How To Use And Pronounce Ich Liebe Dich To Share Your Love
September 12, 2022
Ich liebe dich is the most common way to express love in German. Ich liebe dich in English is literally “I love you.” We can use ich liebe dich with anyone we love.
To correctly pronounce ich liebe dich, we use several sounds, including the soft pronunciation of the German CH. This CH sound does not exist in English, but you can learn to make it with practice.
The phrase sounds like this:
Ich liebe dich
|I love you|
1. When can I use ich liebe dich?
Ich liebe dich is the most common way to say I love you in German. We can use ich liebe dich with anyone we love. The phrase can be used to express all kinds of love in any type of relationship.
2. How do I pronounce I love you in German?
Since you want to sound your best when sharing your love, you may be wondering about ich liebe dich pronunciation. Let’s break the pronunciation down. You’ll soon be professing your love like a native German speaker.
- Short I: In ich and dich, the I is a short German I, which is like the I in the English word “in.”
- Soft CH: For both ich and dich, we pronounce the CH as the soft ich sound. This is the softer of the two CH pronunciations. This sound does not exist in English. The soft ich pronunciation is like the sound of a hissing cat or like whispering a giggle.
- IE combination: The German IE is pronounced like the letter E in the English alphabet. There is a helpful tip to remember this – When I and E go walking, the last one does the talking. In the word liebe, E is the last letter in the IE combination, so the E does the talking.
- Final E: At the end of words, E is a short German E. But it actually makes a slightly different sound compared to short E’s elsewhere in a word. At the END of a word, the short E is actually more like the A in the English word adorable. And it is an unstressed sound.
3. What are the parts of the ich liebe dich phrase?
The ich liebe dich phrase is a commonly used construct consisting of subject, verb, and direct object. The translation is direct. Ich liebe dich in English is literally “I love you.”
- ich: This is the subject pronoun meaning I.
- liebe: In German, we change the ending of verbs for different subjects. For regular verbs, the conjugation for ich ends in the letter E. Liebe is the ich conjugation of the infinitive verb, lieben, meaning to love.
- dich: This is one of the words Germans use for the word “you.”
4. Does it work to say ich liebe du?
You may be wondering whether we can also say “ich liebe du,” given that the word du also means you. This does not work. We cannot say “ich liebe du”.
In German, we use a different form of the word “you,” depending on the role that the word “you” plays in the sentence. When the word “you” functions as a direct object, as in the phrase “I love you,” we use the word dich for “you.” Whom do I love? I love YOU. Therefore, we use the direct object dich when saying “I love you.”
We will use the word du when “you” functions as a subject. For instance – You love me, or Du liebst mich. But when saying “I love you” in German, we must use the word dich.
5. How can I respond to ich liebe dich?
Just like in English, when you are told “I love you,” you can respond back with “Ich liebe dich auch,” in English “I love you too.”
Ich liebe dich auch
|I love you too|
To say “also,” we add the word auch. In the word auch, the CH is pronounced differently than in the words ich or dich.
In the word auch, the CH follows the vowel combination AU, so we use the guttural pronunciation for CH. This is the more harsh sounding of the two CH pronunciations.
The guttural CH sound does not exist in English. The sound is like you have something stuck in your throat and are trying to cough it up. You can learn to make this sound with practice.
6. What other phrases can I build with ich liebe dich?
By adding on to the base phrase ich liebe dich, we can convey even more feelings, including intensity of our feelings or even negating the expression.
Ich liebe dich mehr
|I love you more|
Ich liebe dich so sehr
|I love you so/very much|
Ich liebe dich, meine Liebe
|I love you, my love|
Ich liebe dich, mein Freund
|I love you, my friend|
Ich liebe dich nicht
|I do not love you|
7. What are other ways to express love (and like) in German?
While ich liebe dich is the most common way to say I love you, there are additional phrases we can use to express love (and like) in German.
Ich hab dich lieb
- Diminutive of “I love you”
- Most often used between parents and children or with close friends
- Used with someone romantically when you are aren’t quite ready to say “I love you”
- Can be shorted to just “Hab dich lieb”
Ich hab dich ganz doll lieb
- Same as the phrase above, but with “very much” added
- Can be shorted to just “Hab dich ganz doll lieb”
- Most slang version; just “Love!”
- Good to use with anyone you love
Ich mag dich
- Used for “I like you”
- Can be romantic or platonic, depending on the context
- Lowest on the scale in terms of emotional ranking
8. How can I practice ich liebe dich and other romantic phrases?
If you want some practice before proclaiming your love for real, you can practice using “ich liebe dich” and other romantic phrases with Feli from Germany in the Kleo app.
You can also refine all the sounds you'll need in the interactive video Pronunciation Series in Kleo. You can receive feedback on your pronunciation and keep trying until you get it just right.
With what we’ve covered here and these practice tools, you’ll be ready to rock it when the moment is right!