An enthusiastic “yes” is the best way to start your German adventure! Learn about all the different ways of saying yes in German and impress your new German friends with your language skills.
You might think that any number over “20” for ways to say “yes” in any language is ludicrous, but I’m sure that without thinking two hard you can think of five ways to say yes in your own language.
When we travel to a new country and our language skills are limited we tend to be shy and afraid of misunderstanding or being misunderstood. Embracing the concept of “Yes and…” can give you a new perspective and invites you to really go for it – and say yes to your new German friends
Have you heard of the concept of “Yes and…”? It originated in improv theater and in a nutshell, teaches us to say “yes” to a situation and welcome new possibilities with open arms.
The German language gives you countless ways of saying yes in any given situation. You can say yes to answer a question, give consent, provide information, or even participate in active listening. You might be familiar with the very common “ja”, a simple way to say yes in any situation. To spice it up, we’ll learn about a couple of other possibilities you have when you want to say yes in German.
For the sake of clarity let’s divide these possibilities into an enthusiastic and doubtful way of saying yes.
How to say Yes in German at a Glance
Auf jeden Fall
Yes, I’d love to
Yes, clearly/Yes, Sure
Das klingt gut
For sure (formal)
Ja, warum nicht
Yes, why not
Ja, mal sehen
Yes, we’ll see
Yes, kind of
Das ist wahr
This is true
Du hast Recht./ Sie haben Recht.
You are right
Enthusiastic ways of saying yes
Sometimes you’re just very excited and enthusiastic about an idea or proposal. Maybe you have been harboring a secret crush on a fellow customer in your local bakery and over a Bretzel they finally approach you and ask you out. In this situation you could say:
The classic word in German for yes is “ja”. You can’t do much wrong with that. Apply it in any situation, especially if you are not sure if one of the other options fit.
Also written jep, jap or jup it’s an informal way of saying yes. It actually comes from the English “yes” and is used mostly among a younger demographic. Don’t use this in a formal letter!
Absolutely! Again, pretty close to English, the word “absolut” should just slide off your tongue! You can also use “absolut” to agree with someone.
Naturally! Here’s another enthusiastic way for you to say yes. You can use “natürlich” when someone states the obvious. When the nice grandma in the park compliments your great German, just say “natürlich” and smile.
Auf jeden Fall!
This literally translates to “in any case” in English but means something like “for sure”. Saying “auf jeden Fall” will really emphasize how much you love the idea that you are presented with.
- Would you like to quit your job and travel the world? For sure.
- Würdest du gerne deine Arbeit kündigen und um die Welt reisen? Auf jeden Fall!
“Selbstverständlich” translates to “obviously” in English. Try this tongue-twister if you are up for a challenge.
Yes, I’d love to. “Ja, gerne” is a nice and simple way of saying yes. You can also use this when somebody offers you a ride or something to eat or drink.
Read more about using gerne in German.
What translates to “yes, clearly” means something like “yes, sure”. Use this if you are asked about anything fairly evident and self-explanatory.
- Do you like ice cream? Yes, sure.
- Magst du Eis? Ja, Klar!
Because let’s face it, who doesn’t.
“Ja sicher” is another way to say “yes, sure” in German. As you see the German language definitely has a lot of ways to say “yes, sure”.
“Freilich” translates to something like “for sure” in English. Will you pay a visit to the famous “Oktoberfest” any time soon? Throw in a “freilich” when someone offers you a beer. Bavarians are particularly fond of this peculiar way of saying yes.
Jawohl roughly translates to “Yes sir!”. It fits best if you have to respond to a request or order, but it is not very commonly used.
Reluctant ways of saying yes
You’re not so sure if you’d rather say yes or no? Your annoying coworker asks you to help them with a task although you yourself are already drowning in work?
Since you are a great person, you will probably agree to help them. Let’s look at how you can say “yes” in a more reluctant way, leaving room for interpretation.
Yes, this common universal expression is also used in Germany. When you say okay you agree to something, while making clear that you are not thrilled about it.
As you might have already imagined, “kein Problem” translates to “no problem” in English. This is particularly helpful if someone asks you to lend them a hand. Can you hold my bag while I open the door? No problem. Kannst du meine Tasche halten während ich die Tür aufmache? Kein Problem! It’s also used to say you’re welcome. If someone thanks you for having helped them, you can say “Kein Problem”.
Das klingt gut
“Das klingt gut” means “sounds good” in English. It’s a particularly helpful response if someone asks for your availability or opinion.
- Should we get take-out for dinner? Sounds good.
- Sollen wir Essen bestellen zum Abendessen? Das klingt gut
Make sure you try “Döner” when you’re in Germany. This typical Turkish dish is widespread in Germany and a favorite quick meal for all generations.
“Gewiss” translates to “for sure” in English. This is a rather formal and outdated way of saying yes. Use it to impress other German learners and show them who’s boss in class!
Okay, fine. If you respond “also gut” your conversation partner immediately understands that you’d rather have said no. This is for situations in which it took a lot of convincing to get you to agree to something.
Ja, warum nicht
“Ja, warum nicht” translates literally to “yes, why not” in English. When I hear “ ja, warum nicht” I immediately feel like someone turned up the passive aggressiveness here! That, or you are un-opinionated and fine with whatever.
“Ja, vielleicht” translates directly to “yes, maybe” in English. This is a good expression for future plans that you don’t want to fully commit to yet.
Ja, mal sehen
“Yes, we’ll see”. Use this if you are a commitment-phobe who’d rather leave all their options open.
- Do you want to go skiing on the weekend? Yes, we’ll see.
- Möchtest du am Wochenende Ski fahren gehen? Ja, mal sehen.
Or I might hibernate in bed with a bag of chips. You never know.
Read more about other ways of using mal in German.
This expression might best be translated by “yes, kind of” and is usually followed by a “but”.
- Shouldn’t you have been home by 8 o’clock? Yes, kind of, but I ran into a kitten in a tree and had to rescue it.
- Solltest du nicht um 8 Uhr zu Hause sein? Ja schon, aber ich musste eine Katze aus einem Baum retten…
… seriously, get a better excuse next time.
Exceptions and other situations
Now let’s look at a few other ways of saying yes in German which you can use in a few other cases.
What if you find yourself in a heated discussion on the bus? You probably won’t, Germans don’t really talk on public transport, but just in case you ever need to agree with someone’s argument in a conversation, here’s two ways to do that.
Das ist wahr
“Das ist wahr” literally translates to “this is true” in English. Use “das ist wahr” to agree with someone.
- I believe the weekend should have an extra 24 hours, what do you think? That’s true.
- Ich finde das Wochenende sollte 24 Stunden extra haben, was meinst du? Das ist wahr.
Du hast Recht/Sie haben Recht
This translates to simply “You are right”.
You’ll notice there are two forms. Remember that in German we distinguish between the informal “du”, and the formal “Sie”. You use “du” for friends, family and children. It is becoming more and more common to use “du” with your coworkers or even with your boss, but you should call them “Sie” when you first meet them. If they are comfortable they will offer you to call them “du”. Use “Sie” with strangers.
How to use “doch”
Now let’s look at a particular German expression, “doch”. You use “doch” in a similar way in which you use but or actually in English. Let’s look at a few examples.
- Du magst keinen Kuchen oder? Doch, ich mag Kuchen.
- You don’t like cake, do you? Yes, I do like cake.
- Du wirst später nicht zu Hause sein, richtig? Doch, werde ich.
- You won’t be home later, will you? Actually I will.
Read more about how to use Doch — it’s a very versatile word in German.
Don’t stress over the multitude of options you have when saying yes in German. You can use most of them in all kinds of context and if you ask nicely, a friendly German will surely help you with pronunciation.
The English word “yes” is widely used too, particularly with young people so if all else fails, use that. I promise someone will understand you sooner or later!