The more time you spend in German speaking countries, or just learning German, the more people you’ll meet. Some situations will require introductions in German, and some won’t. For those times when you need to introduce yourself, this post is for you.
There are many different ways to introduce yourself. Some introductions may be shorter, and some may take longer and be more involved, for example if you’re meeting some friends of friends, or if you’re starting a conversation with a new language exchange partner.
After reading this post you will know:
- How to introduce yourself and someone else in German
- The differences between introducing yourself formally and informally
- How formal and informal introductions in German sound with example conversations
When to Use Formal & Informal German
Before we get started, an important feature of German is it’s use of the 2 words for ‘you’. In German we can say either Sie or du, both meaning ‘you’. However Sie is used for formal situations and du is for informal situations.
It’s important to know the difference because later on when we talk about introductions in German, you need to know which pronoun to use. Let’s take a quick look:
Sie = Formal ‘You’
As I alluded to before, Sie / Ihnen is reserved for formal situations. When introducing yourself in meetings, speaking with new work colleagues or meeting new people who are older than you, use Sie. You would also use it for speaking with people you don’t know in more casual settings like when speaking to waiters or shop staff.
Du = Informal ‘You’
Du / dich is the informal pronoun. Use it whenever introducing yourself to people your own age of younger in informal situations for example when a friend is introducing you to one of their friends.
If you want to learn more check out my post: Sie or Du in German: When to Use Formal & Informal German
Introductions in German: How to Introduce Yourself
The great thing about introductions in German is that they follow the same basic pattern as in English. You start with a greeting, then a ‘nice to meet you’ and ‘my name is…’
All of these introduction phrases have their own posts which go into more detail about all the ways you can say them, so I’d recommend going through each post to further your knowledge on each phrase. You’ll find links to each post as you go along.
Let’s start the introduction with a simple German greeting, for most situations a simple hallo (hello) will be fine in both formal and informal situations.
If you want to sound a bit more formal you can opt for guten Morgen (good morning), guten Tag (good day / afternoon) or guten Abend (good evening).
Read more: 15 Easy Ways to Say ‘Hello’ in German
‘Nice to Meet You’
Saying ‘nice to meet you’ when you meet someone for the first time is the next step when introducing yourself in German. There are many suitable phrases to choose from but the most common is:
Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen (formal)
Es freut mich, dich kennenzulernen (informal)
Quite often this is shortened to the far easier phrase freut mich which can be used in both formal and informal situations.
If someone says ‘nice to meet you’ to you first, you can respond with:
Es freut mich auch, Sie kennenzulernen (formal)
Es freut mich auch, dich kennenzulernen (informal)
Freut mich auch
Read more: How to Say ‘Nice To Meet You’ in German
‘My Name is…’
Of course, what would be the point of introducing yourself if you don’t tell the other person your name. Again there are a few different ways to say ‘my name is’, but the simplest and most common phrase is:
Ich bin Emma
If you want to ask the other person what their name is you can say:
Wie heißen Sie? (formal)
Wie heißt du? (informal)
Und Sie sind? (formal)
Und du bist? (informal)
Read more: How to Say ‘My Name Is’ in German
At this point we could reach the end of the conversation. Germans aren’t exactly fans of small talk, so in terms of introductions in German, this might be as far as the conversation goes.
However if the conversation naturally continues, perhaps you’re meeting a friend of a friend or a new language exchange partner you might want to share a little more about yourself.
Woher kommen Sie? (formal)
Woher kommst du? (informal)
|Where do you come from?
Ich komme aus …
|I come from …
Was machen Sie hier in Deutschland? (formal)
Was machst du hier in Deutschland? (informal)
|What are you doing here in Germany?
Ich bin hier, um mein Deutsch zu verbessern.
|I’m here to improve my German.
Ich arbeite hier.
|I work here.
Ich mache Urlaub.
|I’m on holiday / vacation.
Warum lernen Sie Deutsch? (formal)
Warum lernst du Deutsch? (informal)
|Why are you learning German?
Ich lerne Deutsch, weil ich hier leben möchte.
|I’m learning German because I’d like to live here.
Haben Sie Hobbys? (formal)
Hast du Hobbys? (informal)
|Do you have any hobbies?
In meine Freizeit…
|In my free time…
Introductions in German: How to Introduce Someone Else
Sometimes introductions in German don’t just involve introducing yourself, you might want to introduce someone else in German.
In formal situations such as introducing someone at business meeting you can say the following + the person’s name:
Darf ich Ihnen … [Dieter] vorstellen? (formal)
For less formal situations it’s normal to introduce someone with their name, and how you know them:
Das ist [mein Freund], [Nico]
|This is [my boyfriend], [Nico]
Das ist [meine Schwester], [Anne]
|This is [my sister], [Anne]
Although it’s considered impolite to talk about someone when they’re standing there with you, if the person you’re introducing doesn’t speak German, it may be helpful to make that clear to the people you’re introducing them to:
Er / sie spricht kein Deutsch
So now you have all the essential phrases to introduce yourself and someone else in German. Now let’s put them all together and see some real life introductions in German:
Formal Introductions: Example Conversation
You’ve recently started a new job and are meeting a new colleague for the first time, naturally you’re keen to make a good impression and appear friendly:
Guten Morgen, ich bin Jakob. Ich bin neu hier.
|Good morning, I’m Jakob. I’m new here.
Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen, Jakob.
|Pleased to meet you Jakob.
Es freut mich auch. Wie heißen Sie?
|Pleased to meet you too. What’s your name?
Ich bin Lena. Welche Position haben Sie in dem Unternehmen?
|I’m Lena. What role do you have in the company?
Ich bin Ihr neuer Chef!
|I’m your new boss!
Informal Introductions: Example Conversation
Your German friend has invited some people over, and you’re keen to introduce yourself and make new friends:
Hallo, freut mich.
|Hallo, nice to meet you.
Freut mich auch! Ich bin Markus, und du bist?
|Nice to meet you too! I’m Markus, and you are?
Ich bin Sabine.
Und warum bist du hier in Deutschland Sabine?
|And what brings you to Germany, Sabine?
Ich besuche einen Freund und übe auch mein Deutsch.
|I’m visiting a friend and also practicing my German.
Also, warum lernst du Deutsch?
|So why are you learning Germany?
Weil ich viel Urlaub hier mache.
|Because I holiday / vacation a lot here.