German language

Business Correspondence in German

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Vocabulary and syntax
Form and style
The rules of modern German correspondence


Book a course :

Send me an email:

- Why do you want to do a course in business correspondence?

- What is your current level of German

I will give you a price quote

We will make an appointment for our first meeting




Aims and content of the course



In our course, we practice writing : using examples

  • from correspondence with external partners such as banks, suppliers and customers – requests, offers, invoices, reminders
  • from internal company correspondence



Who is the course in business correspondence aimed at

  • The course is mainly aimed at participants with a good knowledge of German who want to achieve more confidence in their correspondence.
  • However: Even beginners or participants with an intermediate level can reduce their risk of mistakes and convince their correspondence partners with a serious, clear style.
  • Total beginners learn to understand emails from Germany and take the first steps to write their replies.



The rules of German correspondence


At the centre of our course is the "Hamburger Verständlichkeitskonzept" (concept of comprehensibility).
This concept describes modern German business correspondence: it should be polite, clear and efficient - free from filler words and old-fashioned phrases.


The Hamburg Concept of Comprehensibility


#There is no situation
in which it makes sense to express oneself
in a more complicated way than necessary.


The Hamburger Verständlichkeitskonzept is a model that helps us to write business letters that are simple and easy to understand.


Try it out: Write only what you really want to say, without filler words and reduced to the essentials. You will see that the result is clear and convincing ... and professional!


#Important: You must know what you want to say.
Do the countercheck: If your sentences are complicated - Could it be that your thoughts are disordered?
In that case: put your thoughts in order first !


Is that polite?

Yes. Imagine you receive an email and immediately understand what the sender wants from you. That makes your work easier.
Isn't it polite of your correspondence partner to try to be clear when writing?


#Don't worry:
the Hamburg Concept of Comprehensibility is not a rule, but a kind of orientation guide. The "old" correspondence style still exists - it is not forbidden to use it!
By the way: native speakers often mix the old and the new form. That is why business letters from Germany sometimes look more complicated than their content ultimately is.


It is worth taking a closer look at the „Hamburger Verständlichkeitskonzept“.



Business correspondence: tips, examples and links



Sehr geehrter Herr Müller, Sehr geehrte Frau Müller
less formal:

Hallo Herr Müller, Hallo Frau Müller

Hallo Peter, Hallo Susie

also ok:
Guten Tag Herr Müller, Guten Tag Frau Müller
a bit dated:
„Lieber Peter“
„Sehr geehrter Peter“

The first sentence

  • After the salutation, start with a lowercase letter.
  • I hope you are doing well - "Ich hoffe, dass es Ihnen gut geht" is not common in German.

why should someone be annoyed
that the other person asks how he or she is?

  • In German, you just say directly what you want.



Write what you want to communicate

  • First ask yourself: What do I want from my correspondence partner?
  • I have a question: I formulate exactly this question.
  • I want to ask the other person to do something: I write a request that is polite and correct by the word "bitte". The other person understands exactly what to do.
  • Address the recipient directly - avoid the passive or impersonal general phrases.
  • Does my correspondent know me or is this our first contact? In the second case, you already have a good introduction: you introduce yourself - or your company - in the first sentence.
  • If you write a reply, thank the sender for the letter you received:
    « vielen Dank für Ihre Email/ für die Dokumente/ …“
  • Avoid filler words and polite relativization when talking about "hard" facts. You need to distinguish: what are polite supplements with practically no content, and what are concrete conditions or requirements (the latter do not become nicer through « evasive » formulations).
  • Take time to get your thoughts to the point so that the recipient does not have to read your email three times. Repetition of content is confusing!
  • In emails there are often typos – better to correct them.
  • Does "asap" help? Not really. If you want or need to set a clear deadline, communicate it the same way - with a date. "Asap" is relative. After all, everyone works as fast as they can. Or do you know someone who says: "Hm, I could work faster, but ..."?


The structure

An important aspect is: clear structure. Your structure can reduce the risk of errors. If you put your sentences in a logical order, you can - often - avoid complicated subordinate clauses. This is especially interesting for people who are not yet perfect in German.

#Your recipient does NOT think:
„Oh, there are no complicated sentence constructions:
this email is boring!“


The closing

Standard is „Mit freundlichen Grüßen“


More info:
Duden: Briefe, Emails und Kurznachrichten gut und richtig schreiben
ISBN: 9783411743049









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German Intensive Course
German Private Lessons
German A1 – C2 : Certificats and Exams
Learn German in your Company
Learn Business German
Business Correspondence in German
Technical German
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Is German Difficult ?
Should I learn German or Luxembourgish?
How to win a prize for your excellent German !
The German language and the history of Luxembourg