How to say "Thank You" in German:
Everything you need to know
German speakers are generally very polite and take everyday greetings and courtesies seriously. Saying 'thank you' frequently and in an appropriate manner is, of course, an important aspect of this.
As with many languages, German offers a number of variations of how to say thank you. Start with the simplest forms of how to say thank you in German (as a tourist or visitor you can mostly get by with the very
simplest form). Then add other forms of thank you to your vocabulary as they take your fancy.
Note that German politeness dictates that when you are thanked for something, a response is generally expected (and in some cases required), just as in English we respond to thanks by saying you're welcome
or don't mention it
. See below
Getting started: "Danke"
The basic word for thank you in German is Danke
is an 'all-rounder' – it can be translated as both 'thank you' and 'thanks' and it's therefore acceptable in formal situations (when said with feeling and eye contact!) and also in the most casual of situations (when it translates as a causal thanks
). "No, thank you" is simply "Nein, danke"
All forms of saying thank you in the German language are based on and around the word Danke
Taking things further – expressing heartfelt thanks
Just as in English, there are numerous ways to express your thanks in German. The most commonly used variations – all of which mean thank you very much
(literally: thank you kindly/nicely)
(literally: thank you very)
(literally: many thanks)
(literally: heartfelt thanks)
Ich bedanke mich
(literally: I offer my thanks)
(literally: Best of thanks)
Don't be concerned about the literal translations. These all basically mean thank you very much
and are interchangeable and acceptable in any situation.
When you want to really emphasize your thanks in German
The following phrases are a little more formal and are not so suitable for causal situations (they may be interpreted as sarcastic and therefore rude).
(literally: a thousand thanks)
Vielen Herzlichen Dank
(literally: many heartfelt thanks)
(literally: heartfelt kind thanks)
Vielen Dank für alles
(literally: Thank you for everything)
Some versions of the German 'thank you' have both formal and familiar forms.
Formal versions use the formal Sie/Ihnen
(you) and Ihr/Ihre
(your). Familiar versions use the informal Du/Dir
(you) and Dein/Deine
(your). Note that unless you know someone very well, or are speaking to children or students, the formal version is the safer option. Formal versions are always appropriate when addressing anyone older than yourself.
Ich danke Ihnen/Dir (sehr)
Thank you (very much) (literally: I thank you (very much))
Haben Sie vielen Dank
Many thanks (literally: you have my many thanks)
(Note, while it is possible to use this phrase in the familiar form – Hab vielen Dank
– the more formal nature of the phrase makes it sound a little strange).
More elaborate thanks
The following phrases may be used to say thank you more elaborately. For simplicity we have used the basic thank you form Danke
, however all the other variants (Danke schön, Herzlichen Dank
etc.) can be used in its place. Again, note the use of formal and familiar versions.
Danke für Ihre/Deine Gastfreundschaft
Thank you for your hospitality
Danke für das schöne Geschenk
Thank you for the beautiful gift
Danke für die schöne Zeit
Thank you for the wonderful time
Danke für den schönen Abend
Thank you for the lovely evening
Danke für Ihre/Deine Hilfe
Thank you for your help
Danke für Ihre/Deine Mühe
Thank you for your efforts
Vielen Dank für Ihren/Deinen Anruf
Thank you for calling (on the telephone)
Danke im voraus
Thank you in advance/anticipation
Responding to thanks in German
The German language response to thanks depends on the form used and on the situation (casual or more formal).
The standard response to Danke
, but in response to thanks meaning you're welcome
In response to Danke schön
you will hear and should say:
In response to Danke sehr
you will hear and should say:
Both Bitte schön
and Bitte sehr
translate as 'You're welcome'.
Slightly more formal responses to thanks include:
It's my pleasure
Nichts zu danken
Don't mention it, that's fine (literally: nothing to thank for)
No reason (to mention it)
You will also hear the casual: