How to Say Thank You and You're Welcome in German

sports fans holding signs that spell Danke (thank you in German)
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Courtesy is important no matter what country you're visiting. In Germany however there is greater emphasis on formalities and speaking to people in die Höflichkeitsform: addressing acquaintances, colleagues and people you don't know with Sie as opposed to du/ you, which is reserved more for family and close friends. 

The same goes when expressing thank you and you're welcome in German. There is a more formal way and less formal way of stating these expressions.

Below you will find a list divided as such, however many expressions are fine in both situations since just simply stating thank you and you're welcome is polite in and of itself. The most important thing to keep in mind is to use Sie/Ihnen and du as appropriate. (Please note that the translations are not always literal, but rather an English equivalent.)

More Formal Ways of Saying Thank You:

Most common : Dankeschön, Danke sehr
Other ways:

  • Schönen Dank (Many thanks)
  • Besten Dank (Best of thanks)
  • Haben Sie vielen Dank! (Many thanks)
  • Ich bin Ihnen sehr dankbar (I'm very grateful/thankful to you)
  • Ich danke Ihnen (I thank you)
  • Herzlichen Dank (Heartfelt thanks)
  • Ein herzliches Dankeschön (My/Our heartfelt thanks)
  • Danke vielmals (Many thanks), Ich danke Ihnen vielmals
  • Vielen Dank (Many thanks)

Less Formal Ways of Saying Thank You

  • Danke
  • Vielen Dank (Many thanks)
  • Danke vielmals (Many thanks)
  • Tausend Dank (Thanks a million)

    More Formal Ways of Saying You're Welcome

    • Bitteschön
    • Bitte sehr
    • Gern geschehen (It was my pleasure)
    • Mit Vergnügen (With pleasure)

    Less Formal Ways of Saying You're Welcome

    • Bitte
    • Gern geschehen (It was my pleasure)
    • Gern (shortened form of "Gern geschehen")
    • Nichts zu danken (Don't mention it.)
    • Schon gut (That's fine. No problem)
    • Kein Problem (No problem)

    For how to say "please" in German, see The Many Meanings of Bitte