Being able to wish someone ‘good luck’ in German is a nice gesture and a useful phrase to learn. Maybe someone you know is starting a new job, perhaps they are going to a job interview or going on a round the world trip. There could be an upcoming competition or sports event or even an exam.
No matter what the occasion, being able to say ‘good luck’ in German something you should add to your ‘to learn’ list. So with all that said, let’s get started, auf geht’s!
Meaning: Good luck
The most common way to wish someone ‘good luck’ in German is viel Glück which translates literally as ‘much luck’ or ‘lots of luck’. You can use this for practically any situation, formal or informal. Viel Glück can be said on it’s own as an exclamation, or as part of a sentence to be more specific:
Viel Glück morgen
Meaning: Good luck tomorrow
If you don’t want to be too specific about what you’re wishing someone good luck for, you can just specify the time of the event in question:
- Viel Glück heute = Good luck today
- Viel Glück morgen = Good luck tomorrow
- Viel Glück nächste Woche = Good luck next week
- Viel Glück für die Zukunft = Good luck in the future
Viel Glück für die Prüfung
Meaning: Good luck for the exam
You can also say viel Glück bei der Prüfung (good luck at the exam). In this instance, für and bei and fairly interchangeable. Remember to switch to the dative case if you use bei.
Viel Glück beim Wettbewerb
Meaning: Good luck at the competition
Fairly self explanatory. If you want to add in a time preposition, you will need to phrase it in German as ‘good luck at tomorrow’s competition’ rather than ‘good luck at the competition tomorrow’.
- Viel Glück beim heutigen Wettbewerb = Good luck at today’s competition
- Viel Glück für den morgigen Wettbewerb = Good luck for tomorrow’s competition
Viel Glück in Ihrem neuen Job
Meaning: Good luck in your new job (formal)
It’s always nice to wish someone luck in their new job. You may need to use the formal version above for work colleagues. If you are talking to a friend or family, you can use the informal version:
- Viel Glück in deinem neuen Job = Good luck in your new job (informal)
Meaning: I wish you success / Good luck
There is a second way to wish someone ‘good luck’ in German and that is to use the phrase viel Erfolg. Erfolg means ‘success’ and you already know viel means ‘much’ or ‘a lot’.
While viel Erfolg and viel Glück are fairly interchangeable, viel Erfolg has an even stronger feeling than viel Glück. When you say viel Erfolg you are wishing someone a lot of success and you really hope they succeed. With viel Glück you are wishing someone luck, so it’s a little less certain whether they’ll succeed.
This phrase is particularly good for job interviews, exams and so on.
Again, it can be used on it’s own as an exclamation, or you can use it in a longer sentence:
- Wir wünschen Ihnen viel Erfolg in Ihrem neuen Job = We wish you every success in your new job
Meaning: All the best / Good luck
Alles Gute is another commonly heard phrase that can be used in place of ‘good luck’. Let’s take a look at some example sentences:
- Alles Gute für deine Reise = All the best for your trip
- Ich wünsche dir alles Gute = I wish you all the best
- Alles Gute für Samstag = Good luck for Saturday
How to Say ‘Wish Me Luck!’ in German
If the situation is reversed, and you’re the one needing a bit of luck, how would you say ‘wish me luck’ in German? Well for this phrase we can use a common German idiom:
- Drück mir die Daumen = Cross your fingers for me
You probably know the common English expression ‘cross your fingers’, well the German version actually translates as ‘squeeze the thumbs’ and is gestured with the hands by closing the thumb into the fist.
You can also use it to wish someone else good luck:
- Ich drücke dir die Daumen = I’ll cross my fingers for you
So now you know 3 easy ways to say ‘good luck’ in German, for all occasions. Why not try some of these phrases out next time a German speaking friend or family member has an important event ahead. And if your ‘good luck’ wish has worked, learn how to say congratulations in German.
If you got to the end of this post, congratulations! I want to give you an extra tip:
Did you know? In Germany the pig, Schwein, is considered lucky! Germans even have a saying: Schwein gehabt! (got pig!) which means ‘That was lucky!’ So now the picture at the top of this post makes sense!
If you enjoyed this post, there are many more posts in the How to Say … in German series.