Almost anybody familiar with pop culture depictions of Germany has actually seen somebody angry shouting “Nein!” in a movie, TV display or also commercial.

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So you can think you know enough around how to say “no” in German.

Just imagine, though, what it would be favor if somebody literally only used the indigenous “no” without any kind of other softeners or explanations.

It’d be extremely rude! “Can I help you?” “No.” “Would you choose something to eat?” “No.”

Different cultures have various unwritten rules about saying “no” to things. Together a result, who from the unified States, because that instance, might think the Germans space a little bit rude once they speak “no.”

They’re no being rude, though. It’s simply a tiny bit of cultural difference!

Read on to find out all around how to say “no” in German favor a aboriginal speaker would.

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How come Say “No” in German, native “Nah” come “Absolutely Not!”

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Saying “No” in German Politely

In German, the method to to speak “no” politely requires an explanation the the negation, rather of just saying the word “no” alone. This is true in English together well, which is why it might sound like common sense.

For example, imagine that someone goes right into a hotel and also asks to usage the restroom, yet they’re no a guest and also so they’re refused.

That refuse is likely to take it the form of something favor this: a polite, official statement with an explanation that why.

Leider sind die Toiletten nur für Gäste dieses Hotels. (Unfortunately, the bathrooms are just for guest of this hotel.)

They’re also really likely to incorporate one of these phrases: Entschuldigung (excuse me) or Tut mir Leid (I’m sorry).

Es tut mir wirklich Leid, aber wir können mit dir nicht kommen. (I’m truly sorry, but we can’t come v you.)

One the the more subtle things that most world just finish up picking up normally is a kind of repeat of the verb in a lot of of negative answers. It’s less complicated to present than explain:

“Spielt ihr Gitarre?” (“Do you play guitar?”) “Nein, Gitarre spielen wir nicht.” (“No, us don’t play guitar.”)

“Haben Sie einen Pepsi?” (“Do you have Pepsi?”) “Nein, Pepsi nicht. Vielleicht wollen Sie einen Coca-Cola?” (“No, no Pepsi. Probably you’d prefer a Coca-Cola?”)

This certainly isn’t a prescribed way to offer a “no” answer in German. Instead, it’s sort of a typical an unfavorable response come a question.

The word lieber is a great alternative to a direct no, as it method “rather.” It can come ~ nicht or was standing by itself.

Ich gehe lieber nicht in die Kneipe. (I’d rather not go to the bar.)

“Möchtest du ‘Moana’ sehen?” (“Would you choose to view ‘Moana’?”) “Ich würde lieber ‘Frozen’ sehen.” (“I’d prefer to check out ‘Frozen."”)

This wake up to be a perfect instance of something that might come across as a tiny too direct and also rude in English, yet is totally acceptable in German.

Whether or no you’re native a society where the politeness scale is calibrated like it is in German, choose up ~ above the methods that language affects politeness can be a daunting task.

The single best method to perform this is to watch Germans and also learn from them. After ~ all, the more authentic German media friend consume, the far better handle you’ll gain on the social aspect of saying “no” in German.


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Sign up because that the complimentary trial today, and start watching and understanding how plenty of different methods German speakers all over the people say “no”—as well as the many other words and also expressions they usage in day-to-day life.

The an easy and Straightforward way to say “No” in German

As we’ve mentioned, the means to say “no” in German is simply to say nein.

It’s an easy little German word however if you say it v no various other context, it’s a little rude.

That’s why there are three very commonly-used alternatives, slight twisted on the actual native nein come soften the blow.

The first is nee, which should rhyme v Schnee (snow). You’ll listen this one fairly frequently—in fact, it shows up at every levels that German society. It’s taken into consideration dialectal, and also in some locations such as Bavaria, it’s the default instead of nein.

“Hast du den Spiel gesehen?” (“Did you view the game?”) “Nee.” (“Nah.”)

The 2nd is nö, i m sorry is supplied a little less frequently in plain speech. Interesting way enough, you’ll frequently see it in comics and also books, most likely as a means to rest up the dialogue rather of constantly having whatever be nein. Some civilization have the feeling that is a little harsher than nee, offering maybe a more disparaging feel:

“Willst du mit mir Kaffee trinken?” (“Do you desire to have coffee v me?”) “Nö.” (“No <…and why would certainly you think otherwise?>”).

The last is nich, a contraction of nicht (not), This is strongly linked with Berlin, where the typical accent shifts the ich into much more of one isch sound.

“Hast du Hunger?” (“Are girlfriend hungry?”) “Nich.” (“Naw.”)

We have actually one an ext little indigenous you can use come say “no” in German: jein, a cute combination of ja (yes) and nein. It’s only “cute” till someone provides it to deny you some information you in reality want.

“Warst du gestern Abend wieder bei Heather?” (“Were you in ~ Heather’s location again critical night?”) “Jein…” (“Maaaybe…”)

Strong words for strong Situations

We’ve checked out easy and also standard ways to say “no” however sometimes, there’s a time and also place for saying something through a little much more force behind it. First, a pair of phrases that space pretty lot interchangeable:

Auf gar keinen Fall. (Under no circumstance.)

Here, words gar is one optional intensifying particle. You’re literally speak “In certain no case.”

Überhaupt nicht. (Definitely not.)

Absolut nicht. (Absolutely not.)

Just together polite German softens the punch by saying why something it s okay a negatory answer, you deserve to take away the level the politeness by either not providing an explanation or by offering a poor one.

Das ist hier nicht erlaubt. (That’s not allowed here.)

Nein. Ich will nicht. (No. I don’t want to.)

Auf keinen Fall. Ich werde beschäftigt sein. (Absolutely not. I’ll it is in busy.)

You may additionally be acquainted with words verboten, definition “forbidden.” It absolutely has a sense of strictness!

Im Park ist Rauchen verboten. (Smoking is forbidden in the park.)

This specific word often appears on indications in large red letters. In speech, it typically comes with words absolut, an interpretation “absolutely.”

Das Kaugummikauen ist in meinem Auto absolut verboten. (Chewing gum is for sure forbidden in my car.)

“No, yet Actually Yes”

There might be an totally separate article around different means to speak “yes,” yet for currently we’ll just cite one the goes hand-in-hand v “no”: doch. Basically, it’s a reply of “yes” best after the “no” has actually either been said or assumed.

Confirming the something is true once an answer has been offered to the contradictory is a difference that English just doesn’t make. We say yes, and also that’s that.

Confused? You can think of it together the rough tantamount of “actually, yes!” or “in fact, yes!”

Have a look at at this examples:

“Sie haben keine Geschwister.” (“You have actually no siblings.”) “Doch!” (“Yes ns do!”)

Ich hab’ keine Münzen… achso, habe ich doch. (I don’t have any kind of coins… ah, in fact, i do.)

Now that you know the different ways to say “no” in German, you’ll begin noticing lock in use in videos and in various other real-world contexts.

After that, every it takes is time. You’ll choose up on this nuances before you know it, and be to express negation like a aboriginal German speaker!

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