Basic German Grammar Rules
Here is a long list of links, rules, comments and tips for German grammer according to subject. Some of you might have already seen my previous posts on some of these subjects but I will give links to them in here.
(Masculine) ihr | (feminine) ihre | (Neuter) ihr | (Plural) ihre Accusative:
(Masculine) ihren | (Feminine) ihre | (Neuter) ihr | (Plural) ihre Dative:
(Masculine) ihrem | (Feminine) ihrer | (Neuter) ihrem | (Plural) ihre
(Masculine) ihres | (Feminine) ihrer | (Neuter) ihres | (Plural) ihrer
- YouTube: Get Germanized -
der Becher (masculine) "ihr becher" (her cup)
die Schlange (feminine) "ihre schlange"
das Haus (neuter) "ihr haus"
- A post on Duolingo (I can't find the link to it, sorry) (The italic sentences are not part of the original post) -
Some German abbreviations that may be useful to know:
usw. = und so weiter = and so on (etc.)
u.v.a.m. = und viele andere mehr = and many others
u.a. = unter anderem = among other things
u.U. = unter Umständen = possibly
m.W. = meines Wissens = as far as I know (AFAIK)
m.E. = meines Erachtens = in my opinion (IMO)
m.M.n., mMn = meiner Meinung nach = in my opinion (IMO)
bzw. = beziehungsweise = (see the note below)
bzgl. = bezüglich = with regard to, concerning
d.h. = das heißt = that is to say (i.e.) or "That means"
z.B. = zum Beispiel = for example (e.g.)
m.a.W. = mit anderen Worten = in other words
z. Zt., z.Zt., zZt., zzt. = zur Zeit, zurzeit = at the moment
vgl. = vergleiche = compare (cf.)
s.o. = siehe oben = see further up
s.u. = siehe unten = see further down
s.a. = siehe auch = see also
S. = Seite = page (p.)
f., ff. = und folgende = and the following one, and the following
ones (et seq., et seqq.) - used in contexts such as "S. 46f." =
pages 46 and 47; "S. 50ff." = page 50 and the next few pages
i.A. = im Allgemeinen = in general
i.e.S., i.w.S. = im engeren/weiteren Sinne = specifically / broadly
u.A.w.g. = um Antwort wird gebeten = please reply (RSVP)
LG = Liebe Grüße = cordial letter closing
MfG = Mit freundlichen Grüßen = polite letter closing (Never use it in formal letters)
hdl = hab' dich lieb = love you
hdgdl = hab' dich ganz doll lieb = love you lots
WIMRE = wenn ich mich richtig erinnere = if I recall correctly (IIRC)
NOTE: "bzw." is difficult to translate into English! It sometimes means "respectively" (die erste und zweite Klasse haben am Montag bzw. Dienstag ihren Elternabend = the first and second grades have their parent-teacher conferences on Monday and Tuesday, respectively) and sometimes "as the case may be" (Die Kinder haben den Zettel ihrem Vater bzw. ihrer Mutter gegeben = The children gave the note to their fathers or their mothers, as the case may be = depending on which of their parents had accompanied them to the event).
Note that "bzw." comes between the nouns or phrases that are connected whereas the English translations usually come afterwards.
NOTE: If you see someone writing "resp." in an English text, especially if it's between two things, you can be pretty sure that it's written by a native speaker of German -- "bzw." is used a lot more often than "respectively" is in English, and I've never seen "respectively" abbreviated to "resp." except by Germans.
Idioms and Proverbs
- Duolingo Lesson -
Deutsche Sprache, schwere Sprache.
German is hard.
Es ist noch kein Meister vom Himmel gefallen.
Practice makes perfect.
Ende gut, alles gut.
All's well that ends well.
Der Tropfen, der das Fass zum Überlaufen bringt.
The straw that breaks the camel's back.
Viele Köche verderben den Brei.
Too many cooks spoil the broth.
Lachen ist die beste Medizin.
Laughter is the best medicine.
Das ist Schnee von gestern.
That's yesterday's news./That's just water under the bridge.
Aus den Augen, aus dem Sinn.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Ich drücke dir die Daumen!
I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!
Es schüttet wie aus Eimern.
It's raining cats and dogs.
Halt die Ohren steif!
Er ist bekannt wie ein bunter Hund.
He is known all over town./He is famous.
(literaly: He is as famous as a colourful dog.)
Auch ein blindes Huhn findet mal ein Korn.
Every dog has it's day.
Du machst aus einer Mücker einen Elefanten.
You're making a mountain out of a molehill.
Die Feder ist mächtiger als das Schwert.
The feather is mightier than the sword.
The eszett or 'ss'
- TrioLinguist -
As far as I know, ß is only used after diphthongs and long vowels.
So, the eszett makes it clear that the vowel in Maße is long, and the double-S shows that the vowel in Masse is short - both are pronounced quite differently. The word Wasser can't take an eszett because the vowel is short, it isn't pronounced like Waahhssah, just Wassah.
P.S. The rules were different before 1996, where Haß became Hass and ißt became isst. However, Wasser has never been spelt Waßer.
- biertopf -
Before 1996, "ß" was also used after short vowels at the end of a word (der Haß) or if a consonant followed (du haßt), but not if a vowel followed (wir hassen, Wasser). I think, the new rules are more straightforward, as they are based on the pronunciation.
Comment (on a comment):
- mizinamo -
Note that "s" can be after a long or a short vowel - for example, "was" and "das" have a short vowel but "Gas" and "las" have a long one.
- birgit72635 - The use of possessive pronouns is similar like the English ones are used.
Ich - mein, du - dein, er - sein, sie - ihr, es - sein, wir - unser, ihr - euer, sie - ihr
However, the endings depend on the according noun and in which case the nouns are said and, of course, their gender.
Mein Hund steht in unserem Garten. Deine Katze sitzt auf ihrer Bank.
Your sentence: I have taken your time and feel no remorse would be best translated as: Ich habe deine Zeit in Anspruch genommen. Oder: Ich habe eure Zeit in Anspruch genommen. Oder: Ich habe Ihre Zeit in Anspruch genommen.
Mixed and Strong Adjectives
- AliceMarie -
The thing about the adjective endings is that German really wants to KNOW the case and gender of its nouns, and it insists that they be displayed in the sentence.
- A "strong" adjective has to have strong (more distinct) endings because there is no article in front to give a clue.
- A "weak" adjective follows an article (der, die, das) or another dieser word and it has simplified endings because the other word is doing the heavy lifting of telling us what gender and case the noun is.
- And finally, a "mixed" adjective is one that follows a ein/kein word, which has many but not all of the distinct endings provided by the deiser words, so the adjective has endings a little more complicated than weak adjectives, but not as complex as the strong adjectives.
(My Note: "Weil" means 'because'.)
1. When you use a subordinating conjunction, the conjugated verb that follows the conjunction moves to the end of the clause.
2. You have to place a comma in front of the subordinating conjunction.
Subordinating conjunctions in the Present Tense:
Ich weiß, dass er krank ist.
(I know that he is sick)
Ich weiß, dass er ist krank.
(In German the verb goes to the end of the secondary clause.)
Ich weiß nicht, ob er morgen zum Training kommt.
(I don't know whether he will come to practice tomorrow.)
Ich weiß nicht, ob er morgen kommt zum Training.
Er ist nicht da, weil er auf Geshäftsreise ist.
(He is not there because he is on a bussiness trip.)
Er ist nicht da, weil er ist auf Geschäftsreise.
Subordinating Conjunctions with helping verbs:
Wir sind drinnen geblieben, weil es den ganzen Tag geregnet hat. (We stayed inside because it rained all day long.)
Wir sind drinnen geblieben, weil es hat den ganzen Tag geregnet.
Subordinating Conjunctions with Modal verbs:
Ich weiß nicht, ob ich morgen zur Besprechung kommen muss.
(I don't know whether I have to come to the meeting tomorrow.)
(The modal verb is at the end of the sentence.)
Ich weiß nicht, ob ich muss morgen zur Besprechung kommen.
Subordinating Conjunction with Separable verbs:
(You have to separate separable verbs in the present tense, such as in this sentence:)
Er bringt Wein mit.
(He is bringing wine.)
(However, if you use a subordinating conjunction, such as "dass", then you have to reattach the separable prefix at the end of the sentence.)
Er hat gesagt, dass er Wein mitbringt.
(He said that he is bringing wine.)
Wusstest du, dass er Sonia einen Heiratsantrag gemacht hat?
(Did you know that he proposed to Sonia?)
(As you can see, the helping verb "hat" is at the end of the sentence.)
Ich bin mir nicht sicher, ob er mich verstanden hat.
(I'm not sure whether he understood me.)
Ich bin sauer auf ihn, weil er mich angelogen hat.
(I'm mad at him, because he lied to me.)
Ich bin ziemlich sicher, dass er nächste Woche zurückkommt. (I'm pretty sure that he is coming back next week.)
So in this sentence we're using the separable verb "zurückkommen", but here in this sentence, we're using a subordinating conjunction, so we have to reattach the prefix at the end of the sentence.
Ich weiß nicht, ob er mit uns kommen will.
(I don't know whether he wants to come along with us.)
(So we're using a modal verb, and as we learned today, we have to put modal verbs at the end of a sentence.)
Er kommt etwas später, weil er einen Arzttermin hat.
(He is coming a bit later, because he has a doctor's appointment.)
(We can see that the word "hat" is at the end of the sentence.) There is still a whole playlist for subordinating conjunctions in German with Jenny's channnel, but this is the first lesson's basics. I gave the link to the playlist above.
- mizinamo (I have the link for this one) -
Please be quiet:
- "Sei bitte leise" / "Bitte sei leise" / "Sei leise, bitte"
- "Seid bitte leise" / "Bitte seid leise" / "Seid leise, bitte"
"Seien Sie bitte leise" / "Bitte seien Sie leise" / "Seien Sie leise, bitte"
depending on how many people you are addressing and how well you know them.
Silent: makes no noise at all.
Quiet: can mean either "silent" or "makes only a very small amount of noise or sound".
(German leise shares the same double meaning as "quiet": "making no sound" or "making little sound".)
- I have the link to this one -
- xania1977 - "Im" - you are already there:
"Ich bin im Bett" = I am in bed.
("im" is the short from "in dem", but "Ich bin in dem Bett" sounds bad):
"In", "Ins" - you will go there:
"Ich gehe in das Bett oder Ich gehe ins Bett" = I go to bed.
- Mia797420 -
- "in" needs to come together with a definite article:
"Ich bin in dem Zug" ("der Zug") = I'm in the train.
"Ich bin in der Küche" ("die Küche") = I'm in the kitchen.
"Ich bin in dem Bad" ("das Bad") = I'm in the bathroom.
"Ich steige in den Zug" = I enter into the train.
"Ich gehe in die Küche" = I go into the kitchen.
"Ich gehe in das Bad" = I go into the bathroom.
- "im" is the short form of "in dem" (dative object, masculine/neutral)
"Ich bin im Zug" = I'm in the train.
"Ich bin im Bad" = I'm in the bathroom
There is no short form for "in der" (dative object, female).
"ins" is the short form of "in das" (accusative object):
"Ich gehe ins Bad" = I go into the bathroom.
"Hat" and 1st, 2nd, 3rd person singular/plural
- A comment on Duolingo (I don't know who it was) -
In german, like most European languages, the verb is conjugated according to the subject of the sentence. You know that from English, but there only the third person singular (he/she/it) differs from the infinitive. In german, all six forms are distinct:
Ich habe - I have - first person singular
Du hast - you have - second person singular
Er/sie/es hat - He/she/it has - thirds person singular
Wir haben - we have - first person plural
Ihr habt - you have - second person plural
Sie haben - They have - third person plural
- Unknown -
It's a matter of person. Ich (I) is first person; Du (singular you) is second person; Sie, Er, Es (She, He, It) is third person. So trinke is first, trinkst is second and trinkt is third.
Maybe this will help remembering: if you read books in archaic English, such as old Bible translations, you may have noticed that there are sentences such as "thou drinkest". In today's English it's "you drink", but notice how similar "thou drinkest" is to "du trinkst".
- Post -
- Unknown -
In German we have four cases. And whenever you put a personal pronoun into a sentence to you have to be aware which case to use.
Ich gebe dir ein Bild. You could ask: Wem gebe ich ein Bild? The answer to the question is in the dative case, so you use dir.
Er gibt mir ein Bild. Wem gibt er ein Bild? mir =dative
Ich male dich. You could ask: Wen male ich? The answer to this question is dich = accusative case.
Er malt mich. Wen malt er? mich = accusative
You see, the usage is depending what function this word has in the particular sentence. There are some more rules.
- ChemMJW - This is a grammar question, so I'll have to use some grammar terms to explain the matter, and I hope this is ok.
The answer is that ich is a nominative case pronoun, and mich is an accusative case pronoun. If you are not familiar with grammatical cases, here is a quick resource: https://easy-deutsch.de/en/nouns/cases/
Suffice it to say that the nominative case is used for the subject of a sentence (the person or thing doing an action) , and the accusative case is used for the direct object of a sentence (the person or thing having an action done to it).
In the sentence I see him, I is the subject and him is the direct object. In the sentence He sees me, he is the subject and me is the direct object.
To express these sentences in German, we have to make sure we put the pronouns in the correct case depending on whether they're the subject or the direct object. I see him = Ich sehe ihn. ich is the subject, so we use the nominative case pronoun. He sees me = Er sieht mich. mich is the direct object, so we must use the accusative case pronoun.
The nominative and accusative pronouns are among the very most commonly used words in German, so it's important that you practice them until they're second nature to you. A nominative/accusative pair exists for first, second, and third person in both the singular and the plural. It's a lot to take in and memorize when you're just beginning with German, but with practice it will start making more sense.
Also, as slamRN already mentioned, you'll eventually encounter mir in addition to ich and mich. Mir is the dative case pronoun, used for indirect objects. After you have mastered the nominative and accusative cases, then you can tackle the dative case. My advice is to try not to take in too much new grammar all at once.
- Alirezatm - "mich" and "mir" are both "me" in English.
However in German, "mich" is used for direct object of the sentence and "mir" is used for indirect object of the sentence. Differentiating between these two is rather easy since indirect object in English tends to come after some sort of preposition such as "from", "to" and ...
Example: "He gives the book to me" - "Er gibt mir das buch" Me is indirect in the sentence because it came after the preposition "to".
Example: "He loves me" - "Er liebt mich"
- LivingOne -
In brief ich is usually equal to our English "I"; and mich and mir equal to that of our english "me" although there are rules about when to use which form. But let's back up a little bit- as you can see, all three words, ich, mich, & mir refer to the same person, but are used in a different case.
There is the Nominative, the Accusative, Dative, and Genitive cases in German. For our purposes here we will focus on these first three. (Genitive is simply an ownership case which English also uses.)
The nominative is the place of the actor in the sentence, or the one performing some action.
Ich trinke Milch. - I drink milk. // We use ich here because I am the one drinking milk.
Accusative is the place of the direct object, or the one to whom some action affects.
Sam liebt mich. - Sam loves me. //In this case, we use mich because in this statement because we see that Sam is in fact the one doing the loving-and mich indicates that I am the direct object, or the receiver of the loving, if you will.
Dative is a case that only rarely reveals itself directly in English but is much more common in German. This indicates an indirect object.
Krista gibt mir den Kuli. - Krista gives me the pen (or) Krista gives the pen to me //In this case we would use mir because I am the indirect object in this sentence. Krista is the one who gives, which means she takes the nominative position.
The way we know what to do from this point is by looking at the verb, which is gibt. So we look for what is being given; here it is the Kuli. Now to whom is the Kuli being given? That, there is the indirect object. (Fun fact: our English use of "whom" is a vestige of the otherwise obsolete use of the dative case in English.) Additionally, usually if you would say "to (someone or something)" in English that is a good indicator that the dative case should be used.
Without giving too much information overload there are prepositions that also help you know which to use which you will learn as you continue on your German adventure. Always remember to read the hints/notes before each lesson on Duolingo, and if you are still stuck consult elsewhere on the internet. German Stack exchange is a great resource!
It can be a confusing at first, but as you practice, practice, practice, you will become more used to it and appreciate the beauty and added clarity which English lacks in this regard that German so artfully adds through the use of all of these cases. All of this you are seeing through the use of ich, mich, and mir.
Good luck and please ask as many questions as you can. We're all learning here together.
- eineSchlange (Here is the link to the post) -
If you know Swedish, then it will help to think of "aber" being as "men" and "sondern" as "utan".
If you don't know Swedish: I like to think "Can I use 'however' here?" If I can, then it is "aber". If I can't, then it's "sondern".
Ich mag den Fisch nicht, aber ich muss ihn essen. I don't like the fish, but (however) I must eat it. Here you can't use "however" instead of "but":
Es ist kein Apfel, sondern eine Orange. It's not an apple, but an orange. (idk if this is grammatically correct in English, but I hope you still get the point)
- YouTube: German with Jenny -
Ich fange jetzt an. = I'm getting started now.
Wir fangen morgen an. = We're starting tomorrow.
Können wir anfangen? = Can we start?
Wir haben schon angefangen. = We already started.
Sollen wir anfangen? = Sould we start?
Wer will anfangen? = Who wants to start?
Wann können wir anfangen? = When can we start?
Fang an. = Get started./Go ahead. (informal)
Lass uns anfangen! = Let's get started! (singular - informal)
Ich muss nochmal von vorne anfangen. = I have to start all over again.
Der Film fängt jetzt an. = The movie starts now.
Sie hat angefangen zu singen. = She started to sing.
In this structure you can see that we're using "zu" and an infinitive at the end of the sentence. Why are we doing that and why have we not done that before? Because we're saying: We're starting to do something. So it's not just: We're starting something, but: We're starting to do something. You can say "Ich fange mit den Hausaufgaben an.” (I'm starting with the homework), or you can say "Ich fange an, meine Hausaufgaben zu machen." (I'm starting to do me homework). So in one sentence you have the "zu" because you're jsut saying: I'm starting something, and in the other sentence you're saying: I'm starting to do somethhing, so in that case you need the "zu" and the infinitive.
Wenn du schreist, fängt sie an zu weinen. = When you scream, she starts to cry (informal)
Das Publikum hat angefangen zu jubeln. = The audience started to cheer. (Using the pretaritum (past, Latin) the sentance would be:) Das Publikum fing an zu jubeln. = The audience started to cheer.
Die Jungen fingen an zu lachen. = The boys started to laugh. (And using the pefect tense:) Die Jungen haben angefangen zu lachen. = The boys started to laugh.
Das Mädchen hat aufgehört zu husten. = The girl stopped coughing.
Ich habe angefangen, dieses Buch zu lesen. = I started to read this book.
Er hörte auf zu rennen, weil er nicht mehr konnte. = He stopped running because he was exhausted.
Der Mann fing an zu schnarchen. = The man started to snore.
Die Polizisten haben angefangen zu schießen. = The police started to shoot.
In German, you have to say to 'start with something'. “Anfangen” use the preposition "mit". (“Anfangen” + “mit” = to start with)
Der Unterricht fängt morgen an. = The classes start tommorow.
Ich fange mit dem Projekt an. = I am starting with the project.
Er hat mit der Renovierung angefangen. = He started the renovation.
Er hat mit dem Rauchen aufgehört. = He quite smoking.
Sie hat mit dem Rauchen angefangen, als sie 14 Jahre alt war. = She started smoking when she was 14 years old.
Wir müssen mit der Besprechung anfangen. = We have to start with the meeting.
Wir müssen jetzt aufhören. Die Zeit ist um. = We have to stop now. The time is up.<h1>“Aufhören”</h1>
Hör auf! = Stop. (informal)
Ich höre jetzt auf. = I am stopping.
Lass uns aufhören. = let's stop.
Die Musik hat aufgehört. = The music stopped.
In German you have to say to 'stop with something. “Aufhoren” uses the preposition “mit”. (“Aufhören” + “mit” = to start with)
Ich höre mit dem Projekt auf. = I am stopping with the project. (I am ending the project.)
Hör auf damit! = Stop that!
Deine = Your (singular-informal) - Euer = Your (plural-informal)
Source of note above:
- Unknown -
I hope you're still awake after that!
Thank you! AP4418
Thanks for this. Useful.
Just to show that I actually read it, if you don't mind, I'll point out my favourite typo:
: Ich weiß, dass er klank ist.
that's what i call really sick! :)
"d.h. = das heißt = that is to say (i.e.)" --- I'd add "that means", too.
Additionally, I'd sort the list of German abbreviations by how widely known an abbreviation is, starting with the most common. I'm a German native speaker and there where abbreviations I didn't know (I do read a lot of books and papers) - I'd recognise them in a text though (context).
"Der Tropfen, der dass Fass zum Überlaufen bringt." --- "das Fass" is correct
"Viele Köche verderben den brei." --- "den Brei" is correct
"Aus dem Augen, aus dem Sinn." --- "den Augen" is correct
"Correct: Er ist nicht da, weil er auf Geshäftsreise ist. (He is not there because he is on a bussiness trip.) Wrong: Er ist nicht da, weil er ist auf Geshäftsreise." --- "Geschäftsreise" is correct
"Correct: Wir sind drinnen gebliben, weil es dan ganzen Tag geregnet hat. (We stayed inside because it rained all day long.) Wrong: Wir sind drinnen geblieben, weil es het den ganzen Tag geregnet." --- Correct: "Wir sind drinnen geblieben, weil es den ganzen Tag geregnet hat." Wrong: "Wir sind drinnen geblieben, weil es hat den ganzen Tag geregnet."
"Ich weiß nicht, ob ich morgen zur Besprechen kommen muss." --- "Besprechung" is correct (this is the noun, "besprechen" is the verb). Same mistake in the "wrong" sentence
"Wusstest du, dass er Sonia einen Hieratsantrag gemacht hat?" --- "Heiratsantrag" is correct
"Er kommt etwas später, weil er Arzttermin hat." --- "Er kommt etwas später, weil er EINEN Arzttermin hat." (He has A doctor's appointment, not he has doctor's appointment)
"Konnen wir anfangen? = Can we start?" --- "Können" is correct
"Der film fängt jetzt an. = The movie starts now." --- "Film" is correct
"Ich habe angefangen, diese Buch zu lesen. = I started to read this book." --- "dieses" is correct
"Der Mann fling an zu schnarchen. = The man started to snore." --- "fing" is correct
"Ich fange mit dem Ptrojekt an. = I am starting with the project." --- "Projekt" is correct
"Sie hat mit dem Ruachen angefangen, als sie 14 Jahre alt war. = She started smoking when she was 14 years old." --- "Rauchen" is correct
"Wir müssen mit der Beschprechung angefangen. = We have to start with the meeting." --- "Wir müssen mit der Besprechung anfangen." is correct
"Wir müssen jetzt aufhören. Die Zeit isr um. = We have to stop now. The time is up." --- "ist" is correct
"Hor auf! = Stop. (informal)" --- "Hör" is correct
"Die Musik hat aufgehören. = The music stopped." --- "aufgehört" is correct
"Hörauf damit! = Stop that!" --- "Hör auf" is correct (space missing)
It's a good idea to post a summarization of German grammar rules! It's even more important though that everything is 100% correct. If you learn something wrong, find out at some point and relearn it it's difficult to remember how something's written correctly. So better doublecheck everything before learning it! ;)
(<- German native speaker)
Dessert-Rose - I have a question, off topic, about your name. You know Dessert in German and in English means Nachtisch and not Wüste?
EDIT: I only say this because your avatar pic shows a Desert Rose.
Nachtisch and not Wüste?
I noticed that too, but i was frightened to ask.
Never thought someone would ask about my username! Hehe! Well, I was wondering out loud what I would have for a username when I first came to DL, and someone suggested a Desert-Rose. I thought that was quite pretty so I made that my username and I added a tweak to personalize it (the extra "S"). Interesting that you brought that up!
Well I always wanted to know if it was a "tweak" as you say or simply a misspelling. Now I know. So now I'll think of you as Sweet Desert Rose.
...Dative: (Masculine) ihrem | (Feminine) ihrer | (Neuter) ihrem | (Plural) ihre
dative plural ihre? I think ihren
Excellent post! I have often seen German abbreviations but I never really knew what they meant, especially bzw.!
Also it's interesting that the German equivalent for "the pen is mightier than the sword" uses "feather" instead. Shows how old that phrase is!
...........Shows how old that phrase is
coined by English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839
good old google :)
in that list for abbreviations you have MFG for mit freundlichen Grüßen and say what it is a closing for a polite letter.
if you ever have to write a formal letter in german:
please don't, don't ever use an abbreviation for "mit freundlichen Grüßen" in a formal letter! best is to forget about the MFG (the abbreviation not the outwriten form) from the beginning. it makes the "mit freundlichen Grüßen" seem informal and casual.
I agree; a closing for a polite/formal letter always would be "mit freundlichen Grüßen", never "mfG".
Still, "mfG" is widely used! For instance, if you're in contact with a small firm, a family business or something like that where the atmosphere is laid-back and everything's quite casual.
The first mail you write them should end with "mit freundlichen Grüßen" - that's just called manners. If the casual attitute is noticeable to you, it's fine to end future mails with "mfG".
On platforms like eBay "mfG" is pretty common too - two persons getting in touch, they're private persons though and do not represent a company. You wanna be polite but not make the impression you're stiff and whatnot so "mfG" is a good compromise.
i never use MFG and i have never seen anyone using it. not here in Germany at least. i don't know about Austria though.
example i would use "viele Grüße"
example i would write "Grüße"
example i would just write "Gruß"
this is way more common than mfg.
Edit: this is about the abbreviation. i am saying this because someone got it wrong and thought it was about the closing "mit freundlichen Grüßen" in general. i never saw anyone using the abbreviation. mit freundlichen Grüßen (spelled out) is the standard closing for a formal letter.
Totally fine to use Mit freundlichen Grüßen in formal letters!
It is the very best neutral option.
My company's automatic signatures use it (Austria) and just checked some mails i got from different companies. The usual combo is: Mit freundlichen Grüßen / with kind regards
No idea how you never (!) saw Mit freundlichen Grüßen. It is used by family business companies and huge international corporations alike.
Short mfG becomes ok when working close with someone of another company.
But for actual friends it is a little distanced.
Gruß/ Grüße is not enough when it is a (first) formal letter! If it is regular correspondence it becomes OK, i guess, though.
At first contact at least use "viele Grüße" or the gold standard "mit freundlichen Grüßen"!
"Freundliche Grüße", slightly more "fresh" then the entire mfG
"Sonnige Grüße" on sunny days
"Mit besten Grüßen" pretty much the same as mfG
"Beste Grüße" like fG above a little more less stiff
"Herzliche Grüße" here we certainly come in friend territory! Use with care
"Liebe Grüße" Friends and the closer colleagues
out of the norm alternatives:
"Freundliche Grüße nach Berlin/ Hamburg/ Wien/ New York/ ..."
"Mit besten Grüßen von Ihrem Zulieferer/ Ausstatter/ Supportteam/...
"Stellvertretend für das gesamte Team grüßt Sie" i'd say only when it's a special occasion
"Eine erfolgreiche Restwoche wünscht"
"Einen guten Start in die Woche/ins Wochenende wünscht"
"Noch eine tolle Woche!"
Maybe the "antique" "Hochachtungsvoll" is suited if it has to be a super formal letter (on actual paper, but hardly in an e-mail!), for a lawyer or whatnot, and it should sound distanced.
partly sourced here:
@guntunge: the comment you replied to was about the abbreviation mfg not about "mit freundlichen Grüßen" in general. i never saw anyone use the appreviation. "mit freundlichen Grüßen" (spelled out) is something i myself use a lot. you should have read from the start (my first comment) before jumping to weird conclusions.
in my first comment. i said that the abbreviation mfg is to casual for a formal letter, then someone said that one needs options for situations when the spelled out "mit freundlichen Grüßen" seems to stiff and gave some examples saying it was ok to use mfg in that situations. then i just wrote what i would write in those cases, saying that i never saw anyone using the abbreviation mfg.
Ok, i thought you talked about the full mfg in your second comment and did not realize your previous comment was yours. The rest stands though, since our little missunderstanding doesn't alter the info.
i see that apparently the mfg abbreviation is quite common in Austria. this is not the case in Germany though. all the other options you mentioned (besides Hochachtungsvoll) are more common than the short mfg in Germany including the one i wrote in my second comment.
I did not say abbreviated mfg was common in formal letters. And neither in correspondence with friends.
I just said it can be used if it is a close and or casual work partnership. When you basically write daily, almost whatsapp like style with little text (or only files), probably no one cares if there is even a signature.
But one can argue if this qualifies even as a proper formal letter.