Almany anybody familiar via pop culture depictions of Germany type of has actually seen somebody angry shouting “Nein!” in a movie, TV show or also commercial.

You are watching: How do you say no in german

So you might think you understand enough around exactly how to say “no” in Germale.

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

It’d be very rude! “Can I assist you?” “No.” “Would you like somepoint to eat?” “No.”

Different societies have actually various unwritten rules about saying “no” to things. As an outcome, someone from the USA, for circumstances, could think that Germans are a little little rude when they say “no.”

They’re not being rude, though. It’s just a little little bit of cultural difference!

Read on to learn all about how to say “no” in German prefer a indigenous speaker would.

Download: This blog write-up is easily accessible as a convenient and portable PDF that you deserve to take almost everywhere. Click here to obtain a copy. (Download)

How to Say “No” in Germale, from “Nah” to “Absolutely Not!”

Try for FREE!

Saying “No” in Germale Politely

In German, the means to say “no” politely requires an explacountry of the negation, instead of sindicate saying the word “no” alone. This is true in English as well, which is why it might sound prefer prevalent sense.

For example, imagine that somebody goes right into a hotel and asks to use the restroom, however they’re not a guest and also so they’re refoffered.

That refusal is most likely to take the develop of something prefer this: a polite, formal statement through an explanation of why.

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

They’re also extremely likely to include one of these phrases: Entschuldigung (excusage me) or Tut mir Leid (I’m sorry).

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

One of the even more subtle points that many civilization just finish up picking up normally is a type of repetition of the verb in many negative answers. It’s much easier to show than explain:

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

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

This definitely isn’t a prescribed method to offer a “no” answer in Germale. Instead, it’s kind of a typical negative response to a question.

The word lieber is a great different to a direct no, as it implies “fairly.” It have the right to come after nicht or stand by itself.

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

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

This happens to be a perfect example of somepoint that could come across as a small as well straight and rude in English, but is completely acceptable in German.

Whether or not you’re from a society wbelow the politeness scale is calibrated favor it is in Gerguy, picking up on the methods that language affects politeness have the right to be an overwhelming task.

The single best way to execute this is to watch Germans and also learn from them. After all, the even more authentic Germale media you consume, the much better take care of you’ll gain on the social element of saying “no” in German.


Don’t go complying with about anybody from your neighborhood German bakery, though. Sign up for and you’ll be bringing the German immersion to you, instead! is among the best websites and also apps for discovering German the means native speakers really usage it. takes real-human being videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and also motivating talks—and also turns them right into personalized language learning lessons.

Watch authentic media to at the same time immerse yourself in the German language and develop an understanding of the German society.

By making use of real-life videos, the content is kept fresh and current. Topics cover a lot of ground as you can watch here:


Vocabulary and phrases are learned via the help of interenergetic subtitles and also complete transcripts.


Hovering over or tapping on any word in the subtitles will certainly instantly pausage the video and instantly display screen its definition. Interelaxing words you don’t understand yet deserve to be added to a to-learn list for later.


For eextremely lesson, a list of vocabulary is gave for basic recommendation and also bolstered through plenty of examples of exactly how each word is offered in a sentence.

Your existing knowledge is tested via the help of adaptive quizzes in which words are learned in context.

* keeps track of the words you’re learning and also offers you extra exercise via tough words. It"ll also remind you as soon as it’s time to evaluation what you’ve learned.

This method, you have actually a truly personalized finding out endure.

Start making use of on the webwebsite through your computer or tablet or practice anytime, everywhere on the mobile app for iOS and Android.

Sign up for the free trial this day, and also begin watching and also expertise just how many various ways Gerguy speakers everywhere the people say “no”—as well as the many type of other words and expressions they use in daily life.

The Simple and Straightforward Way to Say “No” in German

As we’ve pointed out, the method to say “no” in German is simply to say nein.

It’s an easy bit Germale word however if you say it via no other conmessage, it’s a tiny rude.

That’s why tbelow are three very commonly-provided alternatives, slight twists on the actual word nein to soften the blow.

The initially is nee, which need to rhyme via Schnee (snow). You’ll hear this one quite frequently—in fact, it shows up at all levels of German culture. It’s considered dialectal, and in some places such as Bavaria, it’s the default rather of nein.

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

The second is nö, which is supplied a small much less frequently in plain speech. Interestingly enough, you’ll often view it in comics and also publications, most likely as a method to break up the dialogue rather of constantly having whatever be nein. Some people have the feeling that is a little bit harsher than nee, supplying perhaps a more disparaging feel:

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

The last is nich, a contractivity of nicht (not), This is strongly connected with Berlin, wright here the typical accent shifts the ich right into more of an isch sound.

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

We have actually an additional bit word you deserve to use to say “no” in German: jein, a cute combicountry of ja (yes) and nein. It’s just “cute” until someone provides it to deny you some information you actually want.

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

Strong Words for Strong Situations

We’ve seen straightforward and also typical means to say “no” however sometimes, there’s a time and also location for saying something through a tiny more force behind it. First, a pair of phrases that are pretty a lot interchangeable:

Auf gar keinen Fall. (Under no circumstance.)

Here, the word gar is an optional intensifying particle. You’re literally saying “In absolutely no instance.”

Überhaupt nicht. (Definitely not.)

Absolut nicht. (Absolutely not.)

Just as polite Gerguy sof10s the blow by saying why somepoint gets a negatory answer, you deserve to take amethod that level of politeness by either not offering an explanation or by offering a bad one.

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

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

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

You might additionally be familiar via the word verboten, interpretation “forbidden.” It absolutely has actually a sense of strictness!

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

This certain word often shows up on indicators in big red letters. In speech, it commonly comes via the word absolut, meaning “absolutely.”

Das Kaugummikauen ist in meinem Auto absolut verboten. (Chewing gum is absolutely forbidden in my automobile.)

“No, however Actually Yes”

Tright here could be an completely sepaprice post around various means to say “yes,” yet for now we’ll simply cite one that goes hand-in-hand with “no”: doch. Basically, it’s a reply of “yes” appropriate after the “no” has either been sassist or assumed.

Confirming that something is true once a response has actually been offered to the contrary is a distinction that English ssuggest doesn’t make. We say yes, and also that’s that.

Confused? You can think of it as the unstable equivalent of “actually, yes!” or “in truth, yes!”

Have a look at these examples:

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

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

Now that you recognize the different ways to say “no” in Germale, you’ll begin noticing them in use in videos and in other real-human being conmessages.

See more: Why Might The Founding Fathers Have Included The Phrase &Quot;Insure Domestic Tranquility&Quot;?

After that, all it takes is time. You’ll pick up on these nuances before you recognize it, and also be expushing negation choose a aboriginal German speaker!

Download: This blog write-up is obtainable as a convenient and portable PDF that you have the right to take all over. Click right here to acquire a copy. (Download)

If you liked this write-up, something tells me that you"ll love, the best way to learn Gerguy through real-world videos.

Experience Gerguy immersion online!



About brings English to life via real-human being videos. Learning English becomes fun and easy when you learn with movie trailers, music videos, news and also inspiring talks.

Try for Free

FTC Disclosure is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate proclaiming program designed to administer a means for sites to earn proclaiming fees by advertising and linking to Amazon and the Amazon logo design are trademarks of, Inc, or its affiliates. We likewise get involved in various other affiliate proclaiming programs for assets and solutions we think in.