Lesson 1: Introductions & Greetings

The very first thing you should learn in German is how to introduce yourself. For this, you will need to learn a verb, a pronoun, and basic sentence structure. You will also need to learn some basic greetings. It is helpful to learn the conjugations of new verbs as soon as you learn the verb. This way, you can begin memorizing it right away. This lesson will cover all of these points.

Look at the list of simple greetings and phrases below:

Hallo                            Hello

Guten Tag                   Good Day

Guten Morgen                        Good morning

Guten Abend               Good evening

Gute Nacht                  Good night

Ja                                 Yes

Nein                             No

Heißen                         verb meaning “to be called” or “am”

Wie geht’s?                 How are you?

Wie geht es dir?          How are you? (more formal)

Gut                              good

Nicht                            not

Sehr                             very

Und                              and

Dir/dich                       you (not at the beginning of a sentence)

Mir/mich                     Me

Danke                          Thanks

Bitte                            please

Wie                              how

Bis bald                       see you soon

Bis morgen                  See you tomorrow

Auf wiedersehen         Goodbye

Notice the verb on the chart is “heißen.” This literally means “to be called,” but it is also used for introducing oneself.

Look at the conjugation chart below to learn how to conjugate heißen. Heißen is an irregular verb.

Ich                   heiße

Du                    heißt

Er/sie/es          heißt

Wir                  heißen

Ihr                    heißt

Sie/sie             heißen

Now, look at the sample conversation below.

Andrea: Guten Tag! Wie geht es dir?

Markus: Guten Tag! Es geht mir gut, danke. Und dir?

Andrea: Mir geht es auch gut. Wie heißt du?

Markus: Ich heiße Markus. Wie heißt du?

Andrea: Ich heiße Andrea. Freut mich dich kennenzulernen.

Markus: Freut mich auch dich kennenzulernen.

And now, the English:

Andrea: Good day/hello! How are you?

Markus: Good day/hello! I am very fine, thanks. And you?

Andrea: I am fine. What is your name? (Literally, “How are you called?”)

Markus: My name is Markus. What is your name?

Andrea: I am Andrea. Nice to meet you. (Literally, “It pleases me to meet you.”)

Markus: Nice to meet you, too.

This conversation represents a simple greeting and introduction between two people who are near the same age. Therefore, this conversation was somewhat informal. For example, if you wanted to speak formally, instead of saying “Wie heißt du?” you would say “Wie heißen Sie?” Notice that the verb changes because of the pronoun. The pronoun went from you informal (du) to you formal (Sie). Sie is always capitalized when it means you (formal), even if it is in the middle of the sentence. On the other hand, I (ich) is only capitalized when it appears at the beginning of a sentence.

Often times in German, you will see verbs at the end of the sentence. This is usually if there are two verbs in a sentence. In “What is your name?” the structure is the exact same as in English.

Ich heiße Andrea. (ich= I heiße=am Andrea=name).

This will not always be the case! When you learn a new sentence, be sure to note the place of the verb. It can be difficult to get the hang of at first, but you will soon recognize which verbs go in last position and which go in second position (after the subject).
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9 thoughts on “Lesson 1: Introductions & Greetings”

  1. woooow it seems so cool i’m likin’ it already !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    thanks for the lesson ………

  2. YIKES! This website has some VERY incorrect German grammar.

    You DON’T say “Ich bin sehr gut” when asked “Wie geht es Dir?”

    You say “Mir geht es gut.”

  3. you have most of the words correct i am certainly impressed also some of it does actually help.
    Thank you. 🙂

  4. I found this lesson to be really helpful, because the books I used didn’t explain little facts that are very helpful – like why the verb goes to the end of the sentence in one instant, but not others. I am looking forward to learning German through you 🙂

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