How to say "Hello" perfectly to a German

How to say "hello" in German

Summary

Do you want to know how to greet someone in German? Would you like to say "Hello" to your friends in German or know how to greet people on a trip to Germany? Here, you can learn how to greet someone in German and how to strike the right note. We have provided an overview of where you can learn the difference between informal greetings and formal greetings. Whenever you meet someone informally, you can greet them with the word "Hallo!" In daylight, you can always say "Guten Tag!" and in the dark, you can say "Guten Abend", and when you go to sleep, you can say "Gute Nacht". Are you interested in more useful knowledge? There are also helpful videos, many audio examples, and exciting interactive exercises waiting for you.

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Watch video: Basic Greetings in German

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Transcript

In this video, you will learn how to greet someone informally in German. The most common way is "Hallo". As well there are two words from English which are used quite often in Germany: "Hi" and "Hey", and then there is a common one which German learners should remember: "Na?!" To sum it up in German to say "Hey, how are you?" a possible translation is: "Na?! Wie geht's?!", and the last example you can use to impress your German friends is: "Halli hallo."

This video deals with formal greetings. "Guten Tag - Hallo alle zusammen. In diesem Video sprechen wir über formelle Begrüßungen". First, in the morning, you would say "Guten Morgen". This is not only formal, but it is also informal; you also say that to your family, for example. Then during the day from about 11 a.m. until the sun sets, you would say "Guten Tag", and in the evening you would use "Guten Abend".

How do you say goodbye, informally in German? There are a few ways, and the most common one is "Tschüss". There are a few variations of this word, for example, "Tschüssi" or "Tschü". Once you are in Germany, you will start noticing what people say around you. Another word we use quite often, and which is adapted from Italian, is "Tschau".

How do you say goodbye formally in German? The most common way is to say, "Auf Wiedersehen!". "Auf" is a preposition, and in this case, it means “to”. "Wieder" means “again”, and "sehen" means to “see”. "Auf Wiedersehen" literally means - "to see you again". It is usually used formally - so if you go shopping in Germany, for example, the salesperson will probably farewell you with this "Auf Wiedersehen".

Examples & Rules: Basic Greetings in German

How to say "hello" in German?

Imagine you are standing at the airport in Germany. Do you have any idea how to greet the staff there? Have a look at the following examples and find out what kind of greeting suits you.

Situation
Informal
Formal
Addressing
One person
Multiple persons
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Hallo!
Hello!
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The greeting "Hallo" is the simplest and most common informal greeting in the German language. You can use it everywhere and to address everyone very shortly. You can also just smile, raise your hand to greet them or wave to them.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • Multiple persons
    One person
Used By
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Friends
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Family
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Colleagues
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Mood
👋

Welcoming

Friendly

Situations

at a party, at home, at work

Guten Tag!
Good day!
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The greeting "Guten Tag" is polite and a little formal. At a meeting at work you can address a group of colleagues, but you can also greet friends with a "Guten Tag". When entering a shop you are often greeted with a "Guten Tag".

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Teacher
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Boss
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Elderly people
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Mood
👔

Professional

Friendly

Situations

at work, at school, in the street

Guten Tag Ihnen!
I wish you a good day!
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The greeting "Guten Tag Ihnen!" is very polite and very formal. At a workplace meeting a group of colleagues you can address and wish them a good day.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Elderly people
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Boss
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Medical Doctor
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Mood
👵

Old fashioned

Peaceful

Situations

at home, at work, in the hospital

Hi!
Hi!
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The greeting "Hi" is very informal. If you meet a group of colleagues at a workplace that you do not know well, you would never say "Hi". It is very common for young people and used to say hello to a group informally. Many variants are possible in the colloquial language.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • Multiple persons
    One person
Used By
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Friends
person image
Young people
person image
Partner
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Mood
😎

Cool

Situations

at school, at a party, at home

Hallo zusammen. Wie geht es Ihnen?
Hello, everyone. How are you?
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"Hallo zusammen"  is used to say hello to a group. It can be used by all groups of people and is considered a polite and formal greeting. "Wie geht es Ihnen?", in English "How are you?" It is one way to follow up a greeting with a nice question.

  • Formal
  • Multiple persons
Used By
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Teacher
person image
Boss
person image
Colleagues
person image
Mood
👔

Professional

Friendly

Situations

at school, at work

Na?!
What's up?
expand phrase

The greeting "Na?!" is very informal. At the workplace, you would never say just "Na?" It is very common for young people and used to say hello to a group informally. Some variants like "Na?! Was geht?" are possible in the colloquial language.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • Multiple persons
    One person
Used By
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Friends
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Family
person image
Colleagues
person image
Mood
😉

Curious

Amused

Situations

at a party, at home

Guten Tag zusammen.
Hello, everyone.
expand phrase

"Guten Tag zusammen" is used to say hello to a group. It can be used by all groups of people and is considered a polite and formal greeting.

  • Formal
  • Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Teacher
person image
Boss
person image
Colleagues
person image
Mood
👔

Professional

Sympathetic

Situations

at school, at work, at a meeting

Guten Morgen!
Good morning!
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The "Guten Morgen" greeting is only used in the morning until 11 a.m. It can be used by all groups of people and is considered a polite greeting in the morning.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Teacher
person image
Family
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Colleagues
person image
Mood
🙂🌅

Waking up

Friendly

Energetic

Situations

at home, at school, at work

Halli hallo!
Hello - Hello!
expand phrase

The greeting "Halli hallo" is very informal. At a workplace you would never say "Halli hallo." It is very common to young people and and used to say hello to a group informally. Some variants like "Halli hallo hallöle" are possible in the colloquial language.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
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Friends
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Family
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
🤗

Funny

Energetic

Situations

at a wedding, at a party

Hey!
Hey!
expand phrase

The greeting "Hey!" is very informal. If you meet a group of colleagues at a workplace that you do not know well, you would never say "Hey". It is very common for young people and used to say hello to a group informally.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • Multiple persons
    One person
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Young people
person image
Partner
person image
Mood
😎

Cool

Energetic

Situations

at school, at a party, at home

Guten Abend!
Good evening!
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The "Guten Abend" greeting only used in the evening after 5 pm. It can be used by all groups of people and is considered a polite greeting in the evening.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • Multiple persons
    One person
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Elderly people
person image
Family
person image
Mood
🙂🌆

Friendly

Relaxing

Situations

at a party, at home

Moin!
Hello!
expand phrase

Would you like to get to know the north of Germany and greet the inhabitants appropriately? The greeting "Moin" is only used in Northern Germany. Sometimes, there is also the form "Moin-Moin". So, if you are in Bremen or Hamburg and order a cup of tea, you can greet the waiter with a nice "Moin".

  • Informal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Family
person image
Colleagues
person image
Mood
🙂

Friendly

Calm


Situations

at home, at a party, at work, in the street

Servus!
Hello!
expand phrase

Have you ever been to the Oktoberfest in Munich? The greeting "Servus" is used there and only in Southern Germany and Austria. But there you can greet and say goodbye with "Servus" all day long, and do not forget to drink a Maß (a beer) and eat pretzels (German bread) when you are there.

  • Informal
  • One person
Used By
person image
Colleagues
person image
Family
person image
Friends
person image
Mood
🙂

Friendly

Situations

at home, at a party, at work, in the street

How do you say "goodbye" in German?

Often it is not so easy to find out how best to address someone and say "Tschüss" or "Auf Wiedersehen!" which means "Goodbye" in German, whether the farewell is formal or informal. Here you can learn many different ways of saying goodbye in German.

Situation
Informal
Formal
Addressing
One person
Multiple persons
Expand
Collapse
Tschüss!
Bye!
expand phrase

The farewell "Tschüss!" is the simplest and most common greeting in the German language. Sometimes it is written with the "ß" - Tschüß! - which has the same sound as "ss". You can use it when saying goodbye to friends or colleagues.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Young people
person image
Colleagues
person image
Mood
😀

Joyful

Cheerful

Situations

at home, at schol, at work

Auf Wiedersehen!
Goodbye!
expand phrase

The farewell "Auf Wiedersehen!" is the most common formal greeting in the German language. "Auf" is a preposition and in this case, it means to "wieder" means again and "sehen" means to see. In summary, "Auf Wiedersehen" literally means - "to see you again".

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Boss
person image
Elderly people
person image
Friends
person image
Mood
👔

Professional

Situations

at work, at party, at home

Bis bald.
See you soon.
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The farewell "Bis bald!" is more informal and means "see you in a while”. You use it to say goodbye to a friend or as a greeting in a letter, as an invitation to meet again.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Family
person image
Elderly people
person image
Mood
🙂

Friendly

Excited

Situations

at a party, at home, at the train station

Guten Tag!
Good day!
expand phrase

The farewell "Guten Tag" is not often used in Germany. It is a rather formal farewell among good acquaintances. Elderly people often use this farewell.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Teacher
person image
Boss
person image
Colleagues
person image
Mood
🙂

Friendly

Good

Situations

at work, at school, in the street

Tschau!
Bye.
expand phrase

The farewell "Tschau! " is very informal and inspired by the Italian “Ciao”. Germans use it quite often in informal situations. At a workplace meeting a group of colleagues, you can not just say "Tschau!" to say goodbye.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Young people
person image
Friends
person image
Family
person image
Mood
😀

Joyful

Cheerful

Situations

at home, at work, at school

Bis denn.
See ya.
expand phrase

The farewell "Bis denn!" is a colloquial farewell among friends and young people. It can also be used on the phone with friends. The word “denn” comes from the word “dann”, which means later.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • Multiple persons
    One person
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Family
person image
Colleagues
person image
Mood
🙂

Friendly

Joyful

Situations

at a party, at work

Tschüssi!
Bye-Bye!
expand phrase

The farewell greeting "Tschüssi!" is a variation of "Tschüss" and in German-speaking countries a simple greeting. Sometimes it is written with the "ß" - Tschüßi - which has the same sound as "ss". The "i" at the end of the word is used to make it more trivial.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Young people
person image
Colleagues
person image
Mood
😚

Joyful

Cute

Dreamy


Situations

at home, at school, with friends, on the phone

Einen schönen Tag noch.
Have a nice day.
expand phrase

The farewell "Einen schönen Tag noch" is very polite and very formal. When meeting at the workplace, you can address a group of colleagues and wish them a nice day. The farewell is also often used on the telephone.

  • Formal
    Formal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Elderly people
person image
Teacher
person image
Family
person image
Mood
👔

Professional

Very good.

Situations

at work, on the phone

Servus!
Bye!
expand phrase

Have you ever been to the Oktoberfest in Munich? The farewell "Servus" is used there and only in southern Germany and Austria.But there you can greet and say goodbye with "Servus" all day long, and do not forget to drink a Maß (a beer) and eat pretzels (German bread) when you are there.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Colleagues
person image
Family
person image
Mood
🙂

Friendly

Good

Situations

South of Germany

Bis dann.
See ya.
expand phrase

The farewell greeting "Bis dann!" is a colloquial farewell that is used among good friends. It can also be used on the telephone. It is used when you have not yet decided when you will meet again.

  • Informal
  • One person
Used By
person image
Family
person image
Friends
person image
Colleagues
person image
Young people
Mood
🙂

Friendly

Good

Situations

at a party, at work, on the phone

Gute Nacht!
Good night!
expand phrase

The farewell "Gute Nacht" is used in the evening to say goodbye to the other person when it is already late or when you go to bed. It can be used by all groups of people and is considered a polite and informal farewell before going to bed.

  • Informal
    Informal
  • One person
    Multiple persons
Used By
person image
Elderly people
person image
Colleagues
person image
Friends
person image
Mood
🙂🌆

Friendly

Relaxing

Peaceful

Situations

at home, at a party, on the phone

Tschü!
Bye-Bye!
expand phrase

The farewell greeting "Tschü!" is a variation of "Tschüss" and in German-speaking countries a simple greeting. There are also other forms of greeting, such as "Tschö".

  • Informal
    Informal
  • Multiple persons
    One person
Used By
person image
Friends
person image
Young people
person image
Colleagues
person image
Mood
🤗

Joyful

Funny

Situations

at home, at school, with friends, on the phone

Situation
Informal
Formal
Addressing
One person
Multiple persons
Expand
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No items found.

Practice German Dialogues

Dialogue #1 - When you meet your friend at the bus stop

Below you will find a dialogue that will give you an understanding of the use of "Hello" and "Auf Wiedersehen" in Germany.

dialog avatar
Hallo!
Hello!
dialog avatar
Hi!
Hi!
dialog avatar
Wie geht es dir?
How are you?
dialog avatar
Gut. Und dir?
Good. And you?
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Ich bin müde.
I am tired.
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Dann ruh dich aus.
Get a rest.
dialog avatar
Ok. Dann bis bald!
Okay. I'll see you soon.
dialog avatar
Bis dann.
I'll see you.

Dialogue #2 - When you meet a colleague in a business meeting

Practice a formal dialogue to properly welcome colleagues and business partners in a meeting.

dialog avatar
Guten Tag.
Good day.
dialog avatar
Guten Tag Ihnen.
Good day.
dialog avatar
Wie geht es Ihnen?
How are you doing?
dialog avatar
Gut, und wie geht es Ihnen?
Good, and how are you?
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Gut. Danke der Nachfrage.
Good. Thanks for asking.

Dialogue #3 - When you go home from Oktoberfest

This is a dialogue that is held in Munich, in the south of Germany. You can recognize this by the "Servus".

dialog avatar
Servus!
Hello!
dialog avatar
Hey!
Hallo!
dialog avatar
Wie schaut's aus?
How about you?
dialog avatar
Alles gut. Und bei dir?
All good. What about you?
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Mir geht es gut.
I am fine.
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Das freut mich!
Happy to hear that!
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Na dann. Servus!
Well, then. Bye!
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Tschau!
Bye.

Dialogue #4 - When you are chatting informally in the city center.

This is an informal dialogue using "Hi" and "Na?! Was geht?!" that takes place on the street in the city center.

dialog avatar
Hi!
HI!
dialog avatar
Na?! Was geht?!
Hey! What's up?!
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Alles klar. Und bei dir?
All right. How about you?
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Mir geht's gut.
I am fine.
dialog avatar
Ok. Man sieht sich. Tschüß.
Okay. See you. Bye.
dialog avatar
Tschüßi.
Bye.

Free e-book: 10 most important conversations in German

You have just learned how to say hello in German. Do you want to use the right vocabulary, perfect sentences, and correct grammar in your next conversation? The trick is to create your own German dialogue script, which you can easily learn! Afterward, you will be confident you will be successful in your next conversation. We have created the most important dialogues in German for you to help improve your conversation skills in German. Best of all, it is free!

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