12 Easy Ways to Say “Thank You” in German

Fun fact: German is the second-most widely spoken language in the EU right after English. If that gave your jaw a little drop, let us elaborate…

Germany is an economic powerhouse with over 80 million residents, but Germans aren’t the only people who speak German. It is also the official language of Austria, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is also spoken in parts of Italy, Czechia, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Poland. Translation: if you plan on traveling around the EU, a little German could come in handy!

Compared to their romance-language speaking neighbors, German speakers lean on the direct and practical side, so you might find that casual conversations with strangers don’t grow on treas. However, don’t mistake a lack of pleasantries for a lack of politeness. German speakers are polite and expect the same in return. 

“Please”, “thank you”, “you’re welcome”…these are all common words in the German vocabulary that you will hear spoken everywhere and in many different ways. Here we give you a list of 12 easy ways to show your appreciation so you can start practicing your politeness today!

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If you learn one thing from this list, let it be danke. A simple danke is the most common and basic way to say “thank you” in German. It can be used in almost all social situations (both formal and informal) which makes it an excellent choice for a default “thanks”. Also, it’s short and sweet making it easy to remember. 

Danke schön

Now, it’s time to get a little more formal! Adding the word schön, which means “nice” or “beautiful” in English, results in an expression that is a touch more formal than simply saying danke alone. Danke schön literally translates to “thank you kindly” and is often heard in the business world, but it can also be used to express a feeling of warm appreciation with friends and family. 

Example: Das ist wunderbar, danke schön!

Translation: That’s wonderful, thank you very much!

German grammar tip: If you want to write “thank you very much”, be sure to leave a space between danke and schön. If you stick the two words together (Dankeschön), the expression becomes a noun and refers to “a thank-you” (think: “a gift”) or a “gesture of thanks”. If you are wondering why the word Dankeschön has a capital letter, it’s because, as a rule, all German nouns are capitalized. 

Danke sehr

Technically speaking, danke sehr is a slightly more formal version of danke schön, but the two phrases are actually used interchangeably. Sehr means “very” in German and when it is added to danke the expression turns into a sweet “thank you very much”. Just like danke schön, the expression danke sehr is much more common in spoken German than in written German.

Example: Wo ist der Bahnhof? (Die Straße runter nach links) Danke sehr! 

Translation: Where is the train station? (Down the street to the left) Thank you very much!

Vielen Dank

Vielen Dank is a tiny bit more formal than the versions of danke listed above even though it translates to “thanks a lot” in English. It’s a way to express that heartfelt feeling of thanks when someone gives you a big helping hand or when you feel a true blue sense of gratitude. It is also commonly used in writing as a way to end a letter or email.  

Example: Vielen Dank im Voraus!

Translation: Thanks a lot in advance!

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Vielen lieben Dank

Did someone do you a favor so great that you really, really want to thank them? If you want to accentuate how much a helping hand has meant to you, use vielen lieben Dank. In English, the phrase translates to “thank you very, very much” or “many thanks”. It is formal, but also a friendly way to show your heartfelt appreciation.

Example: Vielen lieben Dank – wie lieb von dir!

Translation: Many thanks – how kind of you!

Besten Dank

If vielen lieben Dank seems like too much to remember, make a note of besten Dank, a slightly formal approach to “thank you”, often used in written German. The German word besten (or beste, bestes, etc.) translates to “best” in English and the entire phrase generally translates to “best of thanks” or “best thanks”. 

Example: Besten Dank für Ihr Verständnis!

Translation: Thank you so much for your understanding!

Herzlichen Dank

Herz means “heart” in German, so this expression shows thanks that literally comes from the heart. The phrase can be translated to “a heartfelt thank you” or “a hearty thanks” in English. Herzlichen Dank is often used with friends and family and is the perfect sweet ending to a thank-you card or email. 

Example: Herzlichen Dank für deine Unterstützung!

Translation: Thank you very much for your support!

Tausend Dank

The literal translation of tausend Dank is “a thousand thanks”, but it’s much more common to get a million thanks in English (thanks a million!) rather than a thousand. Tausend Dank is a versatile expression and can be used with close friends and family or in a more formal setting such as work or to thank a host after a party. 

Example: Und natürlich tausend Dank an meine tollen Kolleginnen und Kollegen!

Translation: And of course, thanks a million my dear colleagues!

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Danke, gleichfalls

Gleichfalls means “likewise”, but it can also be translated to mean “the same to you” or “you too”. Danke, gleichfalls means “thank you, you too” in English and is the perfect response when someone wishes you a good meal (guten Appetit).


Schönen Tag noch!

–Danke, gleichfalls


–Have a good rest of your day! 

–Thank you, you too!

Danke vielmals

Vielmals means “very much” in English and when you add it to danke, the expression becomes a very familiar “thank you very much”. This phrase is mostly used with close friends and family. 

Example: Super, Henning, danke vielmals.

Translation: Great, Henning, thank you very much.

Ich danke Ihnen

This is the most formal way to thank someone in German and means “I thank you” in English. Using the formal second-person pronoun Ihnen makes it a polite way to thank someone who deserves a bit more courtesy, such as an elder or an authority figure.

Note: feel free to add sehr or vielmals at the end of this expression to express an even higher level of gratitude!

Example: Ich danke Ihnen, Frau Weber.

Translation: I thank you, Mrs. Weber.

Danke für…

If you haven’t guessed already, danke für means “thanks for” in English (and it even sounds similar!). This is a great way to thank someone for something specific like throwing you a surprise birthday party or buying you those shoes that you have been secretly coveting. It’s a useful phrase if you want to thank someone for considering your job application or project proposal-danke für Ihre Berücksichtigung. Just remember to change the informal deine or eure to Ihre in more formal situations.

Example: Danke für deine Hilfe!

Translation: Thanks for your help!

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Respond by saying “you’re welcome”

Of course, you won’t always be the one giving thanks and there will come a time when you are on the receiving end of a “thank you”. It’s important to give thanks when thanks is due, but it’s also equally important to receive gratitude with grace. And the best way to graciously respond to a thank you is by saying “you’re welcome”.

Bitte / bitte schön / bitte sehr

Bitte is the most common way to respond to thank somebody in German. The German word means both “you’re welcome” and “please” in English (which explains why you might sometimes hear German speakers confuse the two words when speaking in English). Just as with danke, you can add schön (nice) or sehr (very) to bitte to say “thank you very much”. If someone thanks you by saying danke schön, you should return the level of appreciation in kind with an automatic bitte schön. The same is true with danke sehr and bitte sehr.

Gern(e) / gern geschehen / gerne doch

Gern or gerne means “gladly” and when it is added to a German verb it means you enjoy doing something. You can use it alone to mean “gladly” or “of course” or you can couple gern with geschehen to say “my pleasure”. Gern geschehen is more common in formal occasions but can also be used in casual settings. Gerne doch is most often used between friends to show that you are/were happy to help.


Vielen Dank!

–Gern geschehen


–Thanks a lot! 

–My pleasure

Nichts zu danken

Nichts zu danken literally means “nothing to thank for”, but in reality it is simply a very polite way of saying “you’re welcome”. The phrase implies a sprinkle of humility and that you were simply doing your part for the better good.

Example: Nichts zu danken, gerne wieder.

Translation: Not at all, happy to do this again!

Danke fürs Lesen, but still want to learn more? Try our online German course Wunderbla for free for 7 days… bitte schön!

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2 thoughts on “12 Easy Ways to Say “Thank You” in German

  1. Brigitte

    Ich habe mich für einen Französisch-Kurs eingeschrieben, lerne aber gleichzeitig eine Menge über meine Muttersprache Deutsch. Grammatik Wiederholung, Rechtschreibung, aktuelle Wörter und Ausdrücke, also ein Up-to-date Kurs in beiden Sprachen für eine Emigrantin, die vor x Jahren nach Spanien auswanderte.

    1. Diane

      Es freut mich zu hören, dass wir Ihnen beim Sprachenlernen helfen können. Vielen Dank für Ihren Kommentar, einen schönen Tag noch!

      The gymglish team

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