Essential German Vocabulary

A couple of days ago, I was thinking I should brush up on my German. Everybody has their own learning style, and I've found that I learn best by teaching, so here's what I came up with for the 200 or so most essential words to know in German. I used several word frequency lists to come up with these, so you're guaranteed to encounter each of these words quite often in natural German speech and writing.

Of course, you'll also need a good dictionary, both for mastering the various forms of these words and for adding new vocabulary along the way. If you're looking for something free online, BeoLingus is pretty good in my opinion.


Pronouns:

  • ich / mich / mir = I / me
  • du / dich / dir = you (familiar)
  • er / ihn / ihm = he / him / it
  • sie / ihr = she / her
  • es / ihm = it
  • wir / uns = we / us
  • ihr / euch = you guys / you (familiar plural)
  • sie / ihnen // Sie / Ihnen = they / them // you (formal)
  • mein / meiner = my / mine
  • dein / deiner = your / yours (familiar)
  • sein / seiner = his / its
  • ihr / ihrer // Ihr / Ihrer = her / hers / their / theirs // your / yours (formal)
  • unser = our / ours
  • euer = your / yours (familiar plural)
  • sich = myself / yourself / himself / herself / itself / ourselves / yourselves / themselves / each other
  • selbst = even / myself / yourself / himself / herself / itself / ourselves / yourselves / themselves
  • man = one / you / they / them (non-specific)
  • etwas // etwa = something / anything // about / around / approximately
  • alles // alle = everything // all / everybody / everyone
  • nichts // nicht = nothing // not

Verbs:

  • sein = be
  • haben = have
  • werden = will / be going to / become
  • können = can / be able to
  • müssen = must / have to
  • sagen = say
  • machen = do / make
  • geben = give
  • sollen = should / be supposed to
  • wollen = want
  • gehen = go
  • kommen = come
  • wissen = know
  • sehen = see
  • lassen = let / allow / have (something) done
  • stehen = stand
  • finden = find
  • bleiben = stay / remain
  • liegen = lie (physically)
  • heissen = be called

Numbers:

  • null = zero
  • eins // ein = one // a / an
  • zwei = two
  • drei = three
  • vier = four
  • fünf = five
  • sechs = six
  • sieben = seven
  • acht = eight
  • neun = nine
  • zehn = ten
  • elf = eleven
  • zwölf = twelve
  • dreizehn = thirteen
  • vierzehn = fourteen
  • fünfzehn = fifteen
  • sechzehn = sixteen
  • siebzehn = seventeen
  • achtzehn = eighteen
  • neunzehn = nineteen
  • zwanzig = twenty
  • einundzwanzig = twenty-one
  • zweiundzwanzig = twenty-two
  • dreiundzwanzig = twenty-three
  • dreissig = thirty
  • vierzig = forty
  • fünfzig = fifty
  • sechzig = sixty
  • siebzig = seventy
  • achtzig = eighty
  • neunzig = ninety
  • hundert = hundred
  • tausend = thousand

Nouns:

  • Jahr // Jahre = year // years
  • Mal // Male = time (instance or occurrence) // times
  • Zeit // Zeiten = time // times
  • Prozent // Prozente = percent / percentage // percents / percentages
  • Euro = euro
  • Beispiel // Beispiele = example // examples
  • Frau // Frauen = woman / wife / Mrs. // women / wives
  • Mensch // Menschen = person / human being / man
  • Kind // Kinder = child // children
  • Tag // Tage = day // days
  • Mann // Männer = man // men
  • Land // Länder = country / land // countries / lands
  • Frage // Fragen = question // questions
  • Haus // Häuser = house // houses
  • Fall // Fälle = fall / case (situation or grammatical) // falls / cases
  • Leute = people
  • Arbeit // Arbeiten = job // jobs
  • Hand // Hände = hand // hands
  • Stadt // Städte = city // cities
  • Herr // Herren = man / gentleman / Mr. // men / gentlemen

Indexicals:

  • der / die / das / den / dem / des = the
  • was = what
  • das // da = that // there / here / that / those / then / yet / since / because
  • dies / diese / dieser / dieses // diese = this // these
  • jenes // jene / jener / jenes = that // those
  • wo = where
  • wohin = where ... to / where
  • woher = where ... from
  • dort = there
  • hier = here
  • wann = when
  • dann = then
  • jetzt = now / currently / yet
  • nun = now / just
  • eben = just now
  • heute = today
  • gestern = yesterday
  • morgen = tomorrow
  • wer / wen / wem = who / whom
  • welche / welcher / welches = which / what

Prepositions:

  • in = in / into
  • zu = to / at / too
  • von = of / from / by / off
  • mit = with
  • auf = on / in / at / onto
  • für = for
  • an = at / on / by / to
  • bei = at / with / near / by
  • nach = after / to / for / past
  • aus = out of / from
  • um = around, at
  • über = over / above / about
  • vor = before, in front of, ago
  • durch = through / by
  • bis = until / by
  • unter = under / among
  • gegen = against / around
  • zwischen = between
  • ohne = without
  • seit = since / for (a period of time)

Adjectives:

  • neu = new
  • alt = old
  • gross = big / large / great
  • klein = small / little
  • gut = good
  • lang = long
  • hoch = high / tall
  • einfach = simple / easy
  • möglich = possible
  • schön = beautiful / pleasant / nice
  • spät = late
  • wichtig = important
  • weit = wide / far / long / way
  • erste // erst = first // at first
  • letzte = last
  • gleich = same
  • eigen = own
  • andere = other
  • weitere = additional
  • deutsch = German

Modifiers:

  • auch = also / too
  • so = so / such / this way / thus
  • noch = still / yet
  • also = so / therefore / well
  • nur = only
  • schon = already
  • mehr = more
  • immer = always
  • sehr = very
  • doch = but / still / though / however / nevertheless / after all
  • wieder = again
  • damit = with it / with that / because of that / therewith
  • ganz = all (of) / (the) whole / quite / entirely / completely
  • ja = yes / certainly / really
  • kein = no / not a / not an
  • wie = how / as / like
  • warum = why
  • eigentlich = actually
  • oben = up / above / ahead
  • vielleicht = perhaps / maybe

Conjunctions:

  • und = and
  • dass = that
  • als = as / when / than
  • oder = or
  • aber = but
  • wenn = if / when
  • weil = because
  • denn = because
  • sondern = but / rather
  • ob = whether
  • sowie = as well as
  • beziehungsweise / bzw. = respectively / and/or / rather / that is to say
  • obwohl = although
  • nachdem = after / having (done something)
  • bevor = before
  • sowohl (... und) = both (...and)
  • weder (... noch) = neither (... nor)
  • indem = while / by
  • entweder (... oder) = either (... or)
  • solange = as long as

Special thanks to Vistawide and Word2Word.

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