If you’re planning a trip to a German speaking country, one of the best things you can do to show respect to the local people is to learn simple pleasantries. One of the simplest ways to do this is to learn how to say ‘thank you’ in German.
Whether you’re in a café, restaurant or a shop, anyone on the receiving end of a ‘thank you’ in their native language will definitely appreciate it.
Fortunately the most common way to say ‘thank you’ is also the easiest to learn. However there are many variations on a simple danke that can make your German sound more advanced and interesting.
After reading this post you’ll know:
- 11 ways to say ‘thanks’ in German
- How to use these words & phrases depending on context
- How to pronounce each word with audio & example sentences
The Most Common Ways to Say ‘Thank You’ in German
There are 4 main ways to say ‘thanks’ in German, and they’re all quite similar. It’s just a case of varying which word or phrase you use and they’re all used in the same sort of way.
Meaning: Thank you / thanks
Luckily, the most common way to say ‘thank you’ in German is also the simplest. Danke can be used in almost any situation, whether it’s formal or informal, among friends or strangers. You will often hear it used with other words:
Danke schön / Danke sehr
Meaning: Thank you kindly / Thanks very much
Adding schön to danke schön gives the phrase a little extra something. You’ll hear danke schön almost as much as you’ll hear danke. If anything danke schön could be seen as being a little more formal than a simple danke, but there’s really not much in it.
Similar to danke schön, danke sehr packs a little more punch than a simple danke.
Meaning: Many thanks
The last of the really common phrases, vielen Dank is another saying that you’ll hear a lot. It’s even more heartfelt than the previous phrases. Great for really showing your appreciation to someone.
With all the above phrases, I would recommend just spending time listening to people speak the language, whether it’s in cafés or shops. Try to work out which ones you hear more often and in what context.
Other Interesting Ways to Say ‘Thanks’ in German
Why stop with a simple danke when you can get really creative with expressing thanks in German. Using some of these phrases will definitely make your German sound more advanced, and it’s sure to impress native speakers.
Meaning: A thousand thanks
Just like the English equivalent ‘thanks a million’, this is a little more informal and often used among friends.
Ich danke dir / Ihnen
Meaning: I thank you
Used just like danke, ich danke dir is just another way to express thanks, and sounds more elegant than a simple danke. Using dir makes this phrase informal, if you’re using Sie with someone in a formal setting you would need to say ich danke Ihnen.
Danke, das ist nett von dir / Ihnen
Meaning: Thanks, that is nice of you
The next time someone compliments you on your German, this is a great way to respond. As before, use dir for informal and Ihnen for formal situations.
Ich habe Ihre Lieferung vor der Haustür abgestellt.
|I’ve left your delivery by the house door. [formal]|
Danke, das ist nett von Ihnen.
|Thanks, that’s nice of you. [formal]|
Das ist sehr aufmerksam
Meaning: That is very thoughtful
Aufmerksam is a lovely word which translates as thoughtful or considerate.
This phrase carries more weight that the previous ones. So if someone has been really kind or done something amazing for you, this is a wonderful way to express your gratitude.
It can be used on its own, but is more commonly added to another phrase for thank you, such as vielen Dank:
Vielen Dank für die Blumen, das war sehr aufmerksam von dir.
|Many thanks for the flowers, it was very thoughtful of you. [informal]|
Meaning: Thanks anyway
A useful phrase for when you’ve asked for someone’s help, but they’ve been unable to help you. One example would be if you asked directions from someone in the street, and they didn’t know the way themselves. Trotzdem danke literally means ‘thanks nevertheless’.
Entschuldigen Sie, wissen Sie wo der Bahnhof ist?
|Excuse me, do you know where the train station is?|
Sorry, ich bin nicht von hier.
|Sorry, I’m not from around here.|
Alles gut, trotzdem danke.
|No problem, thanks anyway.|
Danke, gleichfalls / ebenfalls
Meaning: Thanks, likewise / same to you
This is a useful phrase if you want to quickly respond in kind when someone has said something nice to you. A good example would be:
Schönen Tag noch
|Have a nice (rest of your) day|
|Thanks, same to you|
Gleichfalls and ebenfalls can be used interchangeably and basically mean the same thing, but you’ll hear both being used a lot.
Danke im Voraus
Meaning: Thanks in advance
A good phrase to know if you’ve asked someone to do something for you and you want to thank them in advance. Often you’ll see this phrase on online forums, Reddit, Facebook etc. when someone asks a question and thanks people in advance for their responses.
Now you know 11 different ways to say ‘thank you’ in German. But if someone say ‘thanks’ to you, how do you respond? Check out how to say ‘you’re welcome’ in German.