(There you go!)
(Thank you very much! Goodbye!)
You probably already know that “Thank you” means “Danke” in German. But, if you want to sound more like a native speaker, there are so many more nuanced ways of expressing your gratitude. Today you learn 7 alternatives to “Danke”.
Ich bin Spring German Lehrerin Brunhild und hier ist deine erste Alternative. (I’m Spring German teacher Brunhild and here is your first alternative.)
Guten Abend Frau Fischer. Möchten Sie ein Stück Schokolade?
(Good evening Miss Fischer. Would you like a piece of chocolate?)
(Oh! Thank you!)
Bitteschön. Sie sind immerhin Stammgast hier!
(With pleasure. After all, you are a regular.)
“Schön” means “beautiful”, so “Dankeschön” literally means “thank you beautifully”. Adding a schön (beautiful) to Danke (thank you), is a way of emphasizing your gratitude. You could also flip it around and use the chunk Schönen Dank (beautiful thank you), a version that sometime is even used ironically!
For more phrases and chunks like these that native speakers use all the time get our Free Essential German Chunking Kit to be able to have your first conversations in German right away! The link is in the description.
Guten Morgen. Ich bin Polizeikommissarin Richter.
(Good morning. I am police officer Richter.)
KIM is sneezing in her hand and then shaking THE POLICE OFFICER’s hand.
Na toll. Schönen Dank such!
(Well great. Thanks a lot.)
Before getting to the next option, I am saving the rarest expression for the end. Stick around for some story time and insider knowledge that you will never see in any textbook!
2. Vielen Dank! (Thank you so much)
Vielen Dank (Many thanks) is a stronger version of “Danke” (Thank you), which works wonders in a formal context. I use Vielen Dank at the end of every e-mail:
BRUNHILD writing on the laptop
Vielen Dank im Voraus!
(Many thanks in advance!)
Mit freundlichen Grüßen, Brunhild
By using “Vielen Dank im Voraus” (Many thanks in advance), I thank the receiver of my email in advance, which most likely increases my chances of getting a reply. If I do get one, I use the same phrase in the beginning of my reply!
BRUNHILD writing on the laptop
Sehr geehrte Frau Müller,
vielen Dank für die Rückmeldung.
(Dear Ms Müller, Thank you so much for your reply.)
This is a wonderful way of acknowledging that your conversational partner has taken the time to reply, regardless of whether the answer was beneficial to you or not. You can also acknowledge someone’s effort for writing to you first, even if it is them wanting something from you.
Sehr geehrte Frau Wagner, vielen Dank für die Anfrage.
(Dear Mrs Wagner, Thank you for your request.)
You can also turn Vielen Dank (Many thanks) around and say Danke vielmals (Thanks a lot), which literally means “Thank you many times”. Danke vielmals works the same way as vielen Dank. They always sound friendly and polite and set a beneficial tone to the conversation. If you want to step it up further, you can insert “lieben”, which means lovely. Don’t use it in formal contexts though.
3. Vielen lieben Dank
Vielen lieben Dank (Many lovely thanks) literally means “Many lovely thanks”. Das sagst du, wenn du wirklich sehr dankbar bist. (You say that, when you are really very grateful.)
Hallo! Ich bin zu Hause!
(Hello! I am home!)
Hi Monika. Hast du schon zu Abend gegessen?
(Hi Monika. Have you had dinner yet?)
Noch nicht, ich bin am Verhungern.
(Not yet, I am actually starving.)
Sehr gut. Ich hab nämlich für uns gekocht!
(Very good. I have cooked after all!)
Oh, vielen lieben Dank! Du bist die Beste!
(Oh, thank you so much! You are the best!)
Vielen lieben Dank is a very warm and happy way of thanking someone, which works in formal as well as informal contexts. The same goes for “Vielen herzlichen Dank”, which literally means “Many hearty thanks” – which is also a sincere and heartfelt Thank you.
Diese Art zu danken kommt wirklich von Herzen! (This way of thanking someone really comes from the heart!)
4. Tausend Dank
I sometimes use “Tausend Dank” (Thousand thanks) instead of “Vielen lieben Dank” (Many lovely thanks).
Ist hier die Polizei? Wagner mein Name. Ich möchte eine Vermissten-Anzeige aufgeben. Es geht um meinen Hund.
(Is this the Police? My name is Wagner. I want to file a missing person’s report. It’s about my dog)
Ja, da sind Sie hier richtig. Ich helfen Ihnen genre.
(Yes, you have come to the right place. I’m happy to help you.)
Tausend Dank literally means “Thousand Thanks”, so it expresses a lot of gratitude or even alleviation over receiving the help you’re getting. Another way of expressing alleviation is Gott sei Dank (Thank god).
5. Gott sei Dank (Thank god)
This is not really a way of saying thank you to someone in front of you, but a general “thank you” to universe. Just like in English, Gott sei Dank (Thank god) is a more of a way of uttering your relief over something.
Guten Tag! Sind Sie Frau Wagner?
(Hello! Are You Ms Wagner?)
Ja, die bin ich! Wer ist dran?
(Yes, that’s me. Who is this?)
Mein Name ist Kim. Ich habe Ihren Hund gefunden!
(My name is Kim. I have found your dog!)
Oh, Gott sei Dank! Wie geht es ihm?
(Oh, thank god! How is he?)
Er ist putzmunter!
(He’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!)
Gott sei Dank!
6. Ich weiss nicht, was ich sagen soll (I don’t know what to say)
It’s not always easy to find the right words. Sometimes someone did you a huge favor that you didn’t expect, so you don’t know what to say. This is a phrase that you can use when you’re speechless.
Mino, mein Schatz! Komm zu Frauchen! Ich weiss nicht, was ich sagen soll! Vielen lieben Dank!
(Mino, my darling! Come to mistress! I don’t know what to say! Thank you so much!)
Hier sind 100 € Finderlohn!
(Here are €100 as a reward!)
Nicht Ihr Ernst!
(You can’t be serious!)
Nicht dein Ernst (You can’t be serious) is a chunk native speakers use when they’re very surprised. Notice how the girl in the Dialogue said “Nicht Ihr Ernst” instead of “nicht dein Ernst”? That’s because she doesn’t know the woman she is speaking to very well, which means that Germanys politeness- standards require her to speak formally and adapt the possessive pronoun from “dein” to “Ihr”. Sounds complicated? Watch this video, if you want to learn how to distinguish formal from informal speech.
“Nicht dein Ernst” can be be a positive or a negative remark.
Es hängt alles von der Betonung ab (It all depends on intonation):
- (dankbar) Nicht dein Ernst!
- (ärgerlich) Nicht dein Ernst!
- (überrascht) Nicht dein Ernst!
Literally, “nicht dein Ernst” means “not your seriousness”, but that doesn’t make much sense. That’s why we never translate word-for-word, but learn German in chunks instead.
For more useful chunks like this, make sure to download your free Chunking Kit with the most frequently used German chunks! Der Link ist in der Beschreibung. (The link is in the description.)
7. Vergelt’s Gott!
Der Dialekt in Süddeutschland ist anders. Bayern hat einen besonderen Ausdruck. (The dialect in southern Germany is different. Bavaria has a special expression) – along with Austria. “Vergelt’s Gott” literally means “May god make it up to you”.
This term survived from medieval times, when Bavaria was very catholic. Beggars would say this when given charity by a richer person. The receivers knew that they would never be able to make up for the altruistic deed, so they passed the task on to god, that he may reward the benefactor in their stead.
The correct answer to Vergelts Gott (May god reward you) is Segne es Gott. (May god bless it.)
BENEFACTOR is throwing coins into BEGGARs receptacle.
(May god reward you!)
Segne es Gott!
(May god bless it!)
Some parts of Bavaria are still very influenced by Catholicism, so even today, this old expression is used by some elderly.