common greetings in german

How to Talk and Write Using Common Greetings in German for Beginners


Greetings are an important part of a conversation when learning a language. And greeting someone is the first step to making a good impression on someone. 

So, before you start to learn German grammar, it is very important that you first learn the common greetings in German and how to introduce yourself to someone, so that you can at least communicate with other Germans.

german greetings formal

What are Formal and Informal Greetings

Before you use German greetings in a conversation, it is important that you know how to address them to someone. There are two types of German greetings, formal and informal.

Knowing when to use it will give a big impression when you talk to a native German speaker and when writing a German Email or letter.

We will be talking about how to use these basic greetings in a german sentence for your email and letter later in this article.

When to Use Formal and Informal Greetings? 

Formal greetings are addressed to professional people like doctors, teachers, employers, to someone who is superior to you, or to someone who you just met for the first time (strangers). The most common form of formal greeting is “Entschuldigung” which means “Excuse me” in English.

Informal greetings on the other hand are addressed to people like family, friends, relatives, known persons, and to someone who is inferior to you (children).

They are also used when you meet someone in a very informal setting, like at a party or while walking down the street. The most common informal greeting is “Hallo” which can be translated as “Hello” in English.

But you have to remember that formal and informal greetings use different words. You cannot use “Hallo” as formal, but rather “Guten Tag”. 

You will later learn to perfectly identify how to use them in writing a letter and in conversation as you go along in this article.

how to say hello in german

How to say Hello and Goodbye in German?

When you are choosing greetings, you also need to consider whom you are talking to.

As I’ve mentioned above about formal and informal greetings, simply saying “hello” is the first thing you have to know when learning the German language.

If you’re greeting someone you’re friendly with, you may use the informal expression, “Hallo“.

If you are greeting someone you just met for the first time, you may use the informal expression, “Guten Tag“.

The same with saying “goodbye”. If you’re talking to someone you don’t know well, you can say, “Auf Wiedersehen“. 

If the other person is a friend or family, you may want to say “tschüss” and “mach’s gut” for good-bye. 

Basic Common Greetings in German

Now that you know the formal and informal greetings, it’s time to learn more basic and common greetings in German.

Here are the lists of formal and informal greetings with pronunciation that you need to memorize for your future conversation with a German speaker.

Hello / Good dayHallo / Guten Tag (formal)goo-ten tahg
Good morningGuten Morgengoo-ten mohr-gen
Good eveningGuten Abendgoo-ten ah-bent
Good nightGute Nachtgoo-ten nakt
Hi / HelloHallo (informal)hah-loh
How are you?Wie geht’s / Wie geht es dir? (informal)
Wie geht es Ihnen (formal)
vee-gayts / vee-gayt es deer
vee-gayt es eehnen
Very wellSehr gutzehr- goot
I am goodMir geht es gutmeer gayt es goot
UnderstoodAlles klarales klahr
Thank youDanke / Danke dir (informal) /
Danke Ihnen(formal)
dahn-keh / dahn-keh deer
dahn-keh eehnen
GoodbyeAuf Wiedersehen (formal)awf-vee-der-zeehen
ByeTschüss (informal)chewss
See you soonBis baldbis bahlt
Take careMach’s gut mahks goot

Here is a video of German greetings and basic phrases for beginners.

How to Introduce Yourself in German

So, you know now the basic greetings in German. Let’s try how you will introduce yourself when you meet a German speaker.

To introduce yourself in German, you can say in different ways.

Let’s start with the formal way.

You can say, “Guten Tag, ich heisse ….. ” (Good day, I am….) or “Guten Tag, ich bin ….. “.

You can also say, “Guten Tag, mein Name ist….” (Good day, my name is….)

For informal form, you can simply say, “Hallo, ich bin / ich heisse / mein Name ist…

But basically, when you are meeting someone for the first time, it is better to use the formal way when introducing yourself.

Let me give you more German phrases that you can use in a conversation. We will be using formal greetings for this conversation.

Guten Tag (Hello/ Good day)
Wie geht es Ihnen? (How are you?)
Mir geht es good, danke. ( I am good, thanks)

Ich heisse Maria. (I am Maria)
Und wie heissen Sie? (And what is your name?)
Mein Name ist Teresa. (My name is Teresa)
Wo kommen Sie her? (Where are you from)

Ich komme aus Japan. (I am from Japan.)
Sprechen sie Deutsch? (Do you speak German?)
Ja, ein bisschen. (Yes, a little)

Nein, ich spreche kein Deutsch. (No, I don’t speak German.)
Alles klar. (Understood)
Willkommen in Deutschland. (Welcome to Germany)
Danke. (Thanks)
Auf Wiedersehen. (Goodbye)

german greetings for letter

How to Write a German Greeting for Email or Letter

You can also use some basic greetings when writing an email or a letter. Like speaking, when you want to write to someone in German, you also need to address it in a formal or informal way.

For a formal letter, you have to use the initial salutation,

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren” (Ladies and Gentlemen)
Sehr geehrte Herr Mark” (Dear Mr. Mark) for a male receiver
Sehr geehrte Frau Marie” (Dear Ms./Mrs Marie) for female receiver

That is how you start a German email or letter.

For ending salutation, the most commonly used is the “Mit freundlichen Grüßen“. I highly recommend you to use it when writing a formal letter, although there are other ending salutations you can use on how to end the German email or letter.

By the way, if you noticed, there are some capital letters on these greetings. It is because, in German, all nouns must start with a capital letter, like Marie, Herr, Frau, and so on.

When writing the body of the letter, you can use some of the basic greetings I have mentioned above, like “Guten Tag, Guten Morgen”, “Wie geht es Ihnen”, “Bis bald” etc. 

And when addressing “you”, the main rule is you have to use the word “Sie” (you) with capital “S”. With the verb, it must always ends with “-en”.

For example. “Wo kommen Sie her” (Where are you from?). In this example, I wrote “Sie” and “kommen” since I am writing in a formal way.

So, move on to informal form, the initial salutation should be,

Liebe Marie” (Dear Marie) for female
Lieber Mark” (Dear Mark) for male
Hallo Marie/Mark”

For the ending salutation, there are plenty of them that you can use, but you can simply memorize one and use it when you write a German letter, like the “Liebe Grüße” as it is the most commonly used informal letter.


So that’s it! You can now greet someone, introduce yourself and write an email and letter in German.

Now, the final step is practice!

Practice the introductions and greetings with a native speaker to improve your speaking.

You can practice what you’ve learned on how to greet someone in Germany.

Learn more German vocabulary and read German dialogues to be more familiarized with the German words.

It will not be easy in the beginning but you can learn it when you always use it on a daily basis. And soon you will be good at the German language.

Do you find these common German greetings hard to learn? Let me know your thoughts by commenting down below.

Leave a Reply