Manners and etiquette are very important in most cultures, this is true of Germans who value courtesy highly.
So learning to be polite is a no-brainer for German language learners.
Once you have the “Please” and “Thank You’s” down, then it’s time to learn how to say “you’re welcome” – and you’re already halfway there!
You may or may not already know that in Germany they use the word bitte (please).
But there are of course other ways to get the same point across.
Sometimes the tone needs to be adjusted depending on your company or the situation.
So let’s take a look at a nice variety, expand your vocabulary, and help you find the appropriate way to say you’re welcome in German.
How to Say You’re Welcome in German – Overview
|Bitte Schön||You’re very welcome|
|Bitte Sehr||You’re very welcome|
|Gern Geschehen||You’re welcome|
|Mit Vergnügen||With pleasure|
|Kein Problem||No problem|
|Da Nicht Für||No worries|
|Ohne Ursache||Think nothing of it|
|Keine Ursache||There’s no reason to thank me|
|Nichts Zu Danken||It’s nothing|
|Schon Gut||It’s okay|
First up a short note on how ‘NOT’ to say you’re welcome in German!
You would be forgiven for thinking that “ihr willkommen” is the correct phrase to use.
While it is true that “wilkommen” means “welcome” in German, its context is strictly for welcoming someone upon their arrival at a place
As English speakers, we can be tempted to translate word for word very literally.
You will see “wilkommen” pasted on many street signs and be greeted by it when you check in at a hotel or visit a restaurant, but you will never hear it as a response to thank you.
As we previously divulged, bitte, the German word for “please” is commonly used to mean “you’re welcome” as well.
Because both are expressions of politeness, you will often hear both together in an interaction where somebody is serving another person.
Understandably this makes for a little confusion with beginners listening to conversations between baristas and their customers, or at a store check-out.
A back-and-forth like bitte, danke, bitte is very common!
Take a look at the example below that demonstrates the word bitte being used for both!
Customer: Ich hätte gerne einen bier bitte.
Waiter: Hier ist Ihr bier.
Customer: I’d like a beer, please.
Waiter: Here’s your beer.
Customer: Thank you.
Waiter: You’re welcome.
If you were solely listening to this exchange, it could be tough to figure out who’s who!
expressions in German for “you’re welcome”.
If somebody gives you heartfelt thanks, and you know them well enough then you might want a little extra!
The word Schön means “nice”. When adding it to “bitte” you are literally saying nice please- bad grammar but hey, it’s informal.
You can think more along the lines of changing “you’re welcome” to “you are very welcome, or most welcome”.
Of course, if you want to add a genuine quantitative value to your “bitte” then “bitte sehr” is the way to go.
Sehr translates as “very much”. So it means exactly the same thing as bitte schön but is a much more formal choice.
There is more involved in saying “you’re welcome” in German than a simple bitte. As with English, you can mix things up.
Although bitte is commonplace another frequently used phrase that you will hear is “gern geschehen”.
The word “gern” means willingly or gladly and “gesechen” translates to “happen”, signifying that which occurred is willing. But it also means my pleasure!
It is another great way to say “you’re welcome”, ideal for formal and informal situations, and shows a little more sentiment than bitte.
As with most expressions, over time they get shortened this is exactly what has happened with Gern Geschechen.
Gerne is the abbreviation, you might think that as a modern, shortened form it would be used for casual contexts but it’s widely used in many circumstances.
Like the above, Mit Vergnügen which means “with pleasure” is another wholehearted way to say “you’re welcome”.
Plus practicing the “ü” sound is great for your pronunciation skills, and will no doubt impress your German-speaking friends!
Another way that we respond to thanks in English is to say “no problem” it implies that the person is welcome without directly saying it.
Kein Problem is the way to say it in German it is similar and therefore easy to remember, so you might want to slide it into a conversation.
Although you should be aware it is casual and generally used within a younger demographic.
So what do the older demographic say instead you might be wondering?
Well, da nicht für could be considered the equivalent.
It loosely translates to “no worries” and is the informal way to say “you’re welcome” that came long before Kein Problem became hip.
It might be trickier to remember, so be sure to practice until it sticks. It is more mature and a little more impressive than “bitte” to boot!
You might hear the variation, dafür nicht, or nicht dafür, in some parts of the country.
Ohne Ursache translates as “without cause” but can be thought of as “Think nothing of it” or “no worries”.
If someone offers you thanks with relatively undue cause then “ohne ursache” is a perfect informal response.
Another humble way of saying the same thing (no cause or no reason) is keine ursache.
If you feel like you are in a situation where there’s no pressing need to be thanked then it’s another casual choice of words that you can use.
If you require a modest response to someone’s thanks, then “nichts zu danken” is a great choice.
Again it could be considered as “no problem”, in truth it means “it was nothing”!
When we give our help gladly to someone and they thank us we often respond “anytime” if it’s something we would gladly do again.
Germans frequently use the expression too; “jederzeit wieder”.
The expression means “at any time again” when literally translated and in casual situations among friends they may even drop the “wieder” part altogether.
Although it is much less enthusiastic than some of our suggestions, “schon gut” might be all that you need.
If nothing more needs to be said and a situation is informal in good company, then “schon gut” which loosely equates to “all good” or “it’s okay” might suffice in place of “you’re welcome”.
How to Say You’re Welcome in German – Video Guide
You’re Welcome in German – Final Thoughts
Learning a few words goes a very long way, and ‘common everyday courtesies’ is an ideal starting point.
Germans are very polite and respectful to one another so you will often find yourself thanked!
Having the words you need to hand is paramount to be able to reciprocate a gesture.
Saying “You’re welcome” in German is pretty straightforward and we’ve given you plenty of options.
Armed with all that we’ve presented in this article, responding with the perfect polite reply should be “kein problem”.
What are you waiting for? Get practicing, hold a few doors open, and try out your new vocabulary today!
Want an easier way to learn and practice German? Check out our comprehensive guide on the best apps for learning German.
How to Say – Yes in German
How to Say – No in German
How to Say – Goodbye in German