Proper etiquette dictates we say “bless you” (or in German, “Gesundheit,”) after someone sneezes. In return, they speak “danke” (thank you). Did you know that practice is based on fear the The Plague?

To this day, us still say “bless you” out of habit (and because it’s polite). It’s part of the social etiquette many of united state learned together children.

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For example, “the magic word” is one of the very first things us learn. In German, it’s easy to to speak “thank you.” simply say, “Danke!”

But once it concerns saying, “you’re welcome,” well, things can gain complicated.

We say “Bitte” (Please). Bear through us together we clarify.

The German native bitte method so much much more than “please” or “you’re welcome.” In some ways, the a go-to word prefer “pardon.”

Keep analysis to find out more about bitte and also how you have the right to incorporate it right into your everyday German vocabulary.

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Why Is “Bitte” so vital in German

Of the numerous words you an initial learn together a German-speaking student, both danke and also bitte are two you’ll soon end up being familiar with.

Bitte is a typically used hatchet in the German language, in both informal and formal settings. In numerous ways, making use of the ax bitte shows respect and politeness. For German speakers in new situations, bitte is a really useful indigenous that may excuse mispronunciations and also incorrect conjugations.

On a more basic level, knowledge of bitte also allows you come (politely) bespeak food, drink, etc.

And if girlfriend misspeak as soon as ordering, bitte can excuse girlfriend from awkward behavior as well.

Since there are a variety of definitions for this one straightforward word, that versatile and comes in comfortable in many situations. Plus, it’s critical to your German fluency (in instance you can not use pieced that together already).

Where to practice Using Bitte

We’re walking to display you just how many meanings bitte has in the next section, but before we obtain started, let’s talk about practice.

Because practicing the usage of bitte is just as vital as knowing when, where and also how to use it.


What does Bitte mean in German (and exactly how to usage It)

Listed below are seven—yes, seven—meanings that the word bitte have the right to have. The last two show a little of variation, however nevertheless, bitte is fairly the functional tidbit of German to know. That knew one word might mean so much?


When used to typical “please,” bitte deserve to take assorted positions in ~ a sentence. Like most German sentences, the comes down to emphasis. Bitte have the right to preface the sentence, finish it, or even come somewhere in-between. Below are a few examples:

Bitte, kann ich mit dir gehen? (Please, can I go with you?)

Gib mir dice Adresse, bitte. (Give me the address, please.)

Können Sie mir bitte noch einmal dice Nummer sagen? (Can you you re welcome tell me the number again?)

Without the word bitte, the sentences above are still grammatically correct. However, including that extra bit(te) can make a huge difference.

“You’re Welcome”

Most beginning of the person German students understand this meaning of bitte. The goes along with the rote “thank you”—“you’re welcome” exchange us say plenty of times in English.

Stefan, danke für dice Bücher. (Stefan, many thanks for the books.)

Ja, bitte! (Yes, you’re welcome!)

Now, why is it that in English we use two words come say each of this phrases when in German it’s only one? So lot for German being a verbose language—at the very least when it comes to etiquette, that is.


In English, we usage “pardon” inquisitively come mean many things.

For example, you could use “pardon” to mean “Excuse me, I want to get by you,” or “What did friend say? i couldn’t hear you.”

You can even to speak “pardon” through an attitude to mean, “Did girlfriend really simply say/do what i think girlfriend did?” that’s the beauty of language—and emphasis.

Germans usage bitte in the phrase “Wie bitte?” rather often.

It an extremely roughly converts to something prefer “How please?” as in “How execute you say that, please?” (“Wie sagt male das, bitte?”).

This shortened form can be contrasted to the English phrase “What’s that?” come mean, “Can friend repeat that, please?”

“Go Ahead”

When Germans usage bitte to typical “go ahead,” they’re frequently approving an action. It’s a little like asking, “May I?” in English and also then replying, “Please do.”

Here’s an example in context for you:

Kann ich ein Stück Kuchen haben? (Can I have actually a item of cake?)

Bitte, es gibt mehr im Kuhlschrank. (Go ahead, there’s much more in the fridge.)

As you can see, the paper definition of this native is key.

You might likewise use this an interpretation of bitte if you’re in ~ the grocery store and both you and also another human walk as much as a checkout line at the same time. If you’re polite, you’ll let them go ahead that you v a “Bitte.”

“Yes, Please”

We pointed out ordering food earlier, so let’s get back to the table once again. You have the right to use bitte in this situation in a couple of different ways. For example, if a waiter/waitress come by and also asks you:

Möchten Sie mehr Kaffee? (Would girlfriend like much more coffee?)

You have the right to answer:

Bitte! (Yes, please!)

If girlfriend want more coffee, the course.

But together you can see, you only should say the one word in order to make your intentions clear.

However, if the waiter/waitress asks, “Are you all set to order?” you i will not ~ necessarily say “Bitte.” This question invokes more of a yes/no response.

But if they ask if you want to try the special, a nod of the head and a “Bitte!” would mean you’re in agreement.

“Here friend Go”

These last two definitions of bitte (“here girlfriend go” and “may I help you”) require the enhancement of one of two people sehr (very) or schön (well), respectively.

The phrase “bitte sehr” means “here friend go,” together in the adhering to example:

Bitte sehr. Vorsicht, der teller ist heiß. (Here you go. It is in careful, the bowl is hot.)

Another instance in i m sorry you might use bitte sehr is in ~ your neighborhood coffee shop.

Once the barista calls her name through your order, they might say “Bitte sehr” as they hand you your coffee.

Your response might it is in something like, “Danke!” fairly than using bitte together a solution to danke, you’re convert the order around—and using a different definition of bitte altogether.

“May I assist You?”

The last an interpretation works likewise to bitte sehr. You’ll likely hear it in customer service settings, such as the instance below:

Bitte schön? (May I aid you?)

Ja, ich suche Maria. Arbeitet sie heute? (Yes, I’m in search of Maria. Is she working today?)

The expression bitte schön do not do it be perplexed with the expression danke schön, which means “thank you an extremely much.

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Now you recognize seven different definitions of the German word bitte! we guarantee that through a small practice, you’ll know this useful little phrase like the ago of your hand.

So what space you wait for? gain out there and start making use of this an effective German native in your day-to-day conversations!