German vocabulary/Greetings and Phrases

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(inf) = informal
(for) = formal
Lit. = Literally

English German
Hello! Hallo!
Moin Moin! (used in northern Germany)
Good Morning! Guten Morgen!
Good Evening! Guten Abend!
Good Night! Gute Nacht! (Only say if you're going to bed! Use 'Guten Abend' until bedtime. Regardless of the hour.)
Good Day. Guten Tag/Tag
Hello Grüß dich! (Lit.: Greet you)-(informal/regional)
My name is... Ich heiße... (Lit.: I am called...)
How's it going? Wie geht's? (inf)
Wie geht es Ihnen? (for)
Wie geht es dir? (inf)
What's up? Was gibt's? (Literally: What gives it?/What does it give?) (informal/regional)
Hello Grüß Gott! (Literally: Greet God) (regional, southern Germany/Austria mainly)
A general purpose greeting, used around mealtimes (enjoy your meal / guten Appetit) Mahlzeit!
Alright! In Ordnung/Schon gut
Goodbye! Tschüss!
Have a nice evening! schönen Feierabend!
Have a good weekend! schönes Wochenende!

Greetings used throughout Germany

  • Guten Morgen - Good Morning
  • Guten Tag - Good Day, Good Afternoon (Note: Germans don't normally say Good Afternoon).
  • Guten Mittag - Good noon. (very rare)
  • Guten Abend - Good Evening ~ After Work; regional? past 17:00 or 18:00
  • Gute Nacht - Good Night ~ reserved for right before bedtime
  • Hallo - Hello (Note: Informal: used when speaking to people with whom you are on familiar terms).

Greetings specific to southern Germany

  • Grüss Gott (God's greetings -- used predominantly in the South of Germany such as Bavaria and also in Austria)
  • Grützi! (used in German speaking Switzerland)

Greetings specific to Austria

  • Servus - Hello, Good Day, Good bye (used predominantly in Austria/Vienna and Bavaria, colloquial, informal only)

Informal and Formal[edit | edit source]

Germans, to those that are of higher authority or people that they do not know, use formal phrases--such as Guten Morgen and Guten Tag. Informal phrases, such as Tschüss, are used with friends/people you know well. If you were to meet with your teacher (Der Lehrer), you would use formal phrases such as Guten Morgen instead of Hallo, and likewise: Auf Wiedersehen instead of Tschüss.