How to start, write & sign off an email in German: A nifty guide

Matters of the heart should be addressed in person or with an eloquent letter - but when it comes to bureaucracy, business and everything else you just want to get out of the way, write an email. Life is short!

Our time is limited and therefore valuable. If you learn how to write quick, efficient emails, you’re gonna make everyone’s life easier, especially your own!

Writing efficient emails can be an art in and of itself though, and if you’re writing an email to German-speaking colleagues or friends, that will take the challenge to the next level. So we’ll make it as easy as possible, by not just telling you how to write an email in German hypothetically.

We’ll teach you about German business email etiquette, with different examples for each category, including all the most common German business email phrases.

How to write an email in German

Writing an email in German is not just about translating your message. It’s about understanding slight cultural differences including German email greetings and German email etiquette. Here are some key differences:

Woman showing her friend how to write an email in German.

  • Layout: The first thing you’ll notice is that in German, you don’t capitalize the first word after the greeting unless it’s a noun or your greeting ends with a period or an exclamation mark but often it’s “ich” (I), so it won’t be capitalized
  • Tone: Unlike the generally casual tone of English emails, German correspondence, especially in a professional context, leans towards formality. That often means less abbreviations, slang words and emojis if you don’t know the recipient
  • Etiquette: Punctuality is valued in German culture, even when it comes to emails, so always respond in a timely manner
  • What's included: A formal German email usually includes a polite greeting, concise main body, sign-off, and a signature that includes your name, position, and contact details

Note that some formal businesses, including banks and universities, require formal letters for certain requests. If you have to write a letter, check out our guide on letter writing in German!

German email etiquette tips

Here are some key tips for German email writing:

  • Remember German email addresses often end in ”.de”, not “.com”
  • If you know the recipient has a doctorate, professorship or some other title, make sure to acknowledge it in your salutation (“Sehr geehrte Frau Doktor Schmidt")
  • Respect the hierarchy and address the most senior person first if you're writing to multiple people
  • Don’t capitalize after a comma (Lieber Henrik, es hat mich gefreut, dich kennenzulernen.)
  • Be consistent in addressing the other person as “du” or “Sie
  • Proofread carefully in order to avoid typos and errors
  • Germans generally appreciate directness, so be succinct and get straight to the point while staying polite

Key email writing vocabulary and phrases to keep in mind

EmailDie Email
Subject lineDie Betreffzeile
Email signatureDie E-Mail-Signatur
InboxDer Posteingang
OutboxDer Postausgang
TrashDer Papierkorb
JunkDer Junk
SpamDer Spam
ArchiveDas Archiv
Send and receiveSenden und Empfangen
Reply allAllen antworten
New emailNeue Email
To composeVerfassen
To deliverÜbermitteln
AttachmentDer Anhang
LinkDer Link
RecipientDer Empfänger
SenderDer Absender
Message BodyDer Nachrichtentext
Read, unreadGelesen, ungelesen
Out of Office ReplyDie Abwesenheitsnotiz
Address BookDas Adressbuch
TemplateDas Template, die Vorlage

Formatting a formal or business email in German

Sticking to the traditional format will help you make a professional first impression, and get your message across.

Mother formatting a formal or business email in German whilst looking after her baby.

  • Start with a formal salutation like “Sehr geehrte(r)”, introduce yourself if necessary, state the purpose of your email clearly in the main body, and conclude with a friendly closing remark like “Mit freundlichen Grüßen” and your signature
  • Formal emails should be concise and to-the-point, generally not exceeding a few short paragraphs
  • For formal emails, it's typical to include any relevant reference numbers such as job ad numbers, bill numbers, etc. to make sure the recipient understands the context
  • Include full contact details like your name, position, and organization at the end of the email to let the other person know exactly who you are and how to reach you
  • It's important to use a professional email address that ideally includes your first and last name to reinforce the seriousness of your intentions. After all, it’s hard to take a business contact seriously if they go by!

How to write a formal or business email in German

Formal German emails are polite, respectful and succinct. Remember, in a formal setting, it's better to err on the side of being too formal than not formal enough, especially if you’re emailing complete strangers like the bank clerk or a potential business partner.

Man reading a list of German email etiquette tips.

Email subject lines in German

In the world of email communication, the subject line is your first impression - the virtual equivalent of a handshake. It sets the tone for the rest of your email and can be the deciding factor for your email’s success.

Here are a few guidelines for writing a compelling formal subject line:

  • Keep it short: Try to limit your subject line to 50 characters or less so the subject is fully visible in most email clients
  • Be specific: Your subject line should give the recipient a clear idea of what your email will be about
  • Don't leave it blank: A blank subject line can lead to your email being overlooked or ending up in the spam folder
  • Be eloquent: Try to include some German business lingo if you want to impress the recipient
  • Avoid all caps, exclamation marks, and overly dramatic language: For some people that just looks like you’re yelling at them

Email greetings in German

Using the right greeting in your email is crucial as it sets the tone for the entire message and shows respect towards the recipient. Remember if you’re addressing the other person as “du” (informal) or “Sie” (formal). We tend to go with the more formal version for business greetings in Germany if we don’t know the other person well.

Dear Sir / MadamSehr geehrte Dame /sehr geehrter Herr
To whom it may concernAn alle, die es betrifft
Dear (familiar)Liebe/r
Dear teamLiebes Team
Dear allAn alle
HiHi, na
Good morningGuten Morgen
Good dayGuten Tag
Good eveningGuten Abend

How to start an email in German

A friendly opening with a bit of small talk can break the ice. Learn how to talk about the weather or just ask the other person how they’re doing. Here’s how to start an email in German:

I hope you’re doing wellIch hoffe, es geht Ihnen/dir gut
I hope this email finds you in good healthIch hoffe, diese E-Mail findet Sie/dich in guter Verfassung
It was nice meeting you last week (formal)Es war schön, Sie letzte Woche zu treffen
Hope you had a nice weekend!Ich hoffe, du hattest ein schönes Wochenende!
Thank you for your prompt replyVielen Dank für Ihre schnelle Antwort
I am writing to you about...Ich schreibe bezüglich...
Referring to our conversation yesterday...Bezüglich unseres gestrigen Gesprächs...
It was nice hearing from youEs war schön, von dir zu hören

How to end and sign off a formal email in German

With kind regardsMit freundlichen Grüßen
Friendly regardsFreundliche Grüße
Yours faithfullyHochachtungsvoll
Best regardsMit besten Grüßen
Warm regardsMit herzlichen Grüßen
Many thanks in advanceVielen Dank im Voraus
I look forward to your replyIch freue mich auf eine Rückmeldung
Bis baldSee you soon

Email signatures in German

For an email signature in German, you want to include key contact details like your full name, title, organization, phone number, and professional email address, so the recipient has multiple ways of contacting you.

The layout should be simple and neat, with each piece of information on a new line, for example:

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Mira Fiedler,
Futuristik Technologien GmbH

Telefon: +49 30 12345678
Adresse: Hummelstr. 10, 10115 Berlin, Deutschland

Examples of business emails in German

If you need to write a specific email, we have a few general examples to guide you and learn from:

Business woman writing an email in German.

Example of a thank you email in German

Betreff: Ein herzliches Dankeschön

Sehr geehrter Herr Schramm,

ich hoffe, diese Nachricht findet Sie gut gelaunt und bei bester Gesundheit. Ich möchte die Gelegenheit nutzen, Ihnen für Ihre herausragende Arbeit an unserem letzten Projekt zu danken. Ihr Talent und Ihr unermüdlicher Einsatz haben neue Standards in unserer Branche gesetzt.

Wir freuen uns schon darauf, bei künftigen Projekten erneut mit Ihnen zusammenzuarbeiten!

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Amelie Schreiber


Subject: A heartfelt thank you

Dear Mr. Schramm,

I hope this message finds you in good spirits and excellent health. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for your exceptional work on our last project. Your talent and tireless dedication have set new standards in our industry.

We look forward to working with you again on future projects.

Best regards,

Amelie Schreiber

Example of a request email in German

Betreff: Sei unser Held der Woche

Lieber Tim,

ich hoffe, dass es dir gut geht und du einen guten Start in deine erste Praktikumswoche hattest! Wie du sicher schon bemerkt hast, schwindet der Kaffeevorrat in unserem Büro schneller als ein Eiswürfel in der Sahara schmelzen kann.

Als leidenschaftliche Kaffeeliebhaber ist es unsere gemeinsame Aufgabe, diese Kaffeekrise abzuwenden, und wir brauchen dazu Ihre Hilfe.

Kannst du bei deinem nächsten Einkauf eine Tüte Kaffeebohnen mitbringen?

Tausend Dank im Voraus!

Anna aus dem Marketing


Subject: Be our hero of the week

Dear Tim,

I hope you are doing great and are off to a good start in the first week of your internship! As I'm sure you've noticed, the coffee supply in our office is dwindling faster than an ice cube can melt in the Sahara Desert.

As passionate coffee lovers, our collective mission is to avert this coffee crisis, and we need your help to do so.

Could you bring a bag of coffee beans with you on your next purchase?

A thousand thanks in advance!

Anna from marketing

Example of an introduction email in German

Betreff: Kurze Vorstellung

Hallo Team,

es ist mir eine Ehre, mich euch allen als neues Teammitglied vorstellen zu dürfen. Mein Name ist Mila Fromm, und ich werde von nun an die technische Abteilung leiten.

Ich bin bereit, meine Reise zu beginnen und freue mich darauf, euch alle kennenzulernen, während wir gemeinsam neue Galaxien der Produktivität und Innovation erobern. Bitte zögert nicht, mich auf ein virtuelles Treffen einzuladen oder einfach nur Hallo zu sagen!

Alles Gute,

Mila Fromm


Subject: Short introduction

Hello Team,

I am honored to introduce myself to you all as a new team member. My name is Mila Fromm, and I will be leading the technical department from now on.

I am ready to begin my journey and look forward to meeting all of you as we conquer new galaxies of productivity and innovation together. Please feel free to invite me to a virtual meeting or just to say hello!

All the best,

Mila Fromm

Example of a formal written suggestion email in German

Betreff: Vorschlag für unsere Mittwochs Meetings

Hallo Team,

Obwohl ich unsere wöchentlichen Mittwochstreffen sehr schätze, hatte ich eine Idee, um unser Engagement und eine offene Kommunikation noch weiter zu fördern.

Wie wäre es, wenn wir die ersten 10 Minuten unserer Sitzungen für einen kurzen Austausch reservieren würden, bei dem jeder zu Wort kommt und offenes Feedback zum Verlauf der Woche gibt? Das könnte eine erfrischende Gelegenheit sein, voneinander zu lernen.

Ich freue mich auf die Meinung aller zu meinem Vorschlag.

Bis dahin genießt das schöne Wetter!



Subject: Suggestion for our Wednesday meetings

Hello Team,

While I greatly value our weekly Wednesday meetings, I had an idea that could further boost engagement and foster open communication.

How about if we reserve the first 10 minutes of our meetings for a brief exchange where everyone gets a chance to speak and give open feedback on the progress of the week? This could be a refreshing opportunity to learn from each other.

I look forward to everyone’s thoughts on my suggestion

Until then, enjoy the nice weather!


Example of a formal sales email in German

Betreff: Exklusivangebot für Ihr Büromaterial

Sehr geehrte Frau Bergmann,

als langjähriger Partner von Büro Max möchten wir Ihnen ein exklusives Angebot machen: Für die nächsten zwei Wochen bieten wir Ihnen 20% Rabatt auf alle unsere Schreibwaren.

Wir sind überzeugt, dass diese hochwertigen Produkte die Effizienz Ihres Teams steigern werden. Bitte zögern Sie nicht, uns für weitere Informationen zu kontaktieren.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Stephanie Fischer



Subject: Exclusive Offer for Your Office Supplies

Dear Mrs. Bergmann,

As a long-time partner of Büro Max, we would like to make you an exclusive offer: for the next two weeks, we are offering you a 20% discount on all our stationery.

We are confident that these high-quality products will boost your team's efficiency. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information.

Best regards,

Stephanie Fischer

Sales Manager

Example of a referral email in German

Betreff: Empfehlungsschreiben für Tobias Schmied

Sehr geehrter Herr Wagner,

Wir haben Ihre Anfrage bezüglich unseres ehemaligen Mitarbeiter Herrn Schmied erhalten.

Ich kann Ihnen Herrn Schmied wärmstens empfehlen. Er war in unserer IT Abteilung tätig und hat dort hervorragende Arbeit geleistet. Ich bin überzeugt, dass er eine Bereicherung für Ihr Team sein wird.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Helena Meier



Subject: Recommendation for Tobias Schmied

Dear Mr. Wagner,

We have received your inquiry regarding our former employee Mr. Schmied.

I can highly recommend Mr. Schmied to you. He worked in our IT department and did an excellent job there. I am convinced that he will be an asset to your team.

Yours sincerely,

Helena Meier

Human Resources Department

Example of a promotional email in German

Betreff: Unser ultra-modernes EcoSmart-Telefon!

Liebe Interessenten,

Wir freuen uns, Ihnen mitteilen zu können, dass unser neuestes Produkt, das EcoSmart-Telefon, ab sofort verfügbar ist! Dank innovativer Solarenergie-Ladefunktion und 100% recyclebaren Materialen setzt es neue Maßstäbe in puncto Nachhaltigkeit und Technologie.

Wir bieten aktuell einen exklusiven Rabatt von 15% an. Seien Sie also schnell und sichern Sie sich das Angebot!

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,

Max Becker,



Subject: Our ultra-modern EcoSmart phone!

Dear prospective customers,

We are pleased to announce that our latest product, the EcoSmart phone, is now available! Thanks to its innovative solar energy charging function and 100% recyclable materials, it sets new standards in sustainability and technology.

We are currently offering an exclusive 15% discount. So be quick and secure the offer!

Sincerely yours,

Max Becker,

Sales Manager

One last challenge

Now you know how to write all kinds of emails in German, from a heartfelt thank you note to a witty sales email.

Hope the technical aspects of email writing are not a challenge for you, so you don’t end up like this German “Omi” who is slightly struggling to make the right clicks while trying to compose an email:

PC Experte schreibt E-Mail "jetzt ist schwarz"

PC Experte schreibt E-Mail "jetzt ist schwarz" (PC expert writing an email “now it’s black”)

And if you ever run out of things to say in your emails, check out our German language blog for more interesting and fun topics!

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