How to Compliment Someone in German

Compliments are not as frequently used in German culture as they are in American culture. But there are many social situations where a thoughtful compliment can be appropriate or evening useful as an icebreaker. This language guide to German compliments covers many useful phrases and expressions, ending with a section on how to respond to a compliment in German.

German compliments for a woman

Complimenting Appearance

Compliments about a woman’s beauty are among the most common, especially in romantic situations.

Here are some ways to construct some German sentences, to let a woman know that you find her beautiful:

Du bist / Du siehst (…) aus / Ich finde dich
You are / You look / I find you (…)

For example: «Ich finde dich atemberaubend» – I find you breathtaking

Using an adverb to add emphasis

You may also want to add more emphasis to a compliment, in which case you can use the following adverbs ahead of the adjective:

echtreal For example:
«Ich finde dich echt umwerfend»
I find you really staggering
wirklichreally For example:
«Du siehst heute wirklich hübsch aus»
- You look really pretty today
sehrvery For example:
«Du bist sehr süss»
You are very sweet

A more in-depth discussion of adverbs is provided in this guide to German adverbs.

Complimenting personality

Of course, in all serious romantic courtships, you should not solely rely on complimenting physical attributes.

Below are some adjectives to help you flatter a woman’s personality:

For example: «Du bist einzigartig» – You are one-of-a-kind

More compliments for a woman

Here are a few more handy German phrases, that will surely make her blush:

German compliments for a man

Women are not the only ones who can appreciate a thoughtful compliment, men can enjoy them too.

Compliments on the physique of men often refer to their strength and fitness.

In such cases, you could use the following German phrases:

Du bist / Ich finde dich (…)
You are / I find you (…)

Of course, your recognition beyond superficial attributes will stroke any man’s ego. You could compliment him on some of his personality traits by using following German adjectives:

Note that most adjectives pertaining to someone’s character or personality are actually gender-neutral and could be used for a woman as well.

Here are some more German phrases which can be used to compliment a man:

Unusual German compliments

There are certain idioms used as compliments that simply do not have an equivalent in other languages. Here are a few examples of these in the German language:

How to compliment a friend in German

It feels wonderful to receive a compliment. It is one of the easiest ways to spread happiness, and a romantic intention is not required. Just be sure you are sincere or you might come off as trying too hard.

Here are a few examples you could use to show your appreciation for a friend:

The use of the formulation «du bist» (“you are”) rather than «Ich finde dich» (“I find you”), produces a more neutral and appropriate tone for a compliment without underlying romantic intentions. The result is a sentence that is less flattery and more of a factual statement.

Some examples of descriptive adjectives to use in a German compliment for a friend are:

Du bist (…)You are (…)

Another way of complimenting a friend would be in the description of either his or her fashion.

Ich mag I like…

Complimenting someone doesn’t always have to pertain to their appearance or character. For instance, should you ever get invited into a friend’s home, you could praise them using the following German phrases:

How to compliment a couple in German

Are your friends a couple? Here are a few examples of phrases which can be used to compliment a couple in German:

German compliments at work

While feedback on performance in the workplace generally takes the form of written evaluations, the occasional spoken words of encouragement and praise can help maintain a high level of motivation in the team.

Remark: The German language has both an informal “you” pronoun which is “du”, as well as a formal “you” pronoun which is “Sie” (it is capitalized). German verbs are conjugated differently depending on the pronoun.

The examples below use the informal pronoun, but in a more formal setting, particularly with people we don’t know well, it is appropriate to use formal pronouns.

If you are working in Germany or with a German client, you might hear following compliments:

Du bist sehr – you are very…

Germans can be somewhat parsimonious in giving out acknowledgment for a job well done – after all, it is understood that a task should be completed according to the assignment.

Culturally, Germans are known to be straightforward and words are weighed accordingly. Constructive criticism is meant to be honest and truthful feedback.

As such, silence can sometimes mean the biggest praise.

How to respond to a compliment in German

In addition to being able to give appropriate compliments in various situations, it is important to know how to receive them gracefully as well.

The most common and gracious way to accept a compliment is simply to thank the person in front of you.

But what if you are not quite sure if the person means it? Here are ways to respond quite casually:

You may find yourself in a more formal situation and as such, here are multiple ways to respond to a compliment in German:


Complimenting someone in a new language isn’t always easy, as many phrases are deeply rooted in culture. Conveying genuine emotions as a non-native speaker can be daunting. But don’t let it discourage you. Everyone appreciates a friendly, intentional, and well-meaning compliment.

There are also terms of endearment used among people who are close. The following guide covers German terms of endearment and affection.

Now that you have learned the basics of German compliments and how to receive them graciously, why not include one the next time you write an email in German?