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How To Say Yes And No In German Posted by on Apr 22, 2016 in Language

There are a million ways to say yes and no in German. Whether you’re accepting a party invite or sending a door-to-door salesman on his way, here are some German phrases that’ll set you up and give your ‘yesses and nos’ a lot more power!

nein

Photo: weltum on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ways to say nein – no

Das interessiert mich nicht – That doesn’t interest me

Das will ich nicht – I don’t want that

Das kann ich nicht – I can’t do that

Das mag ich nicht – I don’t like that

Ich kann nicht – I can‘t

Ich habe keine Zeit – I don’t have time

Das geht (momentan) nicht – It’s not possible (at the moment)

Vielleicht nächstes Mal – Maybe next time

Ich bin (momentan) beschäftigt – I’m busy (at the moment)

Ich habe zu viel zu tun – I’ve got too much to do

Ich habe zu tun – I’ve got things to do
(An unusual-sounding phrase that literally translates to ‘I have to do’, omitting what it is there is to do. Though it might sound odd, it is correct German!)

Lieber nicht – I’d rather not

Dieses Mal kann ich nicht – I can’t this time

Ich habe schon Pläne – I already have plans

 

Soften the blow of a nein:

Depends who you’re talking to and how badly you want to get rid of them, right? Add the following onto the front of any of the above phrases if you want to soften the blow of your no:

Es tut mir Leid, aber… – I’m sorry, but…

Danke, aber… – Thanks, but…

 

Ways to say ja – yes

JA

Photo: kongharald on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Das wäre… gut/toll/usw. – That would be … (good/great/etc.)

Gerne – Gladly

Natürlich – Of course
Natürlich mache ich das – Of course I’ll do that
Natürlich gehe ich – Of course I’ll go

Auf jeden Fall – Definitely

Ich freue mich (schon) – I’m looking forward to it (already)

Das klingt gut – That sounds good

Das wird sicher Spaß machen – I’m sure that’ll be fun

 

MAYBE!

Now what about those times when you’re not sure if it’s a yes or a no? Or perhaps don’t want to say no outright, but you know you’re not really interested? We’ve all used that glorious word ‘maybe’ when really we mean ‘no’! Here are a few ways of saying maybe in German.

 

Ways to say vielleicht – maybe

hit miss or maybe

Photo: smemon on flickr.com under a CC license (CC BY 2.0)

Ich weiß noch nicht – I don’t know yet

Ich überlege es – I’ll think about it

Ich muss zuerst darüber nachdenken – I need to think about it first

Ich muss zuerst checken– I need to check first

Ich sag es dir morgen/später/am Dienstag/nächste Woche – I’ll tell you tomorrow/later/on Tuesday/next week

Hoffentlich – Hopefully

 

I hope this list has been helpful! If you have any more suggestions of your own, or any ‘creative’ ways you’ve said yes, no or maybe, do share them in the comments!

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About the Author:Constanze

Servus! I'm Constanze. I'm half English and half German. I write here because I'm passionate about my languages and my roots. I also work as a translator & group fitness instructor.


Comments:

  1. Carlos R. Barron:

    diser information is braubar,Ich ubung meine Deutsch Ich gelern in transparent .com mit wort des tages.
    Danke
    Carlos R. Barron , im Milwaukee, WI.