Top 100 Most-Used German Words

Learning these words will be helpful for beginning German speakers

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Have you ever wondered what the top 500, 1,000 or 10,000 German words were? If you need to learn German vocabulary, which words should you learn first? Which ones are most frequently used?

The Projekt Deutscher Wortschatz at the Universität Leipzig scanned texts and included variations of the same word, including capitalization versus lower case and other possible forms of any particular word. The definite article ("the") appears in all of its German variations: der/Der, die/Die, den, etc. The verb "to be" appears in all of its conjugated forms: ist, sind, war, sei, etc. Even the new and old spellings of dass/daß are considered two different words.

The Leipzig researchers noted that if one were to select different text sources for analysis, one would get different results. An analysis of the vocabulary found in a novel versus that in a comic book or a newspaper would not be similar. Obviously, an analysis of spoken German would also yield different results. 

Here are charts showing the top 100 most-used German words, and one showing the top 30 most-spoken German words. Students of German 101 should get familiar with these words and their forms.

Top 100 German Words Edited and Ranked by Frequency of Use

Rank German English
1 der (den, dem, des) the m.
2 die (der, den) the f.
3 und and
4 in (im) in, into (in the)
5 von (vom) of, from
6 zu (zum, zur) to; at; too
7 das (dem, des) the n.
8 mit with
9 sich himself, itself, yourself
10 auf on
11 für for
12 ist (sein, sind, war, sei, etc.) is
13 nicht not
14 ein (eine, einen, einer, einem, eines) a, an
15 als as, than, when
16 auch also, too
17 es it
18 an (am/ans) to, at, by
19 werden (wurde, wird) become, get
20 aus from, out of
21 er he, it
22 hat (haben, hatte, habe) has/have
23 dass / daß that
24 sie she, it; they
25 nach to, after
26 bei at, by
27 um around, at
28 noch still, yet
29 wie as, how
30 über about, over, via
31 so so, such, thus
32 Sie you (formal)
33 nur only
34 oder or
35 aber but
36 vor (vorm, vors) before, in front of; of
37 bis by, until
38 mehr more
39 durch by, through
40 man one, they
41 Prozent (das) percent
42 kann (können, konnte, etc.) be able, can
43 gegen against; around
44 schon already
45 wenn if, when
46 sein (seine, seinen, etc.) his
47 Mark (Euro) Mark (Euro) currency
48 ihre/ihr her, their
49 dann then
50 unter under, among
51 wir we
52 soll (sollen, sollte, etc.) should, ought to
53 ich I (personal pronoun)
54 Jahr (das, Jahren, Jahres, etc.) year
55 zwei two
56 diese (dieser, dieses, etc.) this, these
57 wieder again
58 Uhr Most frequently used as "o'clock" in telling time.
59 will (wollen, willst, etc.) wants
60 zwischen between
61 immer always
62 Millionen (eine Million) millions
63 was what
64 sagte (sagen, sagt) said (say, says)
65 gibt (es gibt; geben) gives
66 alle all, everyone
67 seit since
68 muss (müssen) must
69 doch but, nevertheless, after all
70 jetzt now
71 drei three
72 neue (neu, neuer, neuen, etc.) new
73 damit with it/that; by that; because of that; so that
74 bereits already
75 da since, because
76 ab off, away; exit
77 ohne without
78 sondern but rather
79 selbst myself, himself
80 ersten (erste, erstes, etc.) first
81 nun now; then; well?
82 etwa about, approximately; for instance
83 heute today, nowadays
84 weil because
85 ihm to/for him
86 Menschen (der Mensch) people
87 Deutschland (das) Germany
88 anderen (andere, anderes, etc.) "other(s)
89 rund approximately, about
90 ihn him
91 Ende (das) end
92 jedoch nevertheless
93 Zeit (die) time
94 uns us
95 Stadt (die) city, town
96 geht (gehen, ging, etc.) goes
97 sehr very
98 hier here
99 ganz entire(ly), complete(ly), whole(ly)
100 Berlin (das) Berlin

Top 30 Words in Spoken German

Rank German English
1 ich I
2 das the; that (one) neuter
3 die the f.
4 ist is
5 nicht not
6 ja yes
7 du you
8 der the m.
9 und and
10 sie she, they
11 so so, thus
12 wir we
13 was what
14 noch still, yet
15 da there, here; since, because
16 mal times; once
17 mit with
18 auch also, too
19 in in, into
20 es it
21 zu to; at; too
22 aber but
23 habe / hab' (I) have
24 den the
25 eine a, an fem. indefinite article
26 schon already
27 man one, they
28 doch but, nevertheless, after all
29 war was
30 dann the