Learning German vocabulary can be tough — there are literally thousands upon thousands of German words that make up the German language! What kind of vocabulary should you start with? We’ve made this basic German vocabulary guide to help you with exactly that! We will cover:

  • Common German phrases and words used in everyday life;
  • German numbers and how to pronounce them;
  • German words for colors and shades;
  • Greetings in German;
  • Days of the week in German;
  • Months of the year in German;
  • A list of German clothing vocabulary;
  • German vocabulary for music and music genres;
  • How to learn German vocabulary online with Global General.

If you’re interested in expanding your German vocabulary to immediately improve your German communication, keep on reading!

Let’s dive right in.

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#1: Common German Phrases and Words Used in Daily Life

Learning basic German phrases is certainly one of the best ways to learn German. You can start practicing it immediately in very basic German conversations, even without having studied any grammar or topic-based German vocabulary. The list of basic German phrases can also be quite long, but you only need a few essential words to take the first step in learning basic German. We’ve made a list of the most useful German phrases for you below, including German phrases for when you travel to a German-speaking country. Keep in mind that you must learn the basic rules of German pronunciation so that whenever you learn a new word, you also learn its pronunciation at the same time. This is a key secret to remembering words better and speaking fluently.

german word made from letter cubes

Basic German phrases for everyday life

English
German
Yes
ja
No
nein
Maybe
vielleicht
Please
bitte
Thank you kindly
dankeschön
Thank you
danke
How are you?
Wie geht es Ihnen? (formal)
Wie geht es dir? (informal)
I'm fine.
I'm so-so.
I'm not doing well.
I'm doing better.
Es geht mir gut.
Es geht.
Es geht mir schlecht.
Es geht mir besser.
Excuse me!
Entschuldigen Sie bitte! (formal)
Entschuldigung! (informal)
Pardon me?
Wie bitte?
I'm sorry.
(Es) Tut mit leid.
Really?
Wirklich? Echt?
Gladly!
Gerne! Mit Vergnügen!
Nice to meet you.
Sehr erfreut. / Freut mich.
Nett, Sie kennen zu lernen
Take care
Mach's gut. / Pass auf dich auf.

Basic German phrases for traveling to a German-speaking country

English
German
Table for two, please
Tisch für zwei bitte
Where is the bathroom?
Wo ist die Toilette?
Where can I find an ATM?
Wo finde ich einen Geldautomaten?
How can I get to …?
Wie komme ich zu …?
Is there a restaurant nearby?
Gibt es ein Restaurant in der Nähe?
How much is this …?
Wie viel kostet das …?
Sorry, I don’t understand
Es tut mir leid, ich verstehe das nicht
Could you let me pass please?
Darf ich bitte vorbei?
When does the next bus leave?
Wann fährt der nächste Bus?
I’m lost.
Ich habe mich verlaufen.

#2: German Numbers: How to Write and Pronounce Them?

Numbers are an essential part of German vocabulary — and vocabulary in any language, for that matter! You use them to give phone numbers, ask for addresses, talk about the price of products, dates of future or past events, and many more practical things in daily life. For that reason, they’re one of the first words that German learners study, and you should make sure you’re very comfortable with this part of German vocabulary. Misunderstandings can easily happen with numbers, so make sure you know the correct German pronunciation.

NumberNumber in GermanGerman pronunciation
1eins“eyns” (long “i” sound, like in “pie” or “fly”)
2zwei“tsvy” (long “i” sound)
3drei“dry”
4vier“feer”
5fünf“fuhnf”
6sechs“zex”
7sieben“ZEE-bin”
8acht“akt”
9neun“noin”
10zehn“tsayn”
11elf“elf”
12zwölf“tsvolf”
13dreizehn“DRY-tsain”
14vierzehn“FEAR-tsain”
15fünfzehn“FUHNF-tsain”
16sechszehn“ZEX-tsain”
17siebzehn“ZEEB-tsain”
18achtzehn“AKT-tsain”
19neunzehn“NOIN-tsain”
20zwanzig“TSVAN-zig”
30dreißig“DRY-sig”
40vierzig“FEER-tsig”
50fünfzig“FUHNF-tsig”
60sechzig“ZEX-tsig”
70siebzig“ZEEB-tsig”
80achtzig“AHKT-sig”
90neunzig“NOIN-tsig”
100hundert“HOON-dert”

#3: Complete List of All the Colors and Shades in German

When you begin describing things in German, many of the words you’ll use will probably be colors. They’re one of the first things we notice when we look at anything, and so we often use color vocabulary to identify and talk about objects around us. You’ve probably learned the most basic words for colors already, but you can study the list below to learn a couple more German color words so that you can express yourself accurately no matter what you are describing.

Color in EnglishColor in German
redRot
magentaMagenta
pinkRosa
orangeOrange
yellowGelb
greenGrün
turquoiseTürkis
cyanCyan
blueBlau
violetViolett
purplePurpur
brownBraun
silversilberfarben
greyGrau
goldengoldfarben
beigeBeige
whiteWeiß
multi-coloredbunt

Shades of colors in German

Color in EnglishColor in German
light brownhellbraun
light greenhellgrün
light bluehellblau
dark browndunkelbraun
dark greendunkelgrün
dark bluedunkelblau
bright redleuchtend rot
bright yellowleuchtend gelb
bright blueleuchtend gr​ün
reddishrötlich
yellowishgelblich
greenishgrünlich
blueishbläulich
blackishschwärzlich
whitishweißlich

#4: Learn the Basic and Most Common Greetings in German

Greetings are one of the first German words you will need to use in nearly every real-life situation. Before you ask a stranger for directions, a shop assistant about the price of a product, or your German host where the bathroom is, you will always greet the person first. There are many ways to greet people in German, with formal words and informal words depending on the kind of situation you are in. Below is a list that summarizes some of the most useful words for German greetings.

Saying hello in German

EnglishGerman
HelloHallo
HiHi
Hello (lit. Good day)Guten Tag
Good morningGuten Morgen
Good eveningGuten Abend
Good day!Grüß Gott!

Saying goodbye in German

EnglishGerman
Goodbye! (formal)Auf Wiedersehen!
Bye on the telephone.Auf Wiederhören
Goodbye! (informal)Tschüss!
See you soon!Bis bald!
See you later!Bis später!

#5: Days of the Week and Months of the Year in German

German words for days of the week and months of the year are another very useful part of German vocabulary. You’ll need these words for making plans with friends, booking flight tickets or making hotel reservations, talking about your school, work, or last vacation, or even just talking about what you did last week. There are not too many words to learn here, so focus on achieving the best possible pronunciation as you review them.

Day of the week in EnglishDay of the week in GermanGerman pronunciation
MondayMontag“Mohn-taag”
TuesdayDienstag“Deens-taag”
WednesdayMittwoch“Mitt-wokh”
ThursdayDonnerstag“Donors-taag”
FridayFreitag“Fry-taag”
SaturdaySamstag“Zaams-taag”
SundaySonntag“Zohn-taag”
Month of the year in EnglishMonth of the year in GermanGerman pronunciation
JanuaryJanuar“yah-noo-ahr”
FebruaryFebruar“fay-broo-ahr”
MarchMärz“mehrtz”
AprilApril“ah-pril”
MayMai“my”
JuneJuni“yoo-nee”
JulyJuli“yoo-lee”
AugustAugust“ow-goost”
SeptemberSeptember“zehp-tehm-bah”
OctoberOktober“ok-toh-bah”
NovemberNovember“no-vehm-bah”
DecemberDezember“de-tsem-bah”

#6: Learn Comprehensive German Vocabulary for Clothing

German words for clothing will be very useful for describing both yourself and the people around you. We all wear clothes, but the words you can use to describe your own clothes and the words you can use to describe someone else’s clothes will undoubtedly be quite different. We’ve made several lists with clothing words down below so that you are able to describe every possible outfit in German.

German vocabulary for clothing tops

jacketdie Jacke (n)
blousedie Bluse (n)
shirtdas Hemd (en)
T-shirtdas T-Shirt (s)
dressdas Kleid (er)
sweaterder Pullover (-)
pulloverder Pulli (s)
sports jacketdas Sakko (s)
raincoatder Regenmantel (ä)
coatder Mantel (ä)
tank topdas Trägerhemd/das Tanktop
blazerder Blazer
hoodieder Kapuzenpulli
sweaterder Pulli, der Pullover

German vocabulary for clothing bottoms

pantsdie Hose (n)
skirtder Rock (ö, e)
jeansdie Jeans
leggingsdie Leggings
shortsdie kurze Hose/die Shorts

German vocabulary for footwear

sockdie Socke (n)
shoeder Schuh (e)
bootder Stiefel (-)
sandaldie Sandale (n)
heelsdie Absätze
tennis shoeder Tenisschuh

German vocabulary for other clothing and accessories

pursedie Handtasche (n)
beltder Gürtel (-)
scarfder Schal (s)
swimsuitder Badeanzug (ü, e)
tiedie Krawatte (n)
ringder Ring (e)
necklacedie Halskette (n)
braceletdas Armband (ä, er)
earringder Ohrring (e)
gloveder Handschuh (e)
watchdie Armbanduhr (en)
glassesdie Brille
man's suitder Anzug (ü, e)
woman's suitdas Kostüm (e)
bag, pocketdie Tasche (n)
underweardie Unterwäsche
pantyhosedie Strumpfhose
brader BH — Büstenhalter
sockdie Socke
hatder Hut

#7: Learn German Words Related to Music and the Different Genres

If you’d like to make some German friends, then German vocabulary related to hobbies and people’s interests is what you need. That’s exactly what this vocabulary section is about — giving you the German words needed to ask other people about their taste in music, as well as describe your own. Below, you’ll find German words for describing different music genres, as well as vocabulary for musical instruments.

German vocabulary for music genres

musicdie Musik
Classical musicdie Klassische Musik
Popular musicdie Popmusik
Reggae musicReggae
rock musicdie Rockmusik
folk musicdie Folkmusik
hip hopHip Hop
heavy metalHeavy Metal
jazz musicdie Jazzmusik
bluesBlues
electronic musicdie Elektronische Musik

German vocabulary for instruments

the musiciansdie Musiker
the singer (male)der Sänger
the singer (female)die Sängerin
singingder Gesang
the pianodas Klavier
the drumsdas Schlagzeug
the bass guitarder Bass
the electric guitardie elektrische Gitarre
the keyboarddas Keyboard
the trumpetdie Trompete

Become a Perfect German Speaker With Global General

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Each language taught is divided into levels based on the CEFR standards and takes a minimum of 12 hours of studying to complete (except for English, which takes 25).

Global General will have you speaking confidently and with ease in no time. Here is what we can offer you:

  • Dozens of flashcards to help you train your memory and learn useful German words ;
  • Simulations to practice your German skills in real context, for all four competencies: reading, listening, speaking, and writing;
  • A “did you know” section with tips and fun facts to dive deeper into the German language and culture;
  • 5000 detailed corrections;
  • Personalised feedback from our expert language coaches;
  • Validation of your competencies after every 5 simulations;
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Here’s Why You Should Choose Global General for Learning German

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