Introductory words in German: why do we need them, which of them are the most popular and how to use such words correctly?

Sometimes we don’t even think about the fact that we use introductory words in German to put accents, to emphasize an idea, to express an emotion in a conversation or just to say something more stylish. In German, this linguistic element is also quite popular, and Germans are still fans of inserting various introductory phrases in their speech.

What is an introductory word and what does it mean?

In both German and English, introductory words (Schaltwörter) express the speaker’s attitude toward what is being communicated and are not part of a sentence.

Introductory words may not even be one word, but an entire phrase.

Introductory words are quite easy to use, and with their help the language becomes more emotionally colored, and thoughts become structured and understandable to the interlocutor.

As mentioned earlier, introductory words usually give information about the source of the message, connections to the context, and express an attitude and evaluation of the statement.
Let’s get to know them better and study the most frequently used ones in English and German:

  • Sozusagen – So to say
  • Offen gesagt – Frankly speaking
  • Ehrlich gesagt – To be honest
  • Es versteht sich von selbst – It goes without saying
  • Überhaupt – Generally
  • Auf jeden Fall – In any case
  • Außerdem – In addition
  • Möglicherweise – Maybe
  • Wahrscheinlich – Most likely
  • Übrigens – By the way
  • In der Tat – In fact
  • Tatsächlich – Indeed
  • Soweit ich weiß – As far as I know
  • Streng genommen- Strictly speaking
  • Natürlich – Of course
  • Zusammenfassend- Summing up
  • Wirklich – In reality
  • Selbstverständlich – Naturally, of course
  • Erstens – Firstly
  • Zweitens – Secondly
  • Drittens – Thirdly
  • Zum Beispiel – For example
  • Eigentlich – Actually
  • Leider – Unfortunately, sadly
  • Zusammenfassend – In summary
  • Meiner Meinung nach – In my opinion
  • Gott sei Dank – Thank God
  • Einerseits – On one hand
  • Andererseits – On the other hand

These short phrases will only beautify your speech, but knowing them will be useful in your everyday life!

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