If you have a big family, this example may help you with your German essay:
Meine Familie ist sehr groß. Ich habe zwei Schwestern, einen Bruder, drei Tanten, einen Onkel und sechs Cousins. Meine große Schwester hat lange blonde Haare und heißt Laura und eine kleine Schwester heißt Miranda und ist dunkelhaarig. Mein Bruder heißt Fred und trägt eine Brille. Ich verstehe mich gut mit meiner kleinen Schwester und meinem Bruder. Mit meiner großen Schwester streite ich mich oft um den Computer. Mein Vater arbeitet zwar viel, aber am Wochenende hilft er uns immer bei den Hausaufgaben. Meine Mutter backt gerne Torten. Ihre Schokotorten mag ich besonders gerne. In den Ferien besuchen wir häufig meine Großeltern, da sie leider so weit entfernt wohnen. Meine anderen Großeltern, die Eltern meiner Mutter wohnen eine Straße weiter. Das finde ich schön, da wir uns oft sehen können. Außerdem haben sie eine süße Perserkatze, mit der ich immer spiele. Wenn uns meine Cousins besuchen kommen, unternehmen wir meist etwas Besonderes. Letztes Wochenende waren wir alle zusammen im Zoo. Das war lustig, da mein Cousin Ben Angst vor Schlangen hatte. Ich mag meine Familie!
Now, the same story in English:
My family is very big. I have got two sisters, one brother, three aunts, one uncle, and six cousins. My older sister has long blond hair, and her name is Laura. My little sister is called Miranda and has dark hair. My brother's name is Fred and wears glasses. I get along well with my little sister and my brother. But I argue a lot with my older sister about the computer. Although my father works a lot, he always helps us with homework on the weekend. My mother likes to bake cakes. I especially like her chocolate cake. During the holidays, we often visit my grandparents because they live so far from us. My other grandparents, the parents of my mother, live on the street next to ours. I like that because that way we can see each other a lot. In addition to that, they have a cute Persian cat I always play with. When my cousins visit us, we always do something special together. Last weekend, we went to the zoo together. That was fun because my cousin Ben was afraid of the snake. I like my family!
Politics. Scientific advancement. If there’s life on other planets.
There are a lot of important topics in the world to discuss.
Yet what’s the topic we like to talk about the most?
It’s the subject we know the most about, and the one we often want to share our expertise on. While an overindulgence of the ego in the native tongue may earn you a bad reputation, in the name of practicing German it’s completely fine.
In fact, we encourage it! The first questions you’re likely to be asked by someone you meet are going to be about who you are and what you like or dislike. So let’s be ready for it.
Learn German Faster by Letting Loose and Using It
Starting to learn a new language can be intimidating. There’s so much you want to say, but you don’t have the vocabulary to say it all yet. It can make you want to hide in the corner while other people talk about global warming and alien lifeforms.
Have courage, dear German learner.
Even if there are only a few things you can say, say them anyway. Not only will native speakers appreciate the effort, but you’ll master the vocab quicker, allowing you to move onto new sentences and grammar points.
Every bit of interaction is valuable; it can help you memorize German, work on the pronunciation, learn the responses people tend to say back, as well as just garner the confidence that you are a bona fide German speaker.
It’s time to show yourself to the German-speaking world. Without further adieu, here are 15 simple sentences you can use to tell people about yourself.
15 Easy Sentences to Talk About Yourself in German
1. Mein Name ist… (My name is…)
This is a great first sentence to know in German, not only because it’s the logical way most conversations start, but because it looks like its English equivalent. Don’t be fooled, however, in thinking that just because Name is spelled the same that it’s always pronounced likewise in turn. The German Name actually has two syllables, coming out something like this: Nah-muh.
2. Mir geht’s gut. (I’m fine)
Even Germans, though not as prone to small talk as English speakers, will still undoubtedly ask you how you are: Wie geht’s? (Or, if more formality is caused for, Wie geht es Ihnen?)
You’re literally responding, “To me, it’s going good.” Don’t be surprised if a German will have a longer answer to the same question. While in America “How are you?” is largely the equivalent of saying hello, the Germans sometimes take the inquiry more serious and will respond with details about their back pains or inconsistent bowel movements.
3. Ich komme aus… (I come from…)
This handy little phrase is used to denote your place of birth. For your convenience, here are a few English-speaking countries:
- Irland (Ireland)
- Grossbritannien (Great Britain)
- Australien (Australia)
- den Vereinigten Staaten (the United States)
Note: Aus always takes the dative case, which is why you have to say “den Vereinigten Staaten” and not “die Vereinigten Staaten” when used in this phrase. Aus is also one of those tricky prepositions that can have different meanings depending on the context, so don’t be alarmed if in other sentences it gets translated as “off,” “out” or as something else.
4. Ich wohne in… (I live in…)
Here you can fill in the blank with your Wohnort, or place of residence. Both a city or country would work here. Life hack: If you’re talking to someone particularly creepy, you might want to make something up.
5. Ich bin ledig. (I am single.)
Why else learn German than to use it to pick up German people? This little sentence comes in handy both to make sure that the cute guy or girl at the party knows you’re available, and for when a German document inquires about your marital status (and there’s no shortage of paperwork in Germany).
For those already committed, you’re obliged to announce Ich bin verheiratet (I am married).
6. Meine Handynummer ist… (My cell phone number is…)
Not a bad sentence to have in the back pocket, just in case the other person seems pleased that you’re single. You might have deduced from this phrase that in Germany a mobile phone is called a Handy, presumably because you can walk around with in in your hand.
7. Ich studiere… (I am studying…)
Germans will undoubtedly want to know how you’re being productive in life. Note that this sentence can only be used to state what your major or subject area is, and not what you’re looking at to prepare for the upcoming test (See #15 for that).
A few examples of how to fill in the blank: Geschichte (history), Jura (law), Zahnmedizin (dentistry), Volkswirtschaftslehre (economics).
8. Ich bin ~ von Beruf. (I work as a ~.)
Literally translating as “I am a ___ by profession,” it’s an important way to ensure a native that you are not arbeitslos (unemployed) and using up the State’s money.
Since the truth matters less than practicing the language, feel free to choose any of the following: Maurer/Maurerin (male bricklayer/female bricklayer), Krankenpfleger/Krankenschwester (male nurse/female nurse), Lehrer/Lehrerin (male teacher/female teacher) or Tischler/Tischlerin (male carpenter/female carpenter).
Note that in German you usually don’t use an article when saying what you do for a living. You literally say, “I’m lawyer” not “I’m a lawyer.”
9. Ich mag… (I like…)
How about a simple, versatile sentence that can be used over and over? Ich mag Pizza (I like pizza). Ich mag das Wochenende (I like the weekend). Ich mag das Wetter (I like the weather.) Ich mag David Hasselhof (I like “The Hoff.”) A happy-go-lucky person can go on forever and ever in German…
Note: Mag is actually pronounced “mahk,” since a “g” takes on a “k” sound when at the end of a word.
10. Ich hasse… (I hate…)
And now for the downers of the group: Ich hasse Gemüse (I hate vegetables). Ich hasse den Regen (I hate the rain.) Ich hasse schlechte Filme. (I hate bad movies.)
11. Meine Hobbys sind… (My hobbies are…)
So maybe Hobbys looks like a word that a German with bad English tried to appropriate into his language, but that just makes it all the easier to remember. A jet-setting, two-stepping waterbug might say something like this: Meine Hobbys sind reisen, tanzen und schwimmen. (My hobbies are traveling, dancing and swimming.)
12. Ich habe ~ Geschwister. (I have ~ siblings.)
This is a pretty basic question that usually comes up when two people are searching for ways to keep the conversation going. You can also make the same inquiry of the other person: Wie viele Geschwister hast du? (How many siblings do you have?)
13. Ich bin ~ Jahre alt. (I am ~ years old.)
Whether choosing to be truthful or not, keep in mind that the order in German numbers is different than in English. Example: Twenty-six is translated as sechsundzwanzig, or literally “six and twenty.” This little caveat starts at twenty (when life gets more complicated anyway).
14. Mein Lieblings ~ ist… (My favorite ~ is…)
German is famous for throwing nouns together and making single words of it, and here’s one example. To state that your favorite movie is “The Notebook” you would say, Mein Lieblingsfilm ist “The Notebook.” Note how “favorite film” becomes a one-word noun.
Knowing this, you can talk about your favorite food (Lieblingsessen), favorite sport (Lieblingssport) or favorite author (Lieblingsautor).
15. Ich lerne Deutsch. (I’m learning German.)
Not only is this one of the most impressive facts about you, but a great way to get permission to practice these sentences on someone. Explaining you’re learning German automatically covers over a multitude of grammatical sins. This verb is usually the equivalent of “studying,” since it’s also used when reviewing old material.
Hey, the world wants to know about you, and it wants to be told in German. These 15 sentences will give you the boost you need to start chatting away and letting people know who you are.
Ryan Dennis was a Fulbright Scholar and previously taught at Pädagogische Hochschule Schwäbisch Gmünd. In addition to hating ketchup, British spelling and violence, he writes The Milk House—the only literary column about dairy farming.
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