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Building Fluency: German Honesty & Why You Should Never Ask "How Are You?"

Updated: Feb 7

This post will help you to build your spoken fluency on the topic of German Honesty & Why You Should Never Ask "How Are You?".

Germans are often stereotyped as direct and honest - some might say, perhaps a bit too honest! In this post we will watch a video from the DW Euromaxx where they look into this topic in more detail, imagining just what might happen when a German is asked "how are you" and how they might respond to wanting to complain about some food in a restaurant or chase up a work colleague who they are waiting for... before watching the video, have a look at some of the key vocabulary and then after watching the video, think about how you would respond to the questions put with it!

Firstly, here is some useful vocabulary: Any new vocabulary can be learnt most effectively using Anki flashcards.



A virtue.





to be honest.

to come across as honest.

to complain about something.

to tell the truth.

to help somebody to improve.


to cheer somebody up.

to avoid hurting somebody.

to be cheated on.

Lies soon catch up with you. 

Honesty is the best policy.

Eine Tugend.





ehrlich sein.

als ehrlich rüberkommen.

sich über etwas beschweren.

die Wahrheit sagen.

Jemandem helfen, sich zu verbessern.


jemanden aufzumuntern.

um jemanden nicht zu verletzen.

um betrogen zu werden.

Lügen haben kurze Beine.

Ehrlich währt am längsten.

Now, let's watch the video:

Now think about the following questions:

  1. How accurate do you think the video is? are the stereotypes fair?

  2. How would you have reacted in the situation with the waitress in the restaurant? would you have said something yourself?

  3. How would you have worded the email to the work colleague?

  4. Is honesty always something that should be seen as a good thing? When is it a good idea to be dishonest?

Fluency building lessons: The main focus of fluency building lessons is to use natural conversation to give you the opportunity to really develop your speaking skills, identify missing vocabulary, correct grammatical and pronunciation errors and actively learn the skills that will bring your English forwards. By basing the lessons on different source materials we are able to have a clear structure to the contents of the lesson as well as giving you some excellent exposure to good English to learn from as preparation for the lesson.

If you'd like to know more, or want to book a free trail meeting with myself, then send an email to to get the conversation started!

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