Basic German: Introduce Yourself and Your Friends

Meeting and greeting often require introductions. Your friends may want you to meet someone they know, or you may have to introduce your significant other to your colleague at a formal occasion. This section gives you the lowdown on how to do so.

Introducing your friends

Commonplace, everyday introductions are easy to make. You start with

Das ist . . . (dâs ist . . .) (This is . . .)

Then you simply add the name of the person. Or if you’re introducing a friend, begin with

Das ist eine Freundin von mir (female)/ein Freund von mir (male) . . . (dâs ist ayn-e froyn-din fon mir/ayn froynt fon mir . . .) (This is a friend of mine . . .)

If you’re introduced to someone, you may want to indicate that you’re pleased to meet that person. In German, the casual way of responding to someone you’ve just met is to simply say Hallo (hâ-loh) (hello) or Guten Tag (gooh-ten tahk) (hello).

If the introductions have been more formal, you express Nice to meet you by saying

Freut mich. (froyt miH.) (Nice to meet you.)

The person you have been introduced to may then reply by saying

Mich auch. (miH ouH.) (Pleased to meet you, too.)

Making introductions for special occasions

If you were to find yourself in a situation that calls for a high level of formality, you’d need to know the following introductory phrases:

  • Darf ich Ihnen . . . vorstellen? (dârf iH een-en . . . fohr-shtêl-len?) (May I introduce you to. . . ?)

  • Freut mich, Sie kennenzulernen. (froyt miH, zee kên-en-tsoo-lêrn-en.) (I’m pleased to meet you.)

  • Meinerseits. (mayn-er-zayts.)/Ganz meinerseits. (gânts mayn-er-zayts.) (The pleasure is all mine. Literally: Mine or All mine.)

Sometimes you need to use formal titles in your introduction. Herr (hêr) is the German word for Mr., and Frau (frou) expresses Mrs. The same word, die Frau (dee frou), also means woman, as well as wife, as in meine Frau (mayn-e frou) (my wife). No German equivalent for the English Ms. exists, so you need to use Frau.

German also has the word Fräulein (froy-layn), which used to be the German version of Miss and was the proper way to address an unmarried woman. However, those days are long gone. So address a woman as Frau, regardless of her marital status. Or when in doubt, leave it out.

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