Learning German? Starting with a greeting like “hello” will help you make a good impression and get the conversation rolling with native German speakers.
If you’re wondering how to say hello in German, you’re in the right place.
In this post, you’ll learn how to say hi in German as well as many other greetings.
“Hello” in German is very similar to its English equivalent--it’s hallo. It can be used in both formal and informal situations, but if you’d like something slightly more formal, you can use...
Guten Tag is “good day” or “good afternoon” in German. Tag is the German word for “day” and gut means “good” (it’s in the German accusative case).
To say “hi” in German, you simply say “hi”. If you’re in Northern Germany, you might also here moin or moin moin.
“Good morning” in German is Guten Morgan. You can simplify this greeting and make it more informal by removing guten and just greet your friends with Morgan.
To say “good evening” in German, you use Guten Abend.
Was ist los? loosely translates as “what’s up?” or “how’s it going?” It’s appropriate for casual conversations and would not be appropriate in more formal contexts.
This expression has another meaning outside of its use as a greeting. It can also mean “what’s wrong?”
This is a casual way to ask someone how it’s going in German. The more formal equivalent is Wie geht es Ihnen? Both dir and Ihnen mean “you”, but where dir is informal, Ihnen is formal.
You can also take this greeting down one more formality step by simply saying Wie geht’s?
German makes use of augmentatives like über- and diminutives like -chen. You can greet someone with a “little hello” in German by using Hallöchen.
Want to get hip with the younger crowd in Germany? This greeting, which literally means “all clear?” is a casual way to say hello in German and is often used by younger Germans.
How do you know which of these nine expressions you should use? Depending on the context and formality of the situation, certain greetings will be more appropriate than others.
With friends and family, Alles Klar? or Was ist los? are likely the way to go. But in more formal situations, like work, school, or when talking to strangers, you may prefer to us Hallo or Guten Tag.
Greetings aren’t just words. When you say hello, depending on where you are, you may hug or kiss the cheeks of the person you’re greeting. In Germany, you’ll often shake hands. Make sure you make eye contact, it may be considered rude otherwise.
When you are on familiar terms with someone, you can use their first name. But as a sign of respect, you can address someone by their last name, using Herr (mister) or Frau (miss/mrs).
Want to learn more words and greetings in German?
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