How to Learn Conversational German Fast (with 100+ Phrases and Foolproof Tips)

Conversation comes easily in your native language, but you may find it tricky to have meaningful conversations in German still.

I’m here to tell you that it’s never too late to learn how to speak German naturally, the way Germans do.

Even if you’re still a beginner, all it takes is a dedicated focus and some of the best tools to learn German online—which we will cover in-depth right here.

Remember, there are three different types of “you” in German. With these phrases, we’ve used the du form, which you use when speaking to one person informally, or to someone you already know like a friend or family member.

If you’re still speaking informally, but to more than one person, you use ihr

In more formal situations, like a meeting or professional setting, or in a situation where you don’t know the person, like in a store, you would use Sie. This goes for just one, or multiple people. 

The type of you changes how the verb in the sentence conjugates:

Was machst du? (What are you doing) [informal singular, du]

Was macht ihr? (What are y’all doing?) [informal plural, ihr]

Was machen Sie? (What are you doing?) [formal singular and plural, Sie]


100 Must-know Conversational German Words and Phrases

Hallo Hello
Guten Morgen Good morning
Guten Tag Good day
Guten Abend Good evening
Gute Nacht Good night
Wie geht es dir? How are you?
Mir geht es gut I am fine
Danke Thank you
Bitte Please
Entschuldigung Excuse me
Ja Yes
Nein No
Vielleicht Maybe
Auf Wiedersehen Goodbye
Tschüss Bye
Bis bald See you soon
Wie heißt du? What is your name?
Mein Name ist... My name is...
Woher kommst du? Where are you from?
Ich komme aus... I am from...
Wie alt bist du? How old are you?
Ich bin ... Jahre alt I am ... years old
Freut mich Nice to meet you
Herzlich willkommen Welcome
Prost Cheers
Gesundheit Bless you (after a sneeze)
Bitte schön You're welcome
Kein Problem No problem
Es tut mir leid I am sorry
Das ist in Ordnung That is okay
Was machst du? What are you doing?
Ich arbeite I am working
Ich lerne Deutsch I am learning German
Wie spät ist es? What time is it?
Es ist ... Uhr It is ... o'clock
Was machst du gerne? What do you like to do?
Ich mag... I like...
Ich liebe... I love...
Ich hasse... I hate...
Wie ist das Wetter? How is the weather?
Es ist sonnig It is sunny
Es regnet It is raining
Es schneit It is snowing
Wie war dein Tag? How was your day?
Gut Good
Schlecht Bad
Interessant Interesting
Langweilig Boring
Wie lange bleibst du? How long are you staying?
Ich bleibe ... Tage I am staying ... days
Wo ist das Badezimmer? Where is the bathroom?
Ich habe Hunger I am hungry
Ich habe Durst I am thirsty
Was isst du gern? What do you like to eat?
Das schmeckt gut That tastes good
Das schmeckt schlecht That tastes bad
Kannst du mir helfen? Can you help me?
Natürlich Of course
Ich verstehe nicht I don't understand
Wie viel kostet das? How much does it cost?
Zu teuer Too expensive
Günstig Inexpensive / Cheap
Wo ist der Bahnhof? Where is the train station?
Wie komme ich zum Museum? How do I get to the museum?
Links Left
Rechts Right
Geradeaus Straight ahead
Hilfe! Help!
Ich habe mich verlaufen I am lost
Kannst du mir den Weg zeigen? Can you show me the way?
Wo kann ich Tickets kaufen? Where can I buy tickets?
Ich habe eine Reservierung I have a reservation
Was empfiehlst du? What do you recommend?
Das ist lecker That is delicious
Das ist eklig That is disgusting
Wie geht es deiner Familie? How is your family?
Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! Happy birthday!
Frohe Weihnachten! Merry Christmas!
Gute Besserung Get well soon
Herzlichen Glückwunsch! Congratulations!
Wie war dein Wochenende? How was your weekend?
Ich habe Spaß I am having fun
Das ist interessant That is interesting
Das ist langweilig That is boring
Ich bin müde I am tired
Ich bin begeistert I am excited
Ich bin neugierig I am curious
Das ist schön That is beautiful
Das ist hässlich That is ugly
Wie ist deine Telefonnummer? What is your phone number?
Kann ich dich anrufen? Can I call you?
Was machst du gerne in deiner Freizeit? What do you like to do in your free time?
Ich spiele gerne... I like to play...
Ich lese gerne I like to read
Ich schaue gerne Filme I like to watch movies
Ich höre gerne Musik I like to listen to music
Was sind deine Hobbys? What are your hobbies?
Das ist lustig That is funny
Das ist traurig That is sad
Ich vermisse dich I miss you

How to Learn Conversational German with Fast and Fun Techniques

1. Start by Filling Your Mind with German Words and Phrases

To learn conversational German as an adult, you must understand common words and phrases, the accents and the pronunciations.

You can start by learning the words and phrases above and supplementing your knowledge by listening to German conversations. You can find plenty on video platforms like YouTube, such as this one:

Here are some methods you can use to supercharge your vocabulary:

You can also use German learning apps to see what the words look like and to hear how they are pronounced, like FluentU.

FluentU is one of the best websites and apps for learning German the way native speakers really use it. FluentU takes real-world videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

Watch authentic media to simultaneously immerse yourself in the German language and build an understanding of the German culture.

By using real-life videos, the content is kept fresh and current. Topics cover a lot of ground as you can see here:


Vocabulary and phrases are learned with the help of interactive subtitles and full transcripts.


Hovering over or tapping on any word in the subtitles will automatically pause the video and instantly display its meaning. Interesting words you don’t know yet can be added to a to-learn list for later.


For every lesson, a list of vocabulary is provided for easy reference and bolstered with plenty of examples of how each word is used in a sentence.

Your existing knowledge is tested with the help of adaptive quizzes in which words are learned in context.


To keep things fresh, FluentU keeps track of the words you’re learning and recommends further lessons and videos based on what you've already studied.

This way, you have a truly personalized learning experience.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

2. Build a Daily Routine Around German Learning

Once you understand a little German and can recognize some of the more common words and phrases, it’s time to make a daily routine.

David Bailey explains that he learned French in 17 days by following a rigorous schedule. This schedule involved writing irregular verb tables by hand for two hours in the morning, listening to audio clips during lunch hours and breaks, and listening to music while working out or at work.

Finally, he found a familiar French book in the afternoon and read it, wrote in his journal for an hour in French and even met with a speaking partner.

This routine sounds great in theory (or maybe terrifying), but the truth is that most adults have a full workweek and other responsibilities, making that load a bit intimidating if not impossible.

That’s why I put together a modified routine to help busy adults trying to speak German:

  • Spend 20 minutes in the morning or after work writing irregular verb tables longhand.
  • Write in a journal for another 20 minutes, trying to piece together German sentences.
  • Read one chapter in a German book each week.
  • Meet with a speaking partner once every weekend.

With this modification, you delve into a constant German routine, while only spending around an hour per day.

Then, you get to practice with your speaking partner on the weekends.

Here are some tips to make the routine work:

  • Write down your study plan in whatever system works best for you—paper or digital—until it becomes routine.
  • Tell friends about your new routine for accountability.
  • Make sure there’s a teacher on your audio clips who shows you how to properly use the language.
  • Listen to German music while working out or even while at your job. This is great for training your cheek muscles for pronunciation as you sing along.
  • Find a book (one that you know in English) and read it in German.
  • Consider Skype or a phone call when you or your speaking buddy are out of town.

3. Consider Traveling (or Moving!) to Germany for 30 Days to One Year

The best way to learn German fast as an adult is to move to Germany—but let’s be serious, that’s generally not an option.

However, even just a trip for around 30 to 90 days (preferably a year) should be enough to interact and completely immerse yourself in the language and culture.

 So what are some resources and tips for making this trip a reality?


  • Use Traveling Spoon — Eating out during your travels gets expensive, and you don’t receive the company and home-cooked meals that immerse you in German culture. This website helps you keep costs low and lets you meet people for conversation practice.

learn conversational german

  • Couchsurfing works wonders for various reasons — Use it for lodging, or to find events and people who want to meet up. It could also prove quite useful for befriending natives in Germany.

learn conversational german

  • HelpX or WWOOF These services offer a list of affordable living and working opportunities for learning, immersing and cutting the costs of travel. In WWOOF, you work on an organic farm in exchange for food and accommodation. HelpX is the same idea—working a few hours a day in exchange for free accommodation and meals—but it’s not limited to organic farms. You could be working at a lodge or hostel, taking care of children, out on a boat, etc.


  • Apply to Remote Year — As a new company, this program is seeing tons of publicity, because it allows you to travel around the world for one year. The idea is to allow working people the chance to coordinate with their current companies to travel and work at the same time. You’d potentially live in Germany for a month, then move on to other countries.


  • Eat out every day or invite people over to your house for food and drinks. This way you aren’t locked in your home with no immersion.
  • Find a part-time job that requires you to speak German constantly. A tour guide is a nice idea.
  • Don’t forget to trade contact information with roommates and people you meet.

4. Return to a Life Filled with Germanlearn-conversational-german

It’s essential to slide right back into your routine once you return from Germany.

Every book, movie and newspaper you consume should be in German. On your travels, make friends and connect with them when you come back—through Skype, email and phone calls.

I find that it’s nice to open a WhatsApp account and add a group of friends you met in Germany. This way, you can constantly have a conversation with people from different backgrounds, with varying perspectives.

Can You Really Learn to Speak German as an Adult?

Those darned kids are always getting the benefit of the doubt. Sure, children are sponges that take in just about every piece of information they hear, smell, touch, taste and see, but I’ve got news for you:

Adults have quite a few advantages when it comes to learning conversational German.

How is this possible, you ask? Take a look at some of the reasons why you may just have an advantage over kids.

1. You have complex thoughts.

Adults can jump directly into more advanced words, phrases, courses and stories. Yes, children learn fast, but they are limited to their current view of the world. This view consists of children’s books, rudimentary words and phrases, and simple conversations.

You, as an adult, already know how to piece together complex thoughts and ideas in English, so you’re that much closer to German fluency.

2. You already speak one language.

Infants and babies have lots on their plates in terms of learning a language. Not only do they have to learn words, but they also need to master what those words mean.

You already know what an apple is, and you already know how to distinguish between a female and male voice.

Your ear for accents is already there, and your problem solving means that you technically aren’t starting a language from scratch.

You can use your existing linguistic knowledge as you learn how to speak German.

3. You have motivation.

Classes and learning materials are often more interesting and entertaining for adults. It’s quite tricky to convince a kid to learn. Sure, some subjects are more intriguing, but do you remember how stressful school used to seem?

You may even have an incentive to learn a language, like better job opportunities or the ability to travel and meet new people.


I told you it’s never too late!

You have all the tips and tools you need to learn conversational German and get chatting.

And One More Thing...

Want to know the key to learning German effectively?

It's using the right content and tools, like FluentU has to offer! Browse hundreds of videos, take endless quizzes and master the German language faster than you've ever imagine!


Watching a fun video, but having trouble understanding it? FluentU brings native videos within reach with interactive subtitles.


You can tap on any word to look it up instantly. Every definition has examples that have been written to help you understand how the word is used. If you see an interesting word you don't know, you can add it to a vocabulary list.


And FluentU isn't just for watching videos. It's a complete platform for learning. It's designed to effectively teach you all the vocabulary from any video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you're on.


The best part is that FluentU keeps track of the vocabulary that you're learning, and gives you extra practice with difficult words. It'll even remind you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned.

Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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