German Survival Phrases: 15+ Phrases You MUST Know

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Hey Junkies!

It’s Survival Phrases in German – time!

How would you survive in Germany? You’d need the MUST-KNOW German travel phrases of course. From common greetings to looking for the toilet and more.

If you’re interested in learning more German, rather than reading phrases online – be sure to visit GermanPod101 (click here) & learn how to speak and understand German. So here we go.

  • Read this page to review and learn the phrases
  • Both German & English translations are provided
  • Print it out and keep it for extra review

Let’s dive in!

1. Thank You – Dankeschön

This is the first and most important phrase. Saying thank you is important anywhere you go. Politeness gets you treated with respect. Here are several ways to say thank you in German:

  • Dankeschön
    • Thank you
  • Danke
    • Thanks
  • Vielen Dank
    • Many thanks
  • Herzlichen Dank
    • Heartfelt thanks
  • Ich danke Ihnen
    • Thank You (formal)

German Survival Phrases @

2. You’re Welcome – Bitteschön

Here are two easy ways to say you’re welcome in German. Or, you can go as far as just saying “Bitte” for a super super casual response.

  • Bitteschön
    • You’re welcome
  • Gern geschehen
    • With pleasure
  • Bitte
    • You’re welcome (casual)

German Survival Phrases @

3. This Please – Dieses bitte

“This please” is a great phrase to use when shopping or at restaurants. You don’t need to know more German than that. Just point and say “Das, bitte.”

  • Bitte
    • Please
  • Dieses bitte
    • This please
  • Das, bitte
    • That please

German Survival Phrases @

4. Hello – Hallo

Basic German Greetings: Of course, one cannot know German without first knowing how to say “hi” and “hello.” There are multiple ways but “Hallo” is the most common one.

  • Hallo
    • Hello
  • Hi
    • Hi (yes, exactly the same)
  • Guten Morgen.
    • Good Morning
  • Guten Tag
    • Good Day
  • Guten Abend.
    • Good evening

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5. Bye – Tschüss

Alright, you’ve learned the openings greetings. Now, you gotta go! Here are some parting greetings that you can use.

  • Tschüss
    • Bye
  • Gute Nacht
    • Good night
  • Auf Wiedersehen.
    • See you later

German Survival Phrases @

6. Where Is The Bathroom? – Wo ist die Toilette?

Serious survival phrase. You’ll definitely need the bathroom – I guarantee you that. Because you use it every day! Just need to know how to say it in German.

  • Wo ist die Toilette?
    • Where is the toilet?
  • Darf ich die Toilette benutzen?
    • May I use the bathroom?

German Survival Phrases @

7. Can You Speak English? – Sprechen Sie Englisch?

At some point, English is best. You’ll run out of German words to say. Whether you’re dealing with a doctor, at a hotel, or just want to give up and hear a language you actually know, this is important.

  • Sprechen Sie Englisch?
    • Can you speak English?

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8. I Don’t Understand – Ich verstehe nicht.

Similar to above. Sometimes, you just wont understand German and it’s totally okay to admit that. Be sure to let people know you’re not completely fluent. Know your limitation!

  • Ich verstehe nicht.
    • I don’t understand.
  • Ich verstehe Sie nicht.
    • I don’t understand you.

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9. Can you repeat that please? Können Sie das wiederholen, bitte?

Sometimes, you won’t hear a German phrase. So, this is a great question for learners to use. Ask someone to repeat what they said! Maybe you’ll understand it, maybe you won’t – but it will improve your listening.

  • Langsam bitte.
    • Slowly please.
  • Noch einmal, bitte.
    • Once more please.
  • Können Sie das wiederholen, bitte?
    • Can you repeat that please?

German Survival Phrases @

10. Sorry – Entschuldigung

This is as necessary as knowing “thank you.” Knowing to say “sorry” or “excuse me” is just good manners. Be sure to learn this. It’s always good to learn to apologize in German.

  • Entschuldigung
    • Sorry
  • Verzeihung
    • Excuse me
  • Es tut mir leid
    • I’m sorry
  • Kein Problem
    • No problem

German Survival Phrases @

11. How are you? – Wie geht es dir?

Great to know for basic conversations and small talk. You ask this in English. You should know it in German. Not necessary for “survival” but super common and good for making friends.

  • Wie geht es dir?
    • How are you?

And to answer this same question, you can say:

  • Mir geht es gut, wie geht es dir?
    • I’m doing very well, how are you?

German Survival Phrases @

12. Can You Take My Picture? – Können Sie ein Foto von uns aufnehmen?

Another common German travel phrase – especially if you plan on visiting. Not necessary for “survival” but, hey, you want to upload your pictures to Facebook, right? Get someone to snap ’em!

  • Können Sie ein Foto von uns aufnehmen?
    • Can you take our picture?
  • Können Sie ein Foto von mir aufnehmen?
    • Can you take my picture?

German Survival Phrases @

13. How Do You Say This? Wie sagt man dies auf Deutsch?

Another important question for any German learner. Point and ask “How do you say this in German?” They’ll tell you. It’s how children learn and it’s definitely a fast way to learn.

  • Wie sagt man dies auf Deutsch?
    • How do you say this in German?
  • Wie übersetzt man Happy Birthday auf Deutsch?
    • How do you translate happy birthday into German?

German Survival Phrases @

14. Check, please. Die rechnung, bitte.

Great for tourists. Remember, you can just use “this please” as taught above to order whatever you want from the menu. Then, when you’re ready for the check… here’s your phrase.

  • Die rechnung, bitte

    • Check, please

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15. Phrases to Ask for Help

Hopefully you won’t need this. But, this is indeed a German Survival Phrases article, so I’m covering it. If you need help, remember these phrases – write them down – or print this entire article out. Added in here just to be on the safe side.

  • Bringen Sie mich bitte ins Krankenhaus.
    • Please take me to the hospital.
  • Bringen Sie mich bitte zum Arzt.
    • Please take me to the doctor.
  • Ich brauche einen Arzt.
    • I need a doctor.
  • Ich muss zur Apotheke.
    • I need a pharmacy.
  • Rufen Sie bitte einen Krankenwagen.
    • Please call an ambulance.

German Survival Phrases @

German Survival Phrases – Conclusion

And we’re done! What did you think?

Any phrases missed that you’d TRULY need in Germany? What else should I add? I know, I know, something beer and sausage related right!?

Be sure to leave me a comment (I read ’em all!) or share this article! Some of these phrases are taken from GermanPod101 lessons so visit if you’re interested in learning, speaking and understanding actual German.

The Main Junkie

P.S. Highly recommended for learners. If you REALLY want to learn German with effective lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at GermanPod101 (click here) and start learning!

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Ann Bartholomew

I knew Good Morning, Good Afternoon, Good Night, Thank You, You’re Welcome, Please. But nice to know the others. I went on a river cruise in ’13 through Germany & used most of it when visiting the Christmas Markets. The stall owners were surprised & please that I at least attempted to speak in their native tongue as most visitors don’t bother or assume they speak Englisch. I want to go back. Also going to learn French & Spanish (not to be confused with Mexican Spanish)…