have fun) if you don’t want to be specific.

viel Spaß

If you want to specify the activity you can use viel Spaß bei / in + dative:

  • Viel Spaß im Urlaub = Have fun on the holiday
  • Viel Spaß im Park = Have fun in the park
  • Viel Spaß beim Hockey = Have fun at the hockey
  • Viel Spaß bei der Schule = Have fun at the school

So now you know how to express having fun in German. Remember that Spaß is never used with the verb sein, you need to use either haben or machen.

 If you enjoyed this post, there are many more posts in the How to Say … in German series. 

Have fun using these new phrases! Viel Spaß!

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