Politics. Scientific advancement. If there’s life on other planets.
There are a lot of important topics in the world to discuss.
Yet what’s the topic we like to talk about the most?
It’s the subject we know the most about, and the one we often want to share our expertise on. While an overindulgence of the ego in the native tongue may earn you a bad reputation, in the name of practicing German it’s completely fine.
In fact, we encourage it! The first questions you’re likely to be asked by someone you meet are going to be about who you are and what you like or dislike. So let’s be ready for it.
Learn German Faster by Letting Loose and Using It
Starting to learn a new language can be intimidating. There’s so much you want to say, but you don’t have the vocabulary to say it all yet. It can make you want to hide in the corner while other people talk about global warming and alien lifeforms.
Have courage, dear German learner.
Even if there are only a few things you can say, say them anyway. Not only will native speakers appreciate the effort, but you’ll master the vocab quicker, allowing you to move onto new sentences and grammar points.
Every bit of interaction is valuable; it can help you memorize German, work on the pronunciation, learn the responses people tend to say back, as well as just garner the confidence that you are a bona fide German speaker.
It’s time to show yourself to the German-speaking world. Without further adieu, here are 15 simple sentences you can use to tell people about yourself.
15 Easy Sentences to Talk About Yourself in German
1. Mein Name ist… (My name is…)
This is a great first sentence to know in German, not only because it’s the logical way most conversations start, but because it looks like its English equivalent. Don’t be fooled, however, in thinking that just because Name is spelled the same that it’s always pronounced likewise in turn. The German Name actually has two syllables, coming out something like this: Nah-muh.
2. Mir geht’s gut. (I’m fine)
Even Germans, though not as prone to small talk as English speakers, will still undoubtedly ask you how you are: Wie geht’s? (Or, if more formality is caused for, Wie geht es Ihnen?)
You’re literally responding, “To me, it’s going good.” Don’t be surprised if a German will have a longer answer to the same question. While in America “How are you?” is largely the equivalent of saying hello, the Germans sometimes take the inquiry more serious and will respond with details about their back pains or inconsistent bowel movements.
3. Ich komme aus… (I come from…)
This handy little phrase is used to denote your place of birth. For your convenience, here are a few English-speaking countries:
- Irland (Ireland)
- Grossbritannien (Great Britain)
- Australien (Australia)
- den Vereinigten Staaten (the United States)
Note: Aus always takes the dative case, which is why you have to say “den Vereinigten Staaten” and not “die Vereinigten Staaten” when used in this phrase. Aus is also one of those tricky prepositions that can have different meanings depending on the context, so don’t be alarmed if in other sentences it gets translated as “off,” “out” or as something else.
4. Ich wohne in… (I live in…)
Here you can fill in the blank with your Wohnort, or place of residence. Both a city or country would work here. Life hack: If you’re talking to someone particularly creepy, you might want to make something up.
5. Ich bin ledig. (I am single.)
Why else learn German than to use it to pick up German people? This little sentence comes in handy both to make sure that the cute guy or girl at the party knows you’re available, and for when a German document inquires about your marital status (and there’s no shortage of paperwork in Germany).
For those already committed, you’re obliged to announce Ich bin verheiratet (I am married).
6. Meine Handynummer ist… (My cell phone number is…)
Not a bad sentence to have in the back pocket, just in case the other person seems pleased that you’re single. You might have deduced from this phrase that in Germany a mobile phone is called a Handy, presumably because you can walk around with in in your hand.
7. Ich studiere… (I am studying…)
Germans will undoubtedly want to know how you’re being productive in life. Note that this sentence can only be used to state what your major or subject area is, and not what you’re looking at to prepare for the upcoming test (See #15 for that).
A few examples of how to fill in the blank: Geschichte (history), Jura (law), Zahnmedizin (dentistry), Volkswirtschaftslehre (economics).
8. Ich bin ~ von Beruf. (I work as a ~.)
Literally translating as “I am a ___ by profession,” it’s an important way to ensure a native that you are not arbeitslos (unemployed) and using up the State’s money.
Since the truth matters less than practicing the language, feel free to choose any of the following: Maurer/Maurerin (male bricklayer/female bricklayer), Krankenpfleger/Krankenschwester (male nurse/female nurse), Lehrer/Lehrerin (male teacher/female teacher) or Tischler/Tischlerin (male carpenter/female carpenter).
Note that in German you usually don’t use an article when saying what you do for a living. You literally say, “I’m lawyer” not “I’m a lawyer.”
9. Ich mag… (I like…)
How about a simple, versatile sentence that can be used over and over? Ich mag Pizza (I like pizza). Ich mag das Wochenende (I like the weekend). Ich mag das Wetter (I like the weather.) Ich mag David Hasselhof (I like “The Hoff.”) A happy-go-lucky person can go on forever and ever in German…
Note: Mag is actually pronounced “mahk,” since a “g” takes on a “k” sound when at the end of a word.
10. Ich hasse… (I hate…)
And now for the downers of the group: Ich hasse Gemüse (I hate vegetables). Ich hasse den Regen (I hate the rain.) Ich hasse schlechte Filme. (I hate bad movies.)
11. Meine Hobbys sind… (My hobbies are…)
So maybe Hobbys looks like a word that a German with bad English tried to appropriate into his language, but that just makes it all the easier to remember. A jet-setting, two-stepping waterbug might say something like this: Meine Hobbys sind reisen, tanzen und schwimmen. (My hobbies are traveling, dancing and swimming.)
12. Ich habe ~ Geschwister. (I have ~ siblings.)
This is a pretty basic question that usually comes up when two people are searching for ways to keep the conversation going. You can also make the same inquiry of the other person: Wie viele Geschwister hast du? (How many siblings do you have?)
13. Ich bin ~ Jahre alt. (I am ~ years old.)
Whether choosing to be truthful or not, keep in mind that the order in German numbers is different than in English. Example: Twenty-six is translated as sechsundzwanzig, or literally “six and twenty.” This little caveat starts at twenty (when life gets more complicated anyway).
14. Mein Lieblings ~ ist… (My favorite ~ is…)
German is famous for throwing nouns together and making single words of it, and here’s one example. To state that your favorite movie is “The Notebook” you would say, Mein Lieblingsfilm ist “The Notebook.” Note how “favorite film” becomes a one-word noun.
Knowing this, you can talk about your favorite food (Lieblingsessen), favorite sport (Lieblingssport) or favorite author (Lieblingsautor).
15. Ich lerne Deutsch. (I’m learning German.)
Not only is this one of the most impressive facts about you, but a great way to get permission to practice these sentences on someone. Explaining you’re learning German automatically covers over a multitude of grammatical sins. This verb is usually the equivalent of “studying,” since it’s also used when reviewing old material.
Hey, the world wants to know about you, and it wants to be told in German. These 15 sentences will give you the boost you need to start chatting away and letting people know who you are.
Ryan Dennis was a Fulbright Scholar and previously taught at Pädagogische Hochschule Schwäbisch Gmünd. In addition to hating ketchup, British spelling and violence, he writes The Milk House—the only literary column about dairy farming.
If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn German with real-world videos.
Experience German immersion online!
Oddly enough, the more words you learn, the easier it becomes to remember them. Your long-term memory works like an infinitely elastic network; everything you learn is classified according to meaning. As far as your long-term memory is concerned, the more related meanings you give it, the better.
This doesn’t mean that you should learn hundreds of words all at once, but you will find it helpful to learn words in connected and usable parcels.
That’s why in your text and on this page you will be learning the words for family membersalong with a number of adjectives you might use to describe them. Learning an adjective with some appropriate nouns helps you to remember both. Each kind of word acts as a memory hook for the other.
Using adjectives to describe people requires you to use a noun or pronoun, the verb „to be“ (sein) and an adjective. With these three components you can create a very simple kind of sentence, as shown in the table below. Once you know these three components, you’ll be able to generate hundreds of sentences of your own. Here’s an example, using a friendly father figure.
|Noun or Pronoun||The Verb „to be“ – sein||Adjective|
(he – pronoun)
|ist (third person singular)||groß(tall)|
|musikalisch(musical, musically talented)|
If only all fathers were like that!
The first Quizlet below contains many words for family members, along with a number of adjectives you might need to describe them. First, cycle through the Quizlet. The easiest game to play with this Quizlet is Scatter, which tosses the cards over the screen and allows you to match them. After that you can play a game such as Space Race to ensure that you know all the words. Before you play this game, check the box on the screen for „ignoring stuff in parentheses“ or you will have to type the plural as well.
Reading through the second Quizlet, which contains some simple sentence examples as well, will help you to consolidate this vocabulary.
The next step is up to you. Once you have these components in your memory, you can start creating your own sentences. To learn how to use all the parts of the verb „to be“ (sein) correctly, go to this page.
Use the Quizlet below to revise the vocabulary relating to families. This Quizlet contains both single words and sentences. After cycling through the vocabulary, you could play the Scatter Game, which is the one most appropriate to longer pieces of text.
In the quiz below, you will need to type the missing words, which are usually the nouns for family members. The quiz is all in German, but you should be able to piece the meanings of the sentences together and fill in the missing word. To see the quiz on the whole screen, so that the characters aren’t all squashed up, click HERE.