When you are learning a new language, like German, expressing gratitude is an important part of daily interactions.
Therefore, one of the first phrases you should learn in German is how to say “thank you” so you can show someone appreciation for helping you when you are in German-speaking countries.
As with most languages, there are multiple variations of “thank you” in German that can be used in different contexts and with different people.
This guide will break down all the different ways to say “thank you” in German so you can express your gratitude with confidence and ease!
How to Say Thank You in German
- Danke — Thank you / Thanks
- Danke schön / Danke sehr — Thank you kindly / Thank you very much
- Vielen Dank — Many thanks
- Besten Dank — Best thanks
- Vielen Dank im Voraus — Many thanks in advance
- Tausend Dank — Thanks a million
- Danke für… — Thank you for…
- Ich danke Ihnen — I thank you
- Ich bin dir dankbar — I’m thankful to you
- (Danke) sehr aufmerksam — (Thank you) That is very kind of you
- Wie nett von Ihnen / dir — How nice of you
- Danke, gleichfalls — Thank you, the same to you
- Ich bedanke mich — I give you my thanks
- Ich möchte mich recht herzlich bedanken — I would like to sincerely thank you
- Vergelt’s Gott — May God reward you for it
How to Say Thank You in German
1. Danke – “Thank You” / “Thanks” in German
The most common way to say “thank you” in German is to say “danke”.
“Dake” actually means “thanks” and as you can imagine it is a pretty casual greeting. However, you can still use “danke” for both formal and informal situations.
Since “danke” is such a common German greeting, it is not rude to use this “thank you” phrase with people you are not familiar with, especially if it is a casual thank you as you are going about your daily life.
2. Danke Schön / Danke Sehr – “Thank You Kindly” / “Thank You Very Much” in German
If you want to say thank you in a more formal way, or express your gratitude with more seriousness than just “thanks” then you can add “schön” or “sehr” onto “danke”.
“Danke schön” means “thank you kindly” and can be used between friends as well as in a formal setting. “Danke sehr” is slightly more polite as it means “thank you very much”.
Both phrases can be used interchangeably to express extra gratitude than simply saying “danke” and so are useful to know when you want to add more ‘oomph’ to your “thanks”.
3. Vielen Dank – “Many Thanks” in German
“Vielen dank” is another polite way to say “thank you very much” and is often used when you are giving a heartfelt thanks to someone.
Since “vielen dank” translates to “many thanks”, you would use it when someone has helped you out immeasurably or when you are truly grateful for something.
Be careful not to use “vielen dank” all the time though as it could seem like you are saying it sarcastically if you do not mean it.
4. Besten Dank – “Best Thanks” in German
Another variation of “vielen dank” is “besten dank” which simply means “best thanks” in German.
You can use “besten dank” when you want to express extra thanks or convey to someone that you are giving them your ‘best thanks’.
The use of “best” or “besten” makes “besten dank” a heartfelt expression that you can use with almost anyone but it is also a phrase you should be careful with so as not to come off as ironic.
5. Vielen Dank Im Voraus – “Many Thanks in Advance” in German
If you have asked someone to do you a favor and want to thank them before they complete the task then you’ll need to know how to say “thanks in advance”.
“Vielen dank im Voraus” means “many thanks in advance” and is a great way to express your gratitude to someone soon after they have agreed to do you a favor.
The word “Voraus” means “ahead” or “advance” and when used in conjunction with “vielen dank” this allows you to express your sincere thanks to someone before they have done anything for you.
Of course, if the favor you have asked of someone is not a big deal then you can simply say “danke im Voraus” meaning “thanks in advance”.
Don’t forget to thank the person again, after the fact, once they have completed the favor for you.
6. Tausend Dank – “Thanks a Million” in German
If you want to say the equivalent of “thanks a million” to someone in German you would say “tausend dank”.
Although “tausend” actually means “thousand” in German, saying “a thousand thanks” is used in the same way as “thanks a million” and the phrase has the same amount of weight behind the thanks despite the numbers being different.
You would use “tausend dank” to express extreme gratitude in an informal way when you are speaking to close friends or good acquaintances.
7. Danke Für… – “Thank You for…” in German
If you want to thank someone for a specific thing that they have done for you, then you would say “danke für” which means “thank you for”.
This phrase will come in useful if you want to make someone aware that they have done something nice for you without realizing it and you want to highlight the specific thing you are thankful for.
“Danke für” is an easy phrase to remember since adding “für” to “danke” is very similar to adding “for” to “thanks” in English.
Obviously, after saying “danke für” you would say exactly what you are thankful for, using the accusative case.
You can use “danke für” whether you want to thank someone for something physical that they have brought you or something abstract, like a virtue of someone, that you appreciate.
See examples below:
- “Danke für den Kaffee” = “Thanks for the coffee”
- “Danke für Ihr Verständnis” = “Thank you for your understanding”
8. Ich Danke Ihnen – “I Thank You” in German
If you want to say thank you in a formal and polite way then using the pronoun “Ihnen”, which is the dative form of the formal Sie, is a good idea.
Saying “Ich danke Ihnen” is appropriate to use for people who need to be given more respect, such as people more senior to you in societal rank, like your boss, or people who are much older than you, like your grandparents.
“Ich danke Ihnen” also expresses humility due to how formal the phrase is, so this is a good phrase to use when you have really messed up and want to express your unwavering gratitude to someone.
9. Ich Bin Dir Dankbar – “I’m Grateful to You” in German
If you want to sound more grammatically correct and use a properly worded sentence instead of just saying “thanks” you can say “I am grateful to you” which in German is “ich bin dir dankbar”.
Of course, the use of “dir” will depend on who you are speaking to since you would use “dir” when talking to a friend or someone you know well.
To thank a group of people you know would say “ich bin euch dankbar” and for those who you do not know who require a more respectful greeting, you would say “Ich bin Ihnen dankbar”
10. Sehr Aufmerksam – “That is very kind of you” in German
If you want to express your gratitude to someone without saying “thank you” then you can say “sehr aufmerksam”
When someone has done something especially kind or if they have done something from the goodness of their own heart without being asked, you would say “sehr aufmerksam” meaning “that is very kind of you”.
Since this expression of gratitude is also a compliment, it is a nice phrase to say as the person receiving this expression will feel good about themselves.
Of course, if you want to explicitly say thank you as well all you have to do is simply add “danke” to the front making “danke, sehr aufmerksam”
11. Wie Nett Von Ihnen / Dir – “How Nice of You” in German
“Wie nett von dir” is similar to the previous phrase as it expresses gratitude to someone who has done something nice using their own initiative instead of being asked.
The phrase “wie nett von dir” translates to “how nice of you” and is a phrase that you would exclaim after finding out someone has performed a kind deed for you.
As mentioned previously, you would use “Wie nett von dir” when expressing gratitude to friends or those you know. To say the same phrase to someone you do not know you would use the formal pronoun Ihnen and say “Wie nett von Ihnen”.
When this phrase is used sincerely and in the right context it is a lovely genuine expression of gratitude in German.
12. Danke, Gleichfalls – “Thank You, the Same to You” in German
Sometimes you will be thanking someone for a kind greeting and may want to express the same sentiment back to them.
Instead of just repeating what they have said, you can use the word “gleichfalls” which means “likewise”.
Saying “danke, gleichfalls” means “thank you, same to you” and is a great response when you want to thank someone for wishing you well and then wish them well also.
“Gleichfalls” is a common stand-alone response meaning “you too” and is often used when you want to return a sentiment back to the person who expressed it to you, whether negative or positive. Adding “danke” simply makes this phrase a bit more polite.
“Gleichfalls” is also a very useful phrase since it allows you to say “you too” without needing to know which pronoun to use with the person you are talking with, either dir or Ihnen.
See the example phrase below:
A: “Ich wünsche dir alles Gute” = “I wish you all the best”
B: “Danke, gleichfalls” = “Thank you, you too”
13. Ich Bedanke Mich – “I Give You My Thanks” in German
If you want to overemphasize that the thanks you are giving to someone are coming from yourself then you can say “I give you my thanks” which in German is “ich bedanke mich”.
This phrase can sound a bit clunky to English speakers, but it is simply another way to formally thank someone and is worded in a slightly different way than other expressions in this list.
Since you are using the reflexive verb “sich bedanken” meaning “to thank” and you are the person giving the thanks, you would use “mich” meaning “me” instead of the previously seen “dich” meaning “you”.
This is another good phrase to use if you are not sure of what pronouns to use for somebody since you are the one doing the thanking, so you are the subject of the phrase and would use “mich”.
You can add “dir” and “Ihnen” to the end of this phrase “Ich bedanke mich bei dir / Ihnen” if you are sure of how formal you need to be and want to make the greeting extra formal.
It can all be a bit confusing to simply say “thank you” in a roundabout way but it is still a useful phrase to add to your vocabulary.
14. Ich Möchte Mich Recht Herzlich Bedanken – “I Would Like to Sincerely Thank You” in German
If you really want to give a heartfelt thank you in a formal situation or professional setting then you could say “Ich möchte mich recht herzlich bedanken which means “I would like to sincerely thank you”
The use of the adjective “herzlich” meaning “heartfelt” really takes this “thank you” to a new level and the phrase carries a sincere feeling.
15. Vergelt’s Gott – “May God Reward You for It” in German
The final phrase will probably be of more use to you when speaking German in Austria or southern Germany, in areas that are historically linked to Catholicism.
A phrase like “vergelt’s Gott” meaning “may God reward you for it” is simply a fancier way to say “thank you”.
In these regions, the Christianisation of phrases has persisted to this day, despite the religious meaning of phrases having been lost.
It is fun to use local dialects and so if you do ever want to thank someone in Austria, this phrase will come in handy.
Saying “thank you” is a fundamental part of courteous interactions and it is always nice to show gratitude to someone when they have done something nice to you.
Hopefully, now you will be able to get involved in showing thanks to someone in German.
So long as you keep in mind who you are thanking and choose the correct phrase, you will always be able to express your gratitude in German.
All that’s left to say is – “Danke für’s Lesen!” or “Thank you for reading!”