Informal and formal (1)

Informal forms of address

Sarah and Tom greet each other by hugging.
Image: DW

Hey, Lena!Hallo, Opa!

Hallo, Sarah!Hi, Tom!

  • The informal form of address is used within the family, among friends and acquaintances, and often also among colleagues.
  • Friends, acquaintances and family members are addressed by their first name.
  • Children usually call their parents Mama and Papa, and their grandparents Oma and Opa.

 

Formal forms of address

Mrs Kamp und Mr Müller greet each other formally by shaking hands.
Image: DW

Guten Tag, Frau Kamp! – Guten Tag!

Guten Morgen, Herr Müller! Guten Morgen, Frau Schneider!

  • The formal address is used with unfamiliar adults, in business situations, with officials, or when shopping.
  • Men are addressed formally as Herr followed by their surname, women as Frau followed by their surname.
  • If you are unsure whether to be formal or informal, use the formal address.
Guten Morgen! Greeting in the morning until approximately 11 o'clock.
Guten Tag! Greeting during the day, approximately between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Guten Abend! Greeting in the evening from approximately 6 p.m. onwards.

 

Grammatical terms in German:

informell: Informal language is used when talking to family and friends.

formell: Formal language is used in formal situations.