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7 Different Ways of Saying Please in German

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Learning to say please and thank you is one of the first things we’re taught as children. So naturally, it’s a great word to know if you’re getting started with learning German. Saying please in German is quite interesting as there are a couple of different words and expressions for please that depends on the context. In this post, we’ll discuss different ways of using please in German including: using please to make your requests more polite, encourage someone to do something, or ask for a favor.

Please to Make a Polite Request

please in german pray

Add bitte to a request you make, or a favor you ask, and you’ll see that people will be much more inclined to help you. In an affirmation, you can place the word bitte after the verb or at the very end of the sentence. In a question, the word bitte is placed directly after the subject. Check out these examples and find the differences:

  1. Kann ich bitte das Telefon haben?
  2. Darf sie bitte auf die Toilette gehen?
  3. Ich möchte bitte einen Kaffee.
  1. Can I have the phone please?
  2. May she go to the bathroom please?
  3. I would like some coffee please.

Please as an Imperative Command

You can also use bitte to ask someone to do something. This is more forceful than a request. When you use bitte to as an imperative you can put it at the very beginning of the sentence or right after the verb or at the end. Here’s some examples:

  1. Bitte schließ die Tür.
  2. Geh nach Hause bitte.
  1. Please close the door.
  2. Please go home.

Please to Accept Things Politely

You might be familiar with the expression “yes, please” to politely accept something in English and you guessed it – there are equivalents in German. “Ja, bitte” or “ja, gerne” is German for please when you want to accept something. “Ja, bitte” is more polite and “ja, gerne” more informal and enthusiastic.

  • Soll ich dir helfen?
  • Ja, bitte.
  • Möchtest du einen Kaffee?
  • Ja, gerne.
  • Should I help you?
  • Yes, please.
  • Would you like some coffee?
  • Yes, please.

Please to Encourage Someone

You can also add warmth and encouragement to a proposal when you end it with “ja, bitte” or “ja, gerne”. You’ll notice that these are the same expressions we use to accept something politely.

  • Ich schicke dir meine Adresse.
  • Ja, bitte.
  • Morgen helfe ich dir.
  • Ja, gerne.
  • I’ll send you my address.
  • Yes, please.
  • I’ll help you tomorrow.
  • Yes, please.

Read next: 12 Polite Ways of Saying You’re Welcome in German

Please to Express Anger or Disbelief

Some things are just too good to be true. “Bitte” can be used to express disbelief or frustration similar to saying “oh please!”, “Excuse me?!” and “please be real!” in English. “Was bitte!”,”bitte was!” and “wie bitte?” express incredulity. You can also use “Mensch, sei vernünftig!” to say “please, be reasonable!”

  • Lisa hat ein neues Auto gekauft.
  • Bitte was?!
  • Lisa bought a new car.
  • Oh please!
  • Ich werde in die Antarktis ziehen.
  • Wie bitte?!
  • I’ll move to the Antarctic.
  • Excuse me?!
  • I want to travel to the moon.
  • Mensch, sei vernünftig!
  • I want to travel to the moon.
  • Please, be reasonable!

Please to Wish Someone A Nice Time

If you want to wish someone a nice trip and say something like “please enjoy”, the equivalent phrase in German is “viel Vergnügen”. This phrase is used to wish someone a nice party, holiday, date or any other activity. To wish someone a nice meal you can use” Guten Appetit”.

  1. Viel Vergnügen auf deiner Reise nach Italien!
  2. Guten Appetit und bis später!
  1. Please enjoy your holiday in Italy!
  2. Enjoy your meal and I’m sorry.

Please as a Verb – to Please

When using please as a verb, you have two options in German. To please in German is most commonly expressed by saying “freuen” and “zufrieden stellen”. Let’s look at some examples to better understand how to use those verbs:

  1. Meine Arbeit hat sie sehr zufrieden gestellt.
  2. Sie hat sich über meine Arbeit gefreut.
  3. Wie kann ich dich zufrieden stellen?
  4. Haben sie sich über das Geschenk gefreut?
  1. My work pleased her very much.
  2. My work pleased her very much.
  3. How can I please you?
  4. Were they pleased with the gift?

Conclusion

As we have seen, there are many ways of using please in German. Depending on how you’re using it, the word will likely be different. Most often it is translated to bitte, however, gerne can be used in some situations. Knowing these specific contexts and asking for things in a polite way, will surely help you get the things you want, and encourage more positive interactions with locals.

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