Why There Is no “Viele Danke” in German

The difference in German between the expressions danke and vielen Dank always causes trouble. In this post I am going to explain why they are written differently.

1. Danke (thanks, thank you)

This word actually is a verb. This is the reason why it is written with a small initial letter. It is the first person singular (“I”) of the verb danken (to thank).

Thus, it works the same as the corresponding English expression:

  • (I) thank you.
  • (Ich) danke (dir/Ihnen). 

We usually drop the first personal pronoun (ich). The use of the second pronoun is optional: you can add dir when talking to family and friends, and Ihnen for unknown people.

Notice: This verb takes dative case!

Other possible combinations:

  1. (Ich) danke schön (für die Hilfe). Thank you very much (for your help).
  2. (Ich) danke (dir/Ihnen) (so) sehr (für die Hilfe). Thank you (so) (very) much (for your help).
  3. (Ich) danke (dir/Ihnen) vielmals (für die Hilfe). Thank you very much (for your help).
  4. Ich möchte dir/Ihnen (für die Hilfe) danken. I’d like to thank you (for the help).
  5. Ich habe dir/Ihnen (für die Hilfe) gedankt. I have thanked you (for the help).

Notice also:

  1. The word (das) Dankeschön is a noun and means “(the) thankyou”.
  2. The expression “to say thank you” is in German danke sagen.

2. Vielen Dank (thank you very much/a lot, many thanks)

The core of this expression is a noun: (der) Dank. It has no plural. In order to say “many (thanks)”, we add the adjective viel declined in accusative (masculine). This accusative is the same one used in guten Morgen/Tag/Abend because we always wish or say these expressions (wünschen/sagen take accusative).

Other possible combinations:

  1. Schönen Dank. Many thanks/thank you very much.
  2. (Ich sage Ihnen) besten Dank. (I say) many thanks/thank you very much. (more formal)
  3. Herzlichen Dank. [same as 2.]
  4. Tausend Dank. A thousand thanks.

Vielen Dank fürs Lesen! Thank you very much for reading (this)! 😉