How to greet people in German? Among the greetings the word you will often hear to say Hi or Hello to someone is Hallo. It is clearly similar to the English greeting, and just like hello it is always used to greet peers, such as classmates, or people you know very well, like relatives and friends. In other words, this is an informal greeting. Formal greetings are instead more indicated when you are saying hello to a person you meet for the first time, as well as older people or someone in authority, for example a doctor, a teacher, a police officer.
So, you say:
– Guten Morgen until about noon; then, until 5 pm, the correct form is Guten Tag (both expressions correspond to Good morning).
– In the evening you use Guten Abend for Good evening.
– At night you finally say Gute Nacht. In general, if you want to say goodbye to someone, you can use Tschüss, which is more informal, or Auf Wiedersehen, which is its formal equivalent. Auf Wiedersehen literally means “see you again”.
To sum up, here is a short recap of how to greet people in German.
YOU ARE GREETING…
A FRIEND: Hallo (Hi, Hello) – Tschüss (Bye) – Gute Nacht (Good night)
A STRANGER: Guten Morgen (until 12 am) – Guten Tag (until 5 pm) – Guten Abend (Good evening) – Auf Wiedersehen (See you) – Gute Nacht (Good night)
TALKING ON THE PHONE
When you answer the phone, you can greet people using the expressions above. While, if you want to end a conversation on the phone, you say Auf Wiederhören, which literally means “hear you again”. Some other useful expressions to say goodbye to your interlocutor are: – Bis dann! or Bis später! or Bis nachher! – See you later! – Bis bald! – See you soon! – Bis morgen! – See you tomorrow! German language, like many other languages, has different forms for addressing people you are close to and people with whom you don’t have an informal relationship, or whom you get to know in a more formal context, like at work. Therefore, when asking How are you? in German, it’s essential to consider who is your interlocutor. – Wie geht es dir?, which is usually shortened in Wie geht’s? is used with friends, relatives and peers – Wie geht es Ihnen? is used with strangers, older people, authorities. On the contrary, if you are asked Wie geht es dir? or Wie geht es Ihnen? the answer can be:
|Mir geht es gut||I am fine. You can obviously say just Gut.|
|Mir geht es ganz gut||I feel quite good|
|Mir geht es sehr gut||I feel very good|
|Mir geht es schlecht orMir geht es sehr schlecht||I’m not very wellI feel bad|
|Es geht so||So-so, if you’re feeling neither good nor bad|
Here are two short dialogues to resume the previous expressions.
A: Hallo, wie geht es dir? – Hello, how are you?
B: Mir geht es gut, und dir? – I’m fine and you?
A: Mir geht es auch gut, danke! – I‘m fine too, thank you! This is the informal version.
The formal one would be:
A: Guten Tag, wie geht es Ihnen? – Good morning, how are you?
B: Mir geht es gut, und Ihnen? – I am fine and you?
A: Danke, mir geht es auch gut! – I am fine too, thanks.