A note saying " Thank you in German" taped to wallpaper of German iconic items

15 Ways To Say “Thank You” in German

As you study German, whether you’re learning by yourself or participating in a language course, you’ll find that a simple heartfelt thanks can have many variations.

Knowing how and when to express gratitude is an essential part of understanding proper etiquette.

I’ve compiled a quick list of different German words and phrases that will let you eloquently say “thank you” in German and express your gratitude!


Ways To Express “Thank You” in German

1. Danke Thank you / Thanks

This is the very basic, most common (and somewhat casual) way of saying “thank you” in German.

It’s appropriate for most situations, informal or formal—and it’s not rude to use it with people you’re less familiar with (especially if the thanks is for something minor).

2. Danke schön / Danke sehr Thank you kindly / Thank you very much

Once you tack on schön or sehr to danke, you’ve packed more formal oomph than with danke alone. You’ll hear them often in conversations like business transactions, although danke schön is still common among friends.

Danke sehr sounds more polite in its translation, but it can be interchanged with danke schönwhich even has its own song named after it.

3.  Vielen Dank Many thanks

Some might say that this phrase is even more formal than danke schön or danke sehr.

It definitely sounds more heartfelt, and it’s good to use when someone has really helped you out or you’re truly grateful.

In other words, it shouldn’t be said lightly, because it might come off as ironic.q

4. Besten Dank  — Best thanks

In truth, the expression is hardly different in meaning to vielen Dank. Though it seems minor, the mention of “best” gives this expression a heartfelt tinge.

Similar to vielen Dank, keep in mind when using this phrase that it shouldn’t be said lightly. This way it comes off as sincere, not sarcastic. (Think—would you give your best thanks to someone who passed you the salt shaker at dinner?)

5. Vielen Dank im Voraus Many thanks in advance

Have a favor that you’re about to ask? Then have a thanks ready, too.

Voraus means “ahead” or “advance.” Use this expression when a hearty thanks is necessary before the person does what you’d like them to do. You can also drop the vielen to say danke im Voraus, if what you’re asking for isn’t a big deal.

Lastly, give thanks again once they fulfill your request.

6. Tausend Dank Thanks a million

Essentially, this is the German equivalent of the English “thanks a million.” And no, just because a thousand is less than a million doesn’t mean it loses any weight!

It’s commonly used for informal situations and when you’re speaking to good acquaintances.

7. Danke für… Thank you for…

Maybe someone has done something or isn’t aware of what they did for you. And sometimes, you need to specify what you’re thankful for.

After danke für, add what you’re grateful for using the accusative case (ex. Danke für den Kaffee – Thanks for the coffee).

Appreciating abstract things, like virtues or their understanding? Say Danke für Ihr Verständnis. (Thanks for your understanding.) 

8. Ich danke Ihnen I thank you

The pronoun Ihnen is the dative form of the formal Sie. This makes this German “thank you” expression polite and formal—appropriate for anyone who deserves more courtesy than most, including folks who aren’t your close pals, as well as elders or seniors in age or rank.

It also carries an air of humility as well, a great phrase for expressing your gratitude without qualms.

9. Ich bin dir dankbar I’m thankful to you

Aiming to sound a bit more proper? Swap out a quick thanks with this more graceful phrase. Depending on who you’re speaking to, the pronoun should change—check which pronoun is appropriate for whom.

Use dir when talking to one friend or acquaintance and euch when addressing a group of them. For those not so close, keep it formal by using the dative Sie pronoun Ihnen: Ich bin Ihnen dankbar.

10. Das ist sehr aufmerksam That is very thoughtful of you

Sometimes you just want to say thanks without actually saying the word. If someone’s done an especially kind deed out of the goodness of their heart, you’ll want to use this phrase.

It comes off as a compliment as well, making it particularly pleasing for the recipient to hear. If you do feel like ensuring your gratitude, you can attach danke at the front.

11. Wie nett von Ihnen How kind of you

Similar to the aforementioned sehr aufmerksam, this expression is best used when someone goes out of their way for you, as opposed to them fulfilling a request.

Concerned the phrase might sound sarcastic, as it does in English? Don’t. (As long as the context is genuine and your attitude is proper). Remember dir is for your friends, and Ihnen is for the less acquainted.

12. Danke, gleichfalls Thank you, the same to you

Gleichfalls means “likewise,” but also “you too” or “the same to you” as an agreement. The single word eliminates you from figuring out which pronoun is more appropriate when you say “you too.”

Someone may say Ich wünsche dir alles Gute (I wish you all the best)—you reply with Danke, gleichfalls. Adding danke to gleichfalls gives thanks and well-wishes, making your response more polite.

13. Ich bedanke mich I give you my thanks

Though a bit stuffy, this phrase sounds sincere.

Why is the pronoun mich “me” used, and not dich “you”? It’s because a reflexive verb is used: sich bedanken (to thank), not just bedanken.

Since you’re the one thanking, the correct pronoun mich implies that you’re thanking someone. To be clear about who your formal thanks are directed towards, say Ich bedanke mich bei dir / Ihnen. 

14. Ich möchte mich recht herzlich bedanken I would like to sincerely thank you

This statement is filled with formality—appropriate for a formal or a professional setting. Herzlich means “heartfelt” and is an adjective that boosts the power of a regular “thank you” in German.

Indeed, this phrase definitely carries a note of sincerity appropriate to use when the person you’re speaking with has gone out of their way to help you.

15. Vergelt’s Gott May God reward you for it

This is a fun one that you won’t hear often in mainland Germany, but is commonly heard in Austria and southern Germany, regions that have historically been Catholic-inclined and whose religious history still shines through the local dialect.

It simply means thank you, with impact.


To reinforce all these different phrases for “thank you” in German, try listening out for them when watching TV, movies and other videos in German.

You could also try using FluentU for a little extra support.

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How To Reply to Danke

Once you have mastered how to say thank you, there will be times when you will be thanked and you will need to know how to respond!

In this case, showing gratitude for the thanks given to you comes in varying options depending on the situation.

Bitte — Please / You’re welcome

This is considered a standard response for replying to thank you in German. In most cases, it means “please”, but in the context of it being said as a response to thank you, it becomes “you’re welcome.”

Bitte schön —You’re very welcome

This response is said in response to Dankeschön (thank you very much), to match the gratitude given.

Bitte sehr — Here you go / You’re welcome 

Similar to the previous response, if someone says danke sehr (thank you very much), you will then reply with bitte sehr (you’re welcome).

Gern geschehen! — Done gladly / You’re welcome

This response is considered one of the most common, courteous ways to say “you’re welcome,” but roughly translates to “done gladly.” It is more appropriate in formal situations, though it can also be used in informal circumstances as well.

Common Questions About “Thank You” in German

Is danke formal or informal?

If you’re a native English speaker, you are probably wondering if danke is equivalent to the shortened English phrase “thanks.”

But while it is somewhat of a casual response, it is deemed fitting for both formal and informal situations.

What is danke danke?

Danke said not once but twice, means “thank you, thank you.”

Essentially, it’s a little extra thanks to go a long way for someone trying to convey their gratitude in a subdued—but emphasized—way. Perhaps said while handing something over a food counter or helping someone lift something up.


As a general rule of thumb, it’s always nice to give thanks if someone helps you in any way.

Remember to note who you’re speaking to before choosing what to say, and you’ll be all set in making a respectable impression.

Danke fürs Lesen! (Thank you for reading!)

And as your next stop, check out our post on saying “you’re welcome” in German to respond politely to anyone who thanks you!

And One More Thing...

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