As young kids, thank you and please are one of the first things our parents teach us when we start engaging with the people around us. If you’re starting your German language learning journey, you’re probably wondering.. how do you say thank you in German?
German manners and proper etiquette are very important in Germany. While most Germans are excellent hosts, some locals do not look too kindly at foreigners, especially tourists, who insist on speaking English.
So learning to be polite in their language shows your willingness to take a step towards them and learn about their culture.
Stay with us as we explore the many ways of saying thank you in German.
How to Say Thank you in German — At a Glance
Thank you very much
Thank you very much (Formal)
I am thankful to you
I am thankful to you (Formal)
Thank you that’s nice
Thank you, very kind
Thank you, you too
Thank you very much
I thank you
I thank you (Formal)
Thank you in advance
The Most Common Thank You in German
DankeDanke is probably one of the first words you’ve learned. It’s the most common way of saying thank you in German. You might already know this simple and quick way of expressing thanks.
You can use danke in all occasions and say it to just about anybody.
Fun fact to impress your nerdy linguaphile friends with: the word danke actually comes from denken, which means to think. When you think of someone fondly and are grateful to them, say danke.
Danke schönDankeschön translates to something like “Thank you very much” in German. It’s a useful phrase in any situation where you are especially grateful.
Someone helped you find the post office and went all the way with you so you don’t get lost? Say Danke schön and make their day.
Note — it’s two words when used as an expression, or one word (Dankeschön) when used as a noun.
Vielen DankVielen Dank is another way of saying thanks in German.
The phrase vielen Dank is slightly more formal than danke schön and you can use it in any situation in which you would like to express your heartfelt gratitude.
Maybe the nice lady from the bakery down the corner always gives you an extra big Brezel to start your day off. Say vielen Dank and let her know how much you appreciate it.
Casual Thank You in German
Ich bin dir dankbar
The expression ich bin dir dankbar literally translates to “I am thankful to you”.
Using ich bin dir dankbar gives a more personal touch to your expression of gratitude.
Careful, dir indicates that you can use this expression only in an informal way, with friends, family or anybody else you are familiar and comfortable with. Read on to the next phrase to learn how to use this expression in a formal setting.
Tausend DankTausend Dank is an informal expression that translates literally to “thousand thanks” in English. It’s a quick and easy informal way to express your gratitude.
Maybe say Tausend Dank when someone helps you move your sofa into your new apartment. Actually, no, you should probably at least invite them over for dinner too. And make a new German friend while you’re at it!
Ich danke DirIch danke Dir literally means “I thank you” in English.
Remember that dir indicates an informal relationship, so only use “Ich danke dir” for friends, family and people you are close with. You can also indicate why you thank them by saying Ich danke Dir für… which means “I thank you for…” and completing the sentence.
You can read more about formal and informal relationships when using the pronoun “you” in German.
Formal Thank You in German
Ich bin Ihnen dankbar
This variation of Ich bin dir dankban that you can use in a formal context is Ich bin Ihnen dankbar . The “Ihnen” indicates that you can use it with strangers, superiors at work or anybody that you don’t know very well.
When the friendly elderly neighbor offers to water your plants for you while you are out, write them a little thank you note and include Ich bin Ihnen dankbar.
Ich danke IhnenIch danke Ihnen is the alternative for saying “I thank you” in a more formal way.
Use this when speaking to or writing to strangers, superiors at work, or just anyone you aren’t too familiar with. Similar to the last example, you can also include the reason for your gratefulness by saying Ich danke Ihnen für… or “I thank you for…”
General Thank You in German
Danke, das ist nett.Danke, das ist nett. means “Thank you that’s nice”. It’s a great way of thanking someone who does you a favor or goes out of their way to help you.
When you drop your wallet on your way out of the supermarket and someone picks it up and gives it back, say danke, das ist nett.
Danke, sehr aufmerksamDanke, sehr aufmerksam. translates to something like “thank you, very kind” in English. It is mostly used in the context of dining out. Let’s say your waiter fills up your glass of water or brings you a napkin without you even mentioning it – say danke, sehr aufmerksam to let them know how grateful you are.
Danke, gleichfallsDanke, gleichfalls means “Thank you, you too” and is particularly well suited for any situation in which you return good wishes.
Someone wishes you a great weekend? Say danke, gleichfalls. Someone says “Guten Appetit!” (enjoy your meal)? Say danke gleichfalls – well as long as you’re not saying it to your waiter!
Thank You Writing
Herzlichen DankHerzlichen Dank is a rather formal expression roughly translating to something like “thank you very much”. It is most often used in writing. For example, you might use it if you send a quick email to your co-worker thanking them for helping you to convince your boss of your awesome new idea.
Vielen Dank im VorrausVielen Dank im Vorraus means “thank you in advance”. It is used mostly in writing.
Say vielen Dank im Vorraus when you ask someone to forward you that email from a couple of weeks ago that got mysteriously lost in your inbox.
How to Respond to Thank You in German
We’ve covered a ton of different ways of saying thank you in German. At this point, you might wonder, what if someone thanks ME, how do I respond to that? We got you covered here as well. Check out these different ways of saying “You’re welcome” and never experience a situation where you are stuck and simply don’t know what to say.
This might be confusing but bear with me for a moment: bitte means both “please” and “you’re welcome” in German. So when someone thanks you for doing them a favor, you can say bitte and they will immediately know what a super extra polite person you are!
Read next: 7 Different Ways of Saying Please in German
Do you see how this is similar to the dankeschön? Bitteschön means something like “you are very welcome” in English. It is a rather informal expression and emphasizes just how grateful you are.
While gern geschehen doesn’t translate well in English, it is widely used in German-speaking countries to say “you are welcome”. You can use it in any context and say it to just about anyone.
Let’s say someone thanks you for the gift you got them for their birthday – say gern geschehen with a smile and go grab some birthday cake, you earned it.
Kein Problem or “No problem” is frequently used to say “you are welcome”. Make sure to use this expression with a younger demographic and in a more informal context. You offer your seat to a pregnant woman on the subway and she says danke? Respond with a casual kein Problem.
This expression literally translates to “anytime”. You can use jederzeit if you don’t mind doing a favor for that person again. You helped someone not very tech-savy book a flight and they are eternally grateful to you? Say jederzeit and they will know that you will gladly do them another favor next time.
Da nicht für
Da nicht für is best translated to “don’t mention it”. It’s primarily used in the North of Germany. Fun fact, in the rest of the country dafür nicht is much more common.
Do you know that annoying person that says thank you over and over for the most minuscule things? Saying da nicht für is a great way of letting them know that it’s really not that big of a deal.
Make your parents proud and thank a person for how they help you. The lady who shows you the way in a new city, the barista who puts an extra shot of espresso in your coffee, or the postman who goes out of his way to get your package all the way up to your door.
Saying thank you with a smile can make a real difference in how people remember you.