|Urgroßeltern (-enkel)||great-grandparents (-child(ren))|
|Großeltern (-mutter, -vater)||grandparents (-mother, -father)|
|Enkel (-tochter, -sohn)||grandchild(ren) (-daughter, -son)|
|Geschwister (Schwester, Bruder)||sibling (sister, brother)|
|Einzelkind||(an) only child|
|Stiefmutter (-vater, -tochter, -sohn)||stepmother (-father, -daughter, -son)|
|Tante, Onkel||aunt, uncle|
|Nichte, Neffe||niece, nephew|
|Cousin, Cousine||cousin (boy / girl cousin)|
|Pflegeeltern (-mutter, -vater, -kind(er), -tochter, -sohn)||foster parents (-mother, -father, -child(ren), -daughter, -son)|
|Schwiegereltern||in-laws = parents-in-law|
|Schwiegermutter, -vater, -tochter, -sohn||mother-, father-, daughter-, son-in-law|
|Schwager, Schwägerin||brother-in-law / sister-in-law|
|Partner, Partnerin (auch gleichgeschlechtlich)||partner|
|Verlobte, Verlobter||fiancée (female), fiancé (male)|
|Ehefrau, Ehemann||wife, husband|
|Exfrau, Exmann||ex-wife, ex-husband|
|verlobt sein (sich verloben)||to get / be engaged|
|verheiratet sein (sich ...)||to get / be married|
|geschieden sein (sich ...)||to get / be divorced|
|ledig, verheiratet, geschieden, in einer Partnerschaft leben||single, married, divorced, living in a partnership|
|eingetragene Partnerschaft||registered partnership|
|gleichgeschlechtliches Paar||same-sex couple|
|Alleinerziehende(r) Mutter, Vater||single mother / father|
|nach jemandem (verwandt) geraten (Aussehen, Charakter)||to take after someone (in looks or character)|
She’s tall / short / of medium height and build / muscular / slim / petite …
(Don’t say “big” as this would mean “fat”!)
He's got dark brown / black / fair hair.
She's a brunette / redhead / blonde.
shoulder-length, short, curly, wavy, cropped, straight
She’s wearing her hair loose / in a chignon / in a plait.
|beard||covers chin and cheeks|
|moustache||covers the upper lip|
|2-12||a child (childhood)|
a teenager (14 = early teens)
an adolescent (adolescence)
|18 +||an adult / grown-up|
|20-29||in their (early / mid- / late) twenties|
|30-39 (etc.)||in their (early / mid- / late) thirties|
|40 +||a middle-aged person|
|60 or 65||a retiree (retirement age)|
|75 +||old age (an elderly person)|
|warm and friendly||cold and unfriendly|
|sensitive||insensitive, not caring about people's feelings|
|flexible||inflexible; stuck in his/her ways|
|lots of common sense||no common sense (an idiot)|
|Formal||Hello, my name is Jerry Statler. How do you do?|
How do you do? I am Conrad Waldorf.
|Neutral/professional||Hello, I am Jerry Statler. Good to meet you.||And you. I'm Conrad Waldorf.|
|Informal||Hi, I'm Jerry, how are you?||I'm Conrad, nice to meet you.|
|Formal||Mr Statler, may I introduce Mr Waldorf to you? / Please allow me to introduce Mr Waldorf.||Please do. Good evening, Mr Waldorf.|
|Neutral/professional||Hello, Mr Statler. Have you met Conrad Waldorf?||No, I haven't actually. Nice to meet you.|
|Informal||Hi, have you two met? This is Jerry.||Hi Jerry, nice to meet you. I'm Conrad.|
|Attire||can be smart, stylish, trendy, unfashionable|
Business professional (formal)
|suit and tie, shirt in conservative colours, dress shoes, dark socks (men); suited skirt or trousers, blouse, blazer, moderate heels (women);|
|Business casual (less formal)||jeans and blazer, tie often not necessary (men); dress, cardigan etc. allowed for women|
- Hello / Good morning / Good afternoon
- Pleased / Nice to meet you, I'm...
- Welcome to...
- Good / Nice to see you again.
- Let me help you with your case / coat.
- Please follow me. We're on the ... floor.
|Formal||Hello, Mr Statler, good to see you again.||You too. How have you been?|
|How are you?||Very well, thank you. And you?|
|Neutral/professional||Hello, Jerry / Mr Statler. How are you?||Fine, thanks, and yourself?|
|Informal||Hi, Jerry! How're you doing?||I'm good, how about yourself?|
- Did you have a good flight / trip?
- How was your flight / trip?
- Did you have any problems finding us?
- Is this your first time in Vienna / Austria / ...?
- Where are you staying?
- Is everything OK with your hotel / accommodation?
- This is ...
- This part of the process is called ...
- Over here/there is ...
- This is where ...
- As you can see, ...
- If you look at ...
First ... second ... then ... after that ... and finally ...
- OK, let's move to ...
- I'm now going to show you ...
- And I'm now going to talk a little about ...
- OK, that's everything about ...
- Please follow me.
- Please mind your head.
|Asking for suggestions|
What shall we do tonight?
Where shall we go this evening?
How about going to the cinema?
Why don't we try that new pub?
|positive||Yeah, great / fine / that's a good idea / sounds great.|
Yes, if you like.
I don't mind.
I think I'd rather go back to my hotel.
Raincheck? (=another time perhaps?)
|Excuse me||to get someone's attention (e.g. "Excuse me. Is this seat free?") or to get past them|
|Sorry||to apologise, e.g. when you stand in someone's way|
|Cheers||Prost; can also mean "goodbye" and "thanks"|
|Thank you||the correct reply is "you're welcome" or "don't mention it" (not "please"!)|
when someone sneezes
the reply is "thank you"
- Can I offer you anything to drink? Coffee, tea, water?
- What would you like? We've got orange juice, sparkling water and champagne.
- Can I top up your drink?
- What are you having?
- Please help yourselves to the buffet.
- You must be hungry after your long trip. Shall we go and get a bite to eat before the presentation?
- We've booked a table at ... for eight o'clock. We'll finish up at about six, so that you'll have plenty of time to freshen up at your hotel beforehand.
- I'll pick you up at 7.30 for dinner, ok?
|The weather||It's very muggy today, isn't it?|
|What's the weather like in your country?|
|Health||How have you been recently?|
|How are you keeping?|
|Holidays||Have you got any holiday (US: vacation) plans?|
|Where did you spend your holiday this year?|
|Family||Have you got family?|
|How're your family doing?|
|Hobbies||Do you do any sports?|
|I'm into chess.|
|Home country||Whereabouts do you come from in ...?|
|How often do you get back to ...?|
|Work||What do you do?|
|What exactly does your job entail?|
|Responsibilities||I report to my superior.|
|We are in charge of accounts.|
|We co-operate with other ministries.|
|We are responsible for providing...|
Where are you from? or
Where do you come from?
Where do you live?
Where are you from? or
Where do you come from?
Where do you live?
What do you do? (= job)
I’m a translator.
|What are you doing at the moment?||I'm working on a big project.|
|Are you married?||No, I'm single.|
|How old are you?||I'm 29.|
What’s your address/mobile number?
How are you? or
How’s it going?
I’m good, and yourself?
What’s the matter?
What are you doing this evening?
Nothing special/much. Why?
Have you got the time?
Yes, it’s five past three.
|How much is that necklace?||It's € 450.|
|What sort / kind of music do you like?||I like opera.|
|Are you enjoying your stay in Vienna?||Yes, it's great.|
|Did you have a good day today?||Excellent, and you?|
|How long have you been in Vienna?||Wie lange sind Sie schon in Wien?|
How long are you staying? or
How long are you here for?
Wie lange bleiben Sie?
Für wie lange sind Sie hier?
|How much longer are you staying?||Wie lange sind Sie noch hier?|
Is this the first time you’ve been to Vienna?
Sind Sie zum ersten Mal in Wien?
When did you arrive?
Wann sind Sie angekommen?
|Are you going out tonight?||I think / don't think so.|
|Will your boss be there?||I hope so / hope not.|
|Are you working tomorrow?||I'm afraid so.|
|Can you come to the reception?||I'm afraid not.|
|Shall we take a taxi?||If you like.|
|Would you like to walk there?||I don't mind.|
|She's finally passed the test.||Really? That's great!|
|Oh, that's brilliant/fantastic!|
|We're going camping in Greece.||That sounds wonderful.|
|I can't have lunch with you today.||Oh, what a pity / shame.|
|Oh, that's a pity / shame!|
|It's raining again.||Oh, what a nuisance/pain.|
|What a drag!|
- It was nice meeting you. / Nice to have met you.
- It was good to see you again.
- It was a very useful (first) meeting.
- It's been great working with you.
- Thanks for everything.
Reference to future
- I'll send you an email / a proposal when I get back.
- See you again next...
- Hope to see you soon.
- I look forward to seeing you next month.
Comment on journey
- (Have a) Safe journey.
- Have a good trip home / back.
- Take care!
Hello, [organisation], this is [name] speaking, how can I help you?
Hello, this is James Bond, could I talk to Mr / Ms / Col …?
Hello, this is [your name], can I speak to …?
Hello, can I speak to [your name]?
… to Mr/Ms/Major … XY?
Yes, a moment please.
(Certainly,) I’ll put you through.
I’ll connect you.
If the line is engaged:
Can I hold?
Sorry, the line is busy / engaged. Would you like to hold?
Sorry, he / she is speaking on another line. Could you call back later, please?
His / her extension (number) is 00112233.
Yes, one moment please / Yes, certainly.
If someone’s not here:
Sorry, Mr X is not available now.
Sorry, Ms Y is not in the office today / this week.
She will be back in the afternoon / next Monday / around 3 o’clock.
Can I connect you to his deputy?
Can I connect you to somebody else?
Can I leave a message, please?
Certainly, what may I tell her?
Please try again later / tomorrow.
Can she call you back?
Can she call me back, please? or:
Could you ask her to return my call?
Certainly, could I have your number please?
What is your number?
Can’t hear / understand:
Sorry? / Pardon? (NOT “please”!)
(Can you) Say that again, please?
Sorry, this is a bad line.
The reception is bad / I can’t hear you very well. Are you still there?
Sorry, I didn’t get that. Could you say it again, please?
Actually, it’s 19 (nineTEEN), not 90 (NINEty) (careful ofword stress!)
I’m sorry, but that’s not (quite) right (then say what IS right!)
- Try to speak clearly and don't be afraid to speak more slowly than normal.
- Think about what you want to say before calling.
- Don't be afraid to ask your caller to repeat themselves if you don't understand.
If the worst comes to the worst – Deutsch reden! That will stop the most talkative native speaker.
|(den Hörer) abheben||answer (the phone)|
|Besetztzeichen||engaged tone (busy signal)|
|dienstl. Nummer||work number|
|erreichbar (sein)||(to be) available|
|jdn. erreichen||to reach sb|
|falsch verbunden sein||have (dialled) the wrong number|
|Handy||mobile / cell (phone) (NOT handy!)|
|Klappe (Nebenstelle)||extension (number)|
|sich etwas aufschreiben||make a note of sth|
|sich verwählen||dial a wrong number|
|verbinden||connect, put sb through|
|Letter||phonetic letter||Letter||phonetic letter|
Formal: You don’t know the recipient’s name:
You know the recipient’s name:
Dear Sir / Madam / job title
Dear Mr / Ms / Dr XY (UK: no full stops after titles!)
Yours faithfully (UK), Sincerely yours (US)
|Neutral / professional||Dear James Bond||(Best) Regards|
You know someone well
|Opening||With reference to you e-mail of 12 January,...||Thank you for ... Regarding ..., ...|
|Reason for writing||We are writing to request / confirm / inform you / ask if / clarify ...||Just a short email to ... request / confirm / inform you / ask if / clarify ...|
|Good news||We are delighted to confirm that ...||I'm happy to ...|
|Bad news||We regret to inform you that ...||I'm sorry, but ...|
Organising a meeting
I am writing to arrange our next meeting to discuss … . I would propose 1 – 4 p.m. on 15 January in/at (venue). Please let me know if these times are convenient.
Confirming a meeting
Thank you for the invitation to the meeting. I can confirm that 15 January is convenient for me. Could you please book a room for me at the Hilton? I look forward to seeing you.
Informing about changes/delays
As I shall have to go to Brussels on Monday next week, I’m afraid I won’t be able to make our meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Would it be all right with you if we moved the meeting back one day to Wednesday afternoon, 16 January? Please let me know whether this will be convenient for you.
I am writing to request a copy of your latest issue of … Please could you also send me some information on …
Just a quick note to inquire about the documents I asked you for on Monday – have you been able to find them? I’d appreciate it if I could have them by Friday at the latest, as I need them to prepare for my presentation.
Announcing absence (out-of-office reply)
Thank you for your e-mail. I am currently out of the office and will return on 20 January. If you need assistance during this time, please contact my deputy, Sandra Huber, at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone her on extension 123.
or dotor point
in compound words, especially adjectives
e.g. a three-year-old boy, a small-talk topic
before a longer list or statement; NOT to introduce direct speech!
to link two clauses without an additional linking word
e.g. There are many advantages to this process; it has a lot of disadvantages, too, though.
For direct speech and quotations. Top of the line!
to add information, e.g. a citation
exclamation mark, question mark
used to insert another thought into a sentence
|Formal||I would like to arrange an appointment to discuss ...|
|Please would you indicate a suitable time and place to meet?|
|Neutral||Would it be possible for us to meet on (date) at my office to discuss ...?|
|Informal||Can we meet (up) to talk about ...?|
|Neutral||Would Tuesday suit you?|
|Would you be available on Tuesday?|
|Informal||What about ...?|
|Formal||Thank you for your email. I would be available to discuss ... on (date) at (time and place).|
|Neutral / Informal||Tuesday sounds fine. Shall we say around (time) at (place)? Thursday suits me.|
|Thursday would be perfect.|
- What sort of time would suit you?
- Is 3 pm a good time for you?
- If possible, I'd like to meet in the morning.
- How does 2pm sound to you?
Unfortunately, I will be away on business during the week of 6 to 11 July so I will be unable to meet you then. However, if you are available in the following week, I would be glad to arrange a meeting with you.
I will be out of the office on Wednesday and Thursday, but I will be available on Friday afternoon.
I'm afraid I can't on the 3rd. What about the 6th?
Unfortunately, due to some unforeseen business, I will be unable to keep our appointment for tomorrow afternoon. Could we arrange another time later in the week?
I’m afraid that I have to cancel our meeting on Wednesday, as something unexpected has come up. Would you be free to meet early next week?
I’m sorry, but I won't be able to make it on Monday. Could we meet on Tuesday instead?
Something has just cropped up and I won't be able to meet you this afternoon. Can we make another time?
|Formal||I apologise for any inconvenience.|
|Informal||I'm sorry about cancelling.|
Please confirm if this date and time is suitable / convenient for you.
Can you please let me know if this is OK for you?
I am … and I would be interested to meet you to discuss …
I would be grateful if you could indicate a convenient time to meet during this week
I look forward to hearing from you.
I'm sorry about cancelling.
Don't confuse marriage (Ehe) and wedding (Hochzeit)!
If a woman is pregnant, don't say, "She's getting a baby" but "She's having / expecting a baby"!
Native speakers of English have little time for titles. For instance, the title “Doctor” is normally just given to a GP (not to specialists or dentists) as well as to scientists in certain contexts, but not to lawyers, for instance. For men, we use “Mr”, for women “Ms” [Miz]. Never introduce yourself with a title!
Neither the question "How do you do?" (antiquated or extremely formal) nor, normally, the question "How are you?" is directly answered at first-time meetings.
The greetings "good morning" and "hello" are neutral, whereas "good afternoon" and "good evening" are considered rather formal.
In Anglo-American contexts, people tend to be on first-name terms very quickly. This does not mean, however, that they are close friends!
When talking your qualifications, don't confuse education (=what you get at school/university) and training (more practical, e.g. an apprenticeship)! Of course, sometimes the two overlap as there are various types of vocational schools (Berufsschulen) and Universities of Applied Science (Fachhochschulen) that offer very practical courses.
Asking questions is a good way to get a visitor to open up and start talking. However, asking too many questions might make you come across as a bit pushy. You should concentrate on questions that keep the conversation flowing. There should be a natural balance between questions and statements so don't forget to share some information about yourself!
Just answering with "yes" or "no" is considered impolite in English. The minimum is the so-called short answer, which is, e.g., "Yes, I did." or "No, he isn't." Use the same auxiliary (except sometimes in case of TO BE) as for questions.
Some topics are off limits in some countries or cultures, such as death, illnesses or someone's income - stick to topics that are "safe"!
Please note the difference between these two questions:
How was the party? (= tell me your opinion of it)
What (NOT how!) was the party like? (= describe it to me)
Careful of tense usage! We say how longwehave been staying or how oftenwe’ve been TO a certain place (e.g. I’vebeen to Vienna before); as soon as we talk about a specific situation in the past, we use the past tense (e.g. I first came two years ago and really enjoyed my stay). If you use the wrong tense, you could confuse others!
When you are talking to someone, it is important to show them you are listening. You can do so by using sounds like “mmm” and “uh huh”, or words such as “OK”, “right”, “sure”, or “I see”. Such feedback is slightly more frequent among English than among German speakers.
Don’t use TOO in negative statements when agreeing with someone. E.g. don’t say, “I don’t like veal, too” but “I don’t like veal EITHER”.
In a foreign language, it is very easy to “put one’s foot in one’s mouth” (= ins Fettnäpfchen treten). One such pitfall would be the use of expletives (such as “Sh…” or “F…”), which is common in German but should be avoided at all cost in English – so no four-letter words please!
Moreover, the German word “Rückseite” is translated with the English “back”. You should only use “backside” if you wish to refer to the part of someone’s anatomy they usually sit on – because this is the ONLY meaning of the word! The word “bottom”, on the other hand, is also used in other contexts, e.g. “the bottom of the hill” or “the bottom of the sea.”
NOT “my name is” but always “this is”
NEVER “Bond James” but always “James Bond”
CAREFUL of the pronunciation of Ms [Miz]!
Often, people don’t say their names but just “Hello?”, especially on their mobile phones.
- Say digits singly, except: double (55… double five), triple (555… triple five); 0… zero / oh
- Use the international (NATO) spelling alphabet!
- Saying email addresses on the phone:
@ ... is pronounced 'at'
/ … is "forward slash"
- … is called a "hyphen" (NOT a “minus”!)
_ … is an "underscore"
Don’t say, “I don’t understand you”, it’s rude!
To spell e.g. a name, you should say “A AS IN Alpha” or A FOR Alpha” (not “A like Alpha” as you would in German!)
English punctuation rules are quite different from those in German, especially the use of the comma – careful!
If you don't know the person, you'll need to give some background information about yourself or your company.