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How to speak German

How to Write an Email in German

Learning German can be a challenge, but it’s completely doable with the right approach. However, speaking and writing like a native will require some effort. Rather than relying on inaccurate translation websites that make it difficult to clarify formality and gender, it’s important to learn some basics about writing an email in German. So, if you want to understand how to compose emails in the German language, you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you’re looking to fine-tune your German email greetings or you need to learn how to end an email in German, Tandem has you covered.

Throughout this post, we’ll cover the basics of German formal email, so you can write a letter to the Bundesamt or Finanzamt. We’ll also help you learn how to write emails in German using informal language so you can correspond with your German friends with ease.

Are you also learning French? Check out our blog post on how to sign off an email in French!

Your language learning journey will require some helpful tools and resources to gain fluency. That is why Tandem is here to help! With the Tandem app, we connect language learners to native speakers to help them speak any language, anywhere.

how to start email in German

When learning how to write an email in German, one of the first things you need to do is determine formality. Written communication in German can sometimes be problematic due to the need to distinguish between formal and informal manners of address. However, formal email in German is a distinction that’s essential to learn. Let’s begin with the differences between “you.”

Sie Vs. du

Before putting pen to paper (or finger to keyboard), you need to understand to whom you are addressing and the nature of the relationship. Composing a formal German email is much different than informal letters.

The relationship of the person you’re writing to determines whether to address the person as Sie (formal “you”) or du (informal “you”), followed by the correct conjugation of the verb. When writing a formal email, German speaking natives will always use the word Sie. If you check your mail in German, chances are you’ll also be addressed in this manner.

A few notes to keep in mind…

Sie has an obligatory capital S at all times and other polite forms include Ihr(e) and Ihnen. Another note of importance is that Sie is the default form for business letters and all other types of German business communication. It’s one of the pillars of formal email in German.

First name Vs. last name

Another thing to remember when learning how to start a German email is that Germany is a more formal society. So, you also need to decide whether to address the person by their first name or title and last name. Much like with Sie and du, it’s best to err on the side of caution and adopt the more formal manner, unless they have stated otherwise. This is a good tip for learning how to start a formal email in German and will help you establish respect in your relationships.

Moral of the story, when in doubt, it's better to be more formal with email writing in German!

Start the email

Now, let’s dive into more information on how to start an email in German. The following suggestions also apply when writing a letter. While you may think that it’s not necessary to write a letter in German nowadays, Germany still relies on the good old fashioned Deutsche Post for many matters of official business.

In fact, you may find yourself sending letters more often than writing email in German, but the greetings and sign offs are the same. So, let’s explore some German email opening lines below.

german email greetings


Sehr geehrter Herr...,

This is a formal email Germans use when writing to a man whose name you know. You would include their surname after Herr.

Sehr geehrte Frau...,

This is the same email greeting in German as above, but to a woman whose name you know. You would include their surname after Frau.

Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,

This greeting is used when the addressee is unknown. Translated directly, sehr geehrte means “very honored” but serves the same purpose as “dear Sir or Madam” in English letter salutations. If you don’t know how to write formal email in German, this is a good place to start.



Hallo is a common way to begin German email greetings when you’re taking a more casual tone. Meaning “hello”, this can be used for both male and female addressees in an informal letter or email.


This is the most common opening for a German email or letter. It is the equivalent of "dear" in English. This is only used when addressing female friends or relatives.


When addressing male friends or relatives through email, German speakers use Lieber.

Note, however, that unlike in English, you start the body of the email with a lowercase letter in German. Furthermore, one common mistake that you do not want to make is to use the wrong adjective ending. This does not start the correspondence on the right foot!

writing email german

Sign off the email

Before the official German email sign off or letter finalization, it can be nice to politely wrap up with a short sentence. This is a crucial step in learning how to sign off an email in German, as many people appreciate the additional sentiment.

Ich bedanke mich bei Ihnen im Voraus

I thank you in advance.

Ich würde mich freuen, bald von Ihnen zu hören

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Für weitere Auskünfte stehe ich Ihnen gerne zur Verfügung

I am readily available should you require additional information.


Mit freundlichen Grüßen

One of the most popular and widely used closing for formal occasions literally translates to “with friendly greetings.” You might also see it as “mfg” as a form of email lingo which is used in more casual situations. In conjunction with the above greetings, you now know how to write a formal email in German.

Mit herzlichen Grüßen

This common formal term means “with best wishes”.

Mit besten Grüßen

This one translates to “best regards” or “with kind regards” in English.


Meaning “yours” in English, Ihre is used if you are female and Ihr if you are a male.

sign off email german


Viele Grüße or Liebe Grüße

These two are the most common and natural-sounding conclusions. You might also see it as “VG” or “LG” respectively in emails.


This is the equivalent of “regards” in English.

Mach's gut!

The English equivalent would be “take care!” or “take it easy!” and is typically only used in email.


Meaning “yours,” deine is used if you are female and dein if you are a male.

An important final note to remember that unlike in English, there is no comma after a concluding expression in German! We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of the most common email greetings in German! If you’ve enjoyed this guide, check out other similar ones on how to write an email in English or how to write an email in Portuguese.

If you want to further strengthen your German, don’t forget to download Tandem! Tandem is a unique language learning app that connects millions of like-minded individuals across the world. With over 300 languages to choose from, you can work on improving your fluency in whatever target language you’d like. All you need to do is download the Tandem app, match with a native speaker of your target language, and start communicating!

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