Germans DON’T say THIS (and you shouldn’t either)

Germans DON’T say THIS (and you shouldn’t either)

Hallo und Willkommen bei Spring German (Hello and welcome to Spring German)! Ich bin Denisa.

In today’s video, I will guide you through 6 phrases that you would see in a German text book, but really aren’t something German natives would say. At the end, I will give you you a funny example, too, so stay tuned. Los geht’s!

1. Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen (I’m pleased to meet you)

I think I never actually used this one. An alternative for the formal greeting “Es freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen.” (I’m pleased to meet you.) would be “Schön, Sie kennenzulernen” (Nice to meet you). Native speakers also often use simpler greetings like “Hallo” (hello) or “Guten Tag” (good day) when meeting someone for the first time.

DENISA
Hallo. Mein Name ist Denisa Spring.
(Hi. My name is Denisa Spring.)

VANESSA
Schön, Sie kennenzulernen.
(Nice to meet you.)

DENISA
Ebenso.
(Likewise.)

Other alternatives for the informal Schön, dich kennenzulernen (Nice to meet you) are:

  • Freut mich, dich kennenzulernen. (Nice meeting you.)
  • Nett, dich kennenzulernen. (Nice meeting you.)
  • Eine Freude, dich kennenzulernen. (A delight to meet you.)

2. Ich würde gerne zahlen (I would like to pay)

Of course, the sentence Ich würde gerne zahlen (I would like to pay) is completely correct but isn’t used as often as this alternative chunk:

DENISA
(raises her hand)

KELLNERIN
Wie kann ich Ihnen behilflich sein?
(How can I help you?)

DENISA
Die Rechnung bitte.
(Check, please.)

KELLNERIN
Selbstverständlich.
(Of course.)

Chunk alert!

Die Rechnung bitte (Check, please) is a chunk you should memorize when visiting Germany. In my opinion, it’s always one of the chunks you should learn first when going to another country because it will be very helpful in everyday life. So, if you are in a German restaurant, just say die Rechnung bitte (check, please).

Chunks are word combinations that native speakers use all the time and that you can learn by heart as a whole. Check our free essential German chunking kit!

3. Entschuldigen Sie, dass ich zu spät bin (Excuse me, I’m late)

Even though Entschuldigen Sie, dass ich zu spät bin (Excuse me, I’m late) is correct too, Germans would either use the short form Entschuldigung (Excuse me) or the informal version Sorry (sorry). Here you can see it in a dialogue:

DENISA
Entschuldigung. Ich bin zu spät.
(Excuse me. I’m too late.)

DOZENTIN
Alles gut. Setzen Sie sich.
(It’s alright. Sit down.)

VS:

DENISA (per WhatsApp)
Sorry. Ich komme zehn Minuten zu spät.
(Sorry. I’ll be 10 minutes late.)

VANESSA (per WhatsApp)
Kein Problem.
(No problem.)

Other alternatives for Entschuldigen Sie (Excuse me) are:

  • Tut mir leid. (I’m sorry.)
  • Ich entschuldige mich. (I apologize.)
  • Verzeihung. ((lit.forgiveness) Excuse me.) or the one we stole from the French:
  • Pardon. (Excuse me.)

Don’t forget that at the end I will show you a funny alternative when shutting a car door. Stay tuned!

4. c(I’m hungry for …)

DENISA
Ich habe Hunger.
(I am hungry.)

VANESSA
Worauf hast du Bock?
(What do you fancy?)

DENISA
Ich hab’ Bock auf Pizza. Und du? Hast du Hunger?
(I would like some pizza. And you? Are you hungry?)

VANESSA
Ja, total. Ich bin dabei.
(Yes, totally. I’m in.)

Ich habe Hunger auf Pizza (I am hungry for pizza) is a completely correct sentence. With this being said, German native speakers, mostly young people, tend to use the alternative “Ich habe Bock…” (I fancy…) which means “I fancy…”, “I would like…” or “I’m in the mood for …”. A synonym would be “Ich habe Lust” (I would like…). Some examples:

  • Ich habe Bock auf Spagetti. (I fancy Spagetti.)
  • Ich habe Lust, essen zu gehen. (I would like to go eat.)
  • Ich habe Bock auf türkisches Essen. (I would like some Turkish food.)

5. Ich bin beschäftigt (I’m busy)

Ich bin beschäftigt” (I’m busy) is a correct German sentence, but it can sound passive-aggressive or mysterious.

(knock on door)
DENISA

(tries to study) Ich bin beschäftigt!
(I’m busy!)

VS

(knock on door)

DENISA
Nicht reinkommen! Ich bin beschäftigt! (draws hearts in her diary)
(Don’t come in! I’m busy!)

But if you just want to make clear that you don’t have time because you have a lot going on, say “Ich habe viel zu tun” (I have a lot to do).

VANESSA
Wollen wir uns am Wochenende treffen?
(Do you want to meet up on the weekend?)

DENISA
Tut mir leid. Ich kann nicht. Ich habe viel zu tun. Wegen der Uni.
(I’m sorry. I can’t. I have a lot to do. Because of university.)

VANESSA
Kein Problem. Das verstehe ich.
(No problem. I get that.)

Now, let’s go to my last and more fun example of “Germans never say this”.

6. Kannst du die Tür bitte vorsichtiger zumachen? (Can you shut the door more carefully please)

When shutting the car door, Germans don’t say:

DENISA
Kannst du die Tür bitte vorsichtiger zumachen?
(Can you shut the door more carefully please)

They say:

DENISA
Mein Auto ist kein Panzer!
(My car is not a tank!)

There are more of these funny examples. Let me know in the video’s comments if you know some others.

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