“You’re Welcome” in German: 13 Ways to Accept Gratitude
You wouldn’t leave someone hanging after they graciously say “Danke,” would you?
In any language, German included, it’s important to learn not just how to give thanks, but also how to properly accept gratitude.
A simple “you’re welcome” can carry more weight than you think, especially to whoever is showing their appreciation to you.
Here are 13 kind ways to acknowledge thanks in German.
- 1. Bitte – You’re welcome
- 2. Bitte schön / Bitte sehr — You’re very welcome
- 3. Gern geschehen / Gerne — My pleasure
- 4. Aber gerne doch — But of course
- 5. Nichts zu danken — It was nothing
- 6. Kein Problem — No problem
- 7. Keine Ursache — No problem / worries
- 8. Nicht dafür — Don’t mention it
- 9. Passt schon — It’s okay
- 10. War mir ein Vergnügen — It was my pleasure
- 11. Na klar — Sure
- 12. Jederzeit wieder — Anytime
- 13. Segne es Gott — God bless you
1. Bitte – You’re welcome
Bitte is a very versatile word and is crucial to know. It’s one of the first words you’ll probably learn when starting German.
Besides you’re welcome, common meanings include “please,” “pardon?” and “May I help you?” The meaning changes depending on the context of the conversation.
2. Bitte schön / Bitte sehr — You’re very welcome
Bitte schön and bitte sehr carry a weight of formality and are technically the logical counterparts to danke schön and danke sehr, respectively. However, they also have other meanings such as “here you go” (when you’re offering something).
3. Gern geschehen / Gerne — My pleasure
Gern is an adverb that means “gladly,” but it can stand alone as an expression meant to convey your willingness to do something.
For example, you can simply say gern to an offer or request to mean “yes, please.”
Gern geschehen literally means “done gladly” and is a friendly way to accept someone’s gratitude after you did them a favor.
4. Aber gerne doch — But of course
The word gern makes an appearance once more. A more literal translation of this expression is “but gladly.”
Doch is a small but powerful word that can take on a variety of connotations and roles, but here, it serves to strengthen the sentiment you’re trying to convey. In other words, you’re really emphasizing that someone is indeed welcome.
This is a gracious and rather elegant way to accept thanks, one that can definitely help your thanker feel warm and fuzzy inside. It can also help to present your own willingness to be kind or helpful, that whatever you’ve done is basic to your nature.
5. Nichts zu danken — It was nothing
While gern geschehen is something you might say if what you did was a little out of your way, nichts zu danken is a modest response you should give if what you did for someone else was minor, such as holding open a door or passing over an item—actions that genuinely require minimal effort.
You can think of it as the German equivalent of “not a problem” or “it was nothing.”
6. Kein Problem — No problem
Here’s a popular one that will be no problem to remember for you English speakers.
Kein Problem can also be used in response to a potentially offensive remark and in that case would mean “no offense taken.”
7. Keine Ursache — No problem / worries
Ursache actually means “reason” or “cause” so the literal translation of this phrase would be “no reason.” In other words, there was no need for thanks in the first place. How’s that for graciousness?
A close English equivalent could also be the laidback “don’t mention it.”
This expression is commonly swapped with the phrase kein Problem. Both are relatively equal in their level of formality.
8. Nicht dafür — Don’t mention it
This phrase is a colloquial one commonly used in northern Germany, although it’s gaining traction in the southern region as well.
Nicht dafür can be used when the accomplished favor isn’t worth much thanks, as if it were part of one’s job in the first place.
The wording of this phrase might make it seem a bit impolite or prudish, as one might take it to mean “never mind” in the face of gratitude. So if you’re feeling wary, you can opt for an alternative expression to accept someone’s appreciation.
9. Passt schon — It’s okay
This is one of those common expressions that can take on several meanings. Taken more literally, it means something like “it fits” but its colloquial meanings include “it’s okay” or “never mind.”
However, it can also be used as a very casual and informal phrase to wave off someone’s thanks or apologies. And I do mean casual. You probably don’t want to use this when the person thanking you is being deeply sincere and putting effort into showing their gratitude.
Using it in the wrong context can make you seem a bit flippant, so reserve it for casual situations.
10. War mir ein Vergnügen — It was my pleasure
The wordiness of this expression matches its level of formality. You might think that it sounds like something a high-class butler would say.
That’s a fair assumption, as you probably won’t hear either of these expressions too often in casual everyday encounters. But it’s more likely to be used by service workers or folks in fancier establishments.
It’s probably best to reserve this expression for more formal environments, or when the favor you carried out has a bit more magnitude. You might get some amused expressions if you seriously said this amongst friends, or if all you did was something as minor as picking up someone’s pencil off the floor.
If you want something a bit shorter, you can also say Mit Vergnügen (with pleasure).
11. Na klar — Sure
Na klar is one of the most common German phrases used, and it’s highly likely you’ve already encountered it. Maybe you heard it in German audio and conversations. Or maybe you’ve already come across it if you started learning German from the ever-popular textbook series Deutsch: Na Klar.
Usually, na klar translates to “sure” or “of course.” It therefore works as an easy-going “you’re welcome” that’s appropriate for casual contexts.
You could also use na klar as a way to positively affirm something, whether as a response to a question or request.
12. Jederzeit wieder — Anytime
In English, “anytime” is often used as a mellow response to thanks. The same goes for its German counterpart, jederzeit wieder.
If you’re willing to help out a pal again, or the kindness you’ve done was hardly a matter to you, then let the person know with a friendly jederzeit wieder. It’s a relatively casual and commonly used expression.
You could also just drop wieder to say Jederzeit. It’ll be taken the same way.
13. Segne es Gott — God bless you
This one might have made you scratch your head a bit. Understandably so, as this expression is a bit unique and a little exclusive in usage.
In Austria and southern Germany, regions that possess a Roman Catholic religious history, one way to say “thank you” is the phrase Vergelt’s Gott. This expression means “may God reward you for it.”
Segne es Gott is, therefore, the typical response to Vergelt’s Gott, so it acts like a “you’re welcome.” It won’t really work in response to other “thank you” expressions.
You won’t hear Vergelt’s Gott or Segne es Gott very often in mainland Germany, so there’s a reasonable chance that you haven’t encountered it in your standard German textbooks.
But keep them in mind next time you choose to visit the more southern-bound German-speaking countries!
Hopefully this list helped you learn some new phrases you can use to build up your German etiquette skills.
As you can see, context is very important when accepting gratitude in German and the best way to become familiar with these phrases is by immersing yourself in native German media.
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