You may know how to say bye in German but…
How do you say hello in German?
Great question! In this quick lesson (2-3 minute read), you’ll learn the 16 ways and common German greetings.
If you’re a Beginner, this lesson is a perfect way to speak more of this new language. Ready?
1) Hallo – Hello
This is informal. Pronounced as “hah-low.” You can use this with your friends and anyone you know on a close level.
By the way, you should also HEAR REAL German. So…
Here’s a free Audio lesson so you can hear the German pronunciation from GermanPod101 – a German learning program. Listen along as you read these ways to say Hello in German. Just press the play button below.
- German in 3 Minutes Lesson #2 – Greetings
- Lesson by GermanPod101.com (click here for more fun free lessons)
Let’s move onto the next common way to say hello in German…
2) Guten Tag – Good day/afternoon
This, my junkies, is formal. If you’re talking to a teacher, this is perfect. Never use “hallo” with them. Now, yes, this does mean and is used as “hello” but it has some more meanings.
- Guten Tag
- Good day/afternoon (literal translation)
Informally, you could say Hallo (hah-low), but if you’re talking to a teacher… You want to be more on the formal side. Say Guten Tag. Never say that to a friend though – because it’s more formal than your dad’s brown suit.
3) Tag – Hey
Now, you can also shorten “Guten tag” to just “tag.” That in itself is a German greeting. Tag literally means “day.” So, think of it a shortened version…. kind of like “G’day”
4) Alles klar? – What’s up?
Literally, it means “all right? However, this question is commonly used as a greeting. IT’s a way to say “what’s up” or “how’s it going?” Good casual phrase to know. Native germans use this a lot.
- Alles klar?
- What’s up?
5) Was geht ab? – What’s up?
This is the direct translation of what’s happening or what’s up in German. However, warning – this is very slangy and used by young people only.
- Was geht ab?
- What’s up?
6) Na in German
Use this as a question. Ask… Na? This is the shortest way of asking about someone’s well being. It is a way to say both “hello” and “how are you doing?” Literally it means “well” … like when you’re trying to get an answer out of someone…. “Well?!?” Note: informal.
- Hello/How are you doing?
7) Guten Morgen – Good Morning
Okay, you know Guten tag means hello in German – as well as good day or good afternoon. Let’s cover the other parts of the day. Obviously, here, morgen means morning. Not so hard. This is a formal phrase, by the way.
- Guten Morgen
- Good Morning
8) Guten Abend – Good Evening
You know day and morning. What about 6PM when it’s evening time? Let’s introduce a new word – abend which means evening.
- Guten Abend
- Good Evening
9) Gute Nacht – Good Night
What about night? Now…question for you. Do you use good night as a greeting? Maybe a parting greeting rather than one for when you meet someone. However, if you want to know how to say good day, good evening in German… and so on… it’s good to know night. The word is nacht.
- Gute Nacht
- Good night
10) Wie geht’s? – How are you?
Another acceptable greeting. However, this is fairly casual. Another acceptable translation of this is… what’s up in German. I’ll give you 4 variations of this question:
- Wie geht es Ihnen?
- How are you? Formal
- Wie geht es dir?
- How are you? Informal
- Wie geht’s?
- How are you? – SUPER Informal
- Wie geht es euch?
- How are you? (Plural)
- Use this when talking to a group of people
11) Grüß Gott – Hello/Good day
Grüß Gott literally means “may God greet you.” Now, this isn’t used too much in Germany (northern Germany)… but go south, say Austria and Bavaria (southern Germany), you will hear it used a lot. It’s used just like guten tag.
- Grüß Gott
- Hello/Good day
12) Servus – Hello
What does servus mean? Like Grüß Gott, this is also used in Bavaria and Austria. Same meaning – Hello. However, it’s far more traditional. It can also be used as goodbye.
13) Grüß dich – Hello
What does Grüß dich mean? It means “hello” in Bavaria, Austria and Switzerland. Literally though, it means “greet yourself.” If you’re wondering about the ß, it’s a letter that represents “ss.” Originally, it comes from Grüß dich Gott – Be blessed (by god).
- Grüß dich
14) Moin – Hello
Now.. what does moin mean? It’s a shortened version of moin moin (good morning) and is a greeting in Northern Germany. However, it can be used ALL DAY LONG as a greeting. So, not just mornings.
15) Moin Moin – Good morning
Yep, this means good morning in Northern Germany so be mindful of where you use it.
- Moin moin
- Good morning
16) Jo! – Yo!
Can you guess what Jo is? It’s Yo! Yo is a common greeting among young people around the world. America. The UK. Even Japan. And Germany’s no different. So keep in mind – this is a super casual phrase to use. It’s slang.
Now you know the top 16 ways to say hello in German. In other words, you know a lot of German greetings!
So, take this lesson…
- Review often: success comes from REPETITION
- Print it out to have physical study material (i do it all the time)
- Read out loud to practice speaking
- Review the free audio lesson
And did I miss any ways of how to greet or say hello in German? Leave me a comment, you. Yes you. I read them all!
– Written by the Main Junkie
P.S. I highly recommend this for German learners. If you REALLY want to learn to German with effective lessons by real teachers – Sign up for free at GermanPod101 (click here) and start learning!