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Danke schön or Dankeschön – Which is the correct way to say thank you?

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If you are wondering whether the correct word is Danke schön or Dankeschön – congrats, you are officially as confused by German as most Germans are. The average German hardly ever knows whether a word is written together or apart. In this post, we’ll explain the difference between Dankeschön and Danke schön, explain the difference between Vielen Dank and Danke schön and give you an overview of other ways to say “thank you very much” in German.

Danke schön

Dankeschön or Danke schön German

Danke schön means “thank you kindly” or “thank you very much”. It is used to say “thank you” to someone verbally or for a service or kind words. Danke means “thank you” in German and schön means “nice” or “beautiful”. It is an informal but heartfelt expression and is stronger than only saying Danke.

German

Danke schön für deine Hilfe.

Sie haben nicht danke schön gesagt

English

Thank you very much for your help.

They didn’t say thank you very much

Dankeschön

Dankeschön is a noun (das Dankeschön), which is why the word is capitalized, all nouns are capitalized in German. It is used when you talk about “a thank you” or a “gesture of thank you”. Let’s look at a few examples to better understand the use of Dankeschön:

German

Ich habe meiner Mutter als Dankeschön Pralinen geschenkt.

Bekommt sie ein Dankeschön für ihre harte Arbeit?

English

I gave my mom chocolates as a thank you.

Does she receive a thank you (as in a gift or a gesture) for her hard work?

Vielen Dank or Danke schön

Vielen Dank means “thank you very much” and is quite similar to “Danke schön”. Both are used to say “thank you”, but Vielen Dank is more formal than Danke schön. While Danke schön is frequently used verbally between friends and family, Vielen Dank can also be used in writing, on a thank you note for example. 

German

Vielen Dank für Ihren Einsatz in diesem Projekt.

English

Thank you for your effort on this project.

Other Ways to Say Thank You Very Much in German

There’s other alternatives to Vielen Dank and Danke schön. But careful, only Dankeschön is used as a noun – “a thank you” as in a gift – all the other expressions are used to say thank you to someone verbally or in a written form. Take a look at some other ways to say thank you very much. Note that the options below are all rather formal, Danke schön remains the least formal. 

German

  1. Ich sage herzlichen Dank und verabschiede mich.
  2. Wir danken Ihnen vielmals.
  3. Danke sehr für die Blumen.
  4. Schönen Dank, das war sehr nett.
  5. Ich bin Ihnen dankbar für Ihre Hilfe

English

  1. I say thank you very much and goodbye.
  2. We thank you a lot.
  3. Thank you very much for the flowers.
  4. Thank you, that was very nice.
  5. I am thankful for your help.

Learn how to respond to Danke schön: 12 Polite Ways of Saying You’re Welcome in German

Conclusion

As a rule of thumb, remember that nouns are written together and capitalized, verbs and adjectives aren’t. A common Dankeschön in Germany are flowers, chocolates, gift cards, or alcohol. A card is also a nice way to say danke schön. No matter which expression you choose in the end – just make sure you say thank you!

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