16 Ways to Say I Love You in German

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Showing people love is an important part of life and you certainly do not want your confessions of love to get lost in translation, 

When learning German, it may not seem like the most romantic language, but it is still important to learn words and phrases relating to romance in order to communicate your feelings properly to that special someone. 

Although Germans may come across as a little more reserved, especially when it comes to matters of love, they still have plenty of words and phrases to express their affection and there are plenty of nuances and details that you’ll need to know when saying “I love you”. 

While Germans may not say “I love you” as freely as you might in other countries, there are plenty of other words to express your appreciation and we have listed everything you’ll need to know for every level of “love” in this guide. 

From showing love to friends and family to expressing feelings of romance and declaring love for your soulmate – we have got you covered. 

We’ve even added a list of the most common German pet names that you can call your significant other. 

Table of Contents

I Love You in German at a Glance

  • Ich liebe dich – I love you
  • Ich hab’ dich gern – I like you
  • Ich mag dich – I like you
  • Ich find’ dich klasse – I think you’re great
  • Du gefällst mir – I like you/You are great to me
  • Ich steh’ auf dich – I’m into you
  • Ich hab dich lieb – I love you
  • Ich hab dich ganz arg lieb – I love you very much
  • Ich hab dich ganz doll lieb – I love you very much
  • Ich habe Gefühle für dich – I have feelings for you
  • Ich bin in dich verliebt – I am in love with you
  • Ich bin bis über beide Ohren verliebt – I am head over heels in love with you
  • Du bist mein Ein und Alles – You are my one and only / You are my everything
  • Du hast mein Herz erobert – You have conquered my heart
  • Du hast mein Herz gestohlen – You have stolen my heart
  • Du bist die Liebe meines Lebens – You are the love of my life

All the Ways to Say I Love You in German

1. Ich Liebe Dich – “I Love You” in German

The most common way to say “I love you” in German is “Ich liebe dich”. 

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This classic German “I love you” phrase is reserved for when you are in a relationship with someone and are in love with them. 

Unlike the English “I love you”, you wouldn’t use “Ich liebe dich” lightly and so should only say it when you are in an intimate relationship with someone. 

If you want to respond to this phrase you can say either “you too” which in German is “Ich dich auch” or you could say “I love you too” which is “Ich liebe dich auch” in German.

2. Ich Hab’ Dich Gern – “I Like You” in German

If you want to tell someone that you like them then you can say “Ich hab’ dich gern”. 

“Ich hab’ dich gern” is a casual and informal way to express a platonic like for someone and is not used to express romantic feelings. 

The word “habe” for “have” has been shortened to “hab’” in this phrase as it is an informal way of speaking. “Hab’” shouldn’t be used in writing but look out for it in this guide as it is commonly used in informal speech.

3. Ich Mag Dich – “I Like You” in German

Another way to say “I like you” in German is “Ich mag dich” and it is a pretty straightforward expression of affection. 

You can use “Ich mag dich” in either a platonic way or a romantic way depending on the context you use it in and it is a great phrase to indicate that you have romantic feelings for someone without being too intense.

If you want to find out whether someone likes someone else you can ask “ magst du sie/ihn?” which means “do you like him/her?”. This is a good question to get the gossip or just to find out innocently if someone likes someone else. 

4. Ich Find’ Dich Klasse – “I Think You’re Great” in German

A versatile phrase to express affection or admiration is “Ich find’ dich klasse” which translates to the English, “I think you’re great”.

You can use “Ich find’ dich klasse” in multiple contexts, either romantically, friendly or even to congratulate someone for something. 

The German word “klasse” means “great” and can be used as an adjective to describe someone. Another example of this word is “deine nachbarin ist klasse” which means “your neighbor is great”.

5. Du Gefällst Mir –  “You Are Great To Me” in German

If you want to express a physical attraction to someone you can say “du gefällst mir” which means “I like you”. 

Although, “du gefällst mir” literally means “you are great to me” it is used in the context of “you suit me” or simply “I like you” and should be used when expressing romantic feelings and a physical attraction to someone else. 

6. Ich Steh’ Auf Dich – “I’m Into You” in German

When you want to confess your feelings in German in a straightforward manner you can say “Ich steh’ auf dich”. 

“Ich steh’ auf dich” means “I’m into you” in German and is also a way of saying “I want your love”.

Therefore, you obviously cannot use this phrase in a platonic way since it is a romantic and/or sexual expression. 

“Ich steh’ auf dich” is used informally mostly by young people when they are confessing their feelings to each other.  

7. Ich Hab Dich Lieb – “I Love You” in German

Sometimes you will want to tell a family member that you love them without it being a declaration of undying love, in these situations you would say “Ich hab dich lieb”. 

“Ich hab dich lieb” means “I love you” in German and is used to express love for your family such as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and other family members. 

You will probably most commonly use this when saying “I love you” to your parents or children but you can also use “Ich hab dich lieb” when talking to a very close friend who will understand that you mean it in a family sort of way. 

If you are in a relationship but are not ready to confess your unbinding deep love for your significant other, you can say “Ich hab dich lieb” as a more light-hearted “I love you”.  

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8. Ich Hab Dich Ganz Arg Lieb – “I Love You Very Much” in German

Another variation of “Ich hab dich lieb” which you would use in exactly the same way, is “Ich hab dich ganz arg lieb” which means “I love you very much”. 

“Ich hab dich ganz arg lieb” will often be said by parents to their children and it is simply another familial phrase used to show love to your loved ones. 

The phrase “ganz arg” means “very much” and is added into the phrase “Ich hab dich lieb” to make a more affectionate expression for family members.

9. Ich Hab Dich Ganz Doll Lieb – “I Love You Very Much” in German

“Ich hab dich ganz doll lieb” is an alternative way to say “I love you very much”. 

This phrase uses “ganz arg” instead of “ganz doll” but both phrases mean “very much” so when added into “Ich hab dich lieb” they return the same result. 

Be careful not to confuse the word “toll” meaning “great” with “doll” from “ganz doll” meaning ”very much”.

10. Ich Habe Gefühle Für Dich – “I Have Feelings For You” in German

Instead of confessing your feelings with the more casual “Ich steh’ auf dich” meaning “I’m into you” you can use a more mature phrase.

“Ich habe Gefühle für dich” means “I have feelings for you” and is a useful phrase to know if you want to express your feelings in a more considered and adult way. 

When using “Ich habe Gefühle für dich” it is of course implied that the feelings you have for someone are romantic ones. 

This phrase will come in handy when you want to tell someone you like them but are not sure if they like you back. 

11. Ich Bin In Dich Verliebt – “I Am In Love With You” in German

Telling someone you love them in German is an art form with many nuances and “Ich bin in dich verliebt” is a way to say “I am in love with you” that will be useful in specific situations. 

When you are in love with someone romantically but are not fully in love like you might be in a committed relationship you would use “Ich bin in dich verliebt”. 

This confession of love is stronger than “Ich hab dich lieb”, which you would use with family, but not as intense as using “Ich liebe dich”, which is of course reserved for when you are fully committed in love. 

If you want to emphasize that you are falling in love with someone in the moment you can say “Ich verliebe mich gerade in dich” which translates as “I’m falling in love with you right now” since “gerade” means “right now”. 

12. Ich Bin Bis Über Beide Ohren Verliebt – “I Am Head Over Heels In Love With You” in German

Some phrases of affection are a bit over the top and can be fun to use. One such phrase is “Ich bin bis über beide Ohren verliebt” which means “I am head over heels in love with you”. 

While you may say “Ich bin bis über beide Ohren verliebt” in a wild confession of love, mostly this phrase is used to tease your friends who have fallen in love. 

For example, you might say “Friedrich ist bis über beide Ohren verliebt in Charlotte”, which means “Friedrich is head over heels in love with Charlotte”.

13. Du Bist Mein Ein Und Alles – “You Are My Everything” in German

If you already have a significant other but want to reaffirm your love for them you could say “you are my everything” which in German is “Du bist mein Ein und Alles” 

The direct translation of “Du bist mein Ein und Alles” is closer to “you are my one and only” which indicates that you would only use this phrase if you have a “one and only”. 

“Du bist mein Ein und Alles” is a great phrase to express extra romance to your loved one, for those lucky enough to be in a serious relationship.

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14. Du Hast Mein Herz Erobert – “You Have Conquered My Heart” in German

Another phrase that expresses deep feelings for someone you are in love with is “Du hast mein Herz” which means “you have conquered my heart”. 

Since Germans are not inclined to like extravagant public demonstrations of love, “Du hast mein Herz” is great for when you want to show your love in a small, serious and significant way. 

The poetic nature of “Du hast mein Herz” is bound to have your partner weak at the knees. 

15. Du Hast Mein Herz Gestohlen – “You Have Stolen My Heart” in German

Another slightly more negative expression of love relating to the heart is “Du hast mein Herz gestohlen” which translates as “you have stolen my heart”.

Since stolen has more of a negative connotation, you might use this phrase when you are in love with someone who does not love you back and you feel like they have your heart in the palm of their hands. 

Of course, you can use, “Du hast mein Herz” in more positive expressions of affection but it will certainly be a useful phrase to know in situations of unreciprocated love. 

16. Du Bist Die Liebe Meines Lebens – “You Are The Love Of My Life” in German

Some phases should only really be said when you are sure that the other person feels the same way and “Du bist die Liebe meines Lebens” is certainly one of them. 

“Du bist die Liebe meines Lebens” means “you are the love of my life” in German and is a romantic and drama filled way to say “I love you”. 

Situations you may wish to use “Du bist die Liebe meines Lebens” are in love letters, during wedding vows or in an engagement speech.

Pet Names For Your Loved Ones in German

Despite confessing the big “I love you”, “Ich liebe dich”, being only used in certain situations, Germans do often use pet names for each other. 

Below are listed some common pet names that you might want to start calling your special someone by to ensure they are feeling loved without having to say “I love you” all the time. 

A common way to make an endearing pet name is to add either “-i” or “-chen” at the end of a word to make it diminutive. 

Schatz – “Sweetheart” in German

The most common pet name in Germany that can be used across all genders and demographics is “Schatz” which translates roughly to “treasure” or “sweetheart” in German. 

A popular variation of “Schatz” is to add the “-i” and make it “Schatzi”. However, adding “-chen” creates “Schätzchen” which has a slightly sarcastic and therefore negative connotation.

Liebling – “Darling” in German 

Another popular romantic name that is used for all genders is “Liebling” which in German translates to “darling”. 

As you can imagine “darling” is a nice and sweet pet name that is perfectly fine to be used with your significant other in public. 

Some pet names based on animals are less socially acceptable to say in public so it is good to know some that you can use in any situation. 

Liebes – “Darling” in German 

A variation of “Liebling “ that is used more often when addressing women is “Liebes” which also means “darling”. 

Hase – “Bunny” in German

Another popular pet name for all genders is “Hase” which means “bunny”. This name is often used in its diminutive form meaning “Hasi” and “Häschen”  and also variations you can use.

Mausi – “Mousy” in German

Although the word “Maus”, meaning “mouse” isn’t used as a pet name in German its diminutive variations “Mausi” and “Mäuschen” are common. 

Both “Mausi” and “Mäuschen” can be used for both genders but are often used for women. 

Schnecke – “Snail” in German

The word “Schnecke” meaning “snail” might not be your first idea for a romantic pet name, but it can actually be used for a woman.

Before you start calling your partner “Schnecke”, it is best to check if they are okay with it, as sometimes it can be used as a derogatory word towards women. 

Bärchen – “Little Bear” in German

“Bärchen” might be considered a bit more of an embarrassing pet name to use in public since it means “teddy bear” or “little bear”. 

Often used for men, “Bärchen” is usually said in private as the men understandably do not like being referred to by it in public. 

Enge – “Angel” in German 

A lovely pet name for women is “Engel” which means “angel” in German. 

“Engel” is a popular pet name to call your partner as it allows you to show affection to them in a more discreet way without displaying it publicly. 

Conclusion 

Now that you have studied this guide you will be able to properly express your affection in German in every way possible and show the people you love how you truly feel. 

From a simple “I like you” to a massive “I love you” and all the pet names, confessions of feelings and poetic declarations of love in between, you are now prepared to show love to people in Germany in very different ways so make sure you use each of them wisely. 

Hopefully, this guide has also shown you that the typical stereotype of Germans being uptight and unaffectionate is just not true, Germans simply select the words and phrases that they use with each other very carefully and show their affection in different ways to different people.

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