My special problem

How To Say “I Love You” In German

Radosław Brzozo - Fotolia.com
Radosław Brzozo – Fotolia.com

A look, a smile – and it simply happens. You’ve fallen in love. But the beloved understands only German. How can you say that you are in love?

German culture – May I Say That I Love?

In Germany, it is socially acceptable to talk about love. You can confess your feelings to the person you love. But if you don’t know each other well you should choose the time and place for your confession carefully.

It is acceptable for many people in Germany, when a man loves a man or a woman loves a woman. But keep in mind that not everybody is open-minded about matters of love.

The Fine Difference: “Mögen” And “Lieben”

The German language makes a distinction between “mögen” and “lieben”.

“Mögen” is for people as well as animals, sports, cars, your work and music. “Mögen” is very general.


Ich mag dich.

Ich mag Fußball.

Ich mag klassische Musik.

When you say “Ich mag Sabine”, you mean that you think she is nice. You would maybe be friends with her, but you wouldn’t think of marriage.

“Lieben” is very special. You can say “Ich liebe Fußball”, but German speakers usually use the verb “mögen”in such cases .

“Love” is for people who are very important to you: your parents, your children or your partner.

Both verbs, “mögen” and “lieben”, have an accusative object.


Ich liebe dich.

Ich liebe Maria.

Ich liebe Hans.

Ich liebe meine Mutter.

Maybe you are “in love” or rather “verliebt”. If you’ve just met someone, you don’t usually love at once. Your feelings are still new and may change quickly.

“Verliebt” is often followed by “in + accusative”.


Ich habe mich verliebt.

Ich bin verliebt.

Ich habe mich in Maria verliebt.

Ich bin in Maria verliebt.

Ich habe mich in dich verliebt.

Ich bin in dich verliebt.

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