I am In German (Ich Bin Is Powerful And You Can Use It Now)

November 4, 2022

German teacher smiling kindly next to words "ich bin", meaning "I am" in German.

To say I am in German, use “ich bin.” You can pair ich bin with many words and phrases, in order to share all types of information about yourself. “Ich bin” is one of the best ways for a new German learner to cover lots of ground - fast.

Let’s see how to use this powerful phrase now. The phrase sounds like this:

German English

ich bin

I am
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1. Where does ich bin come from?

Ich bin, or I am, comes from the verb sein, meaning to be. Ich bin is the first-person singular conjugation of sein.

Ich means I. The verb sein is irregular, meaning its conjugations do not follow the standard patterns and must be committed to memory over time.

The verb sein is the top-used verb in German

2. What introductory details can I share using ich bin?

Just like in English, German has several ways to share the basics about yourself, such as your name and where you are from. Using “ich bin” is one of the simplest ways to share these important introductory details.

Use ich bin in these foundational ways:

German English

Ich bin + Name

I am + Name

Ich bin aus + Place

I am from + Region/Country
Woman introducing herself to a couple, shaking hands with the man.

3. How can I describe myself using ich bin?

The construct “I am/ich bin” in German works similarly to “I am” in English. Unlike with “I am” in Spanish, using “I am” in German does not require us to consider temporary versus permanent characteristics or the gender of the subject.

Start with ich bin, tack on an adjective, and you are good to go. The “ich bin + adjective” construct works for all types of characteristics and for speakers of any gender.

Here are some common characteristics you can share using ich bin:

Example In Context
German English German English



Ich bin bereit

I am ready



Ich bin klug

I am smart



Ich bin glücklich

I am happy



Ich bin traurig

I am sad



Ich bin groß

I am tall



Ich bin müde

I am tired



Ich bin krank

I am sick

Here’s a PRO TIP. If you want to negate statements like these, simply add “nicht”, meaning "not," in front of the adjective.

Take a look at the negation of the characteristics we’ve just shared:

German English

Ich bin nicht bereit

I am not ready

Ich bin nicht klug

I am not smart

Ich bin nicht glücklich

I am not happy

Ich bin nicht traurig

I am not sad

Ich bin nicht groß

I am not tall

Ich bin nicht müde

I am not tired

Ich bin nicht krank

I am not sick

4. What’s another easy way to leverage ich bin?

Two woman outside coffee shop gesturing to friend through the window.

Another straightforward way to use ich bin is to add on an adverb of place to describe your current location. For example, you can tell someone – I am here, or ich bin hier.

Take a look at these locations that are easy to share using ich bin:

Example In Context
German English German English



Ich bin hier

I am here



Ich bin drinnen

I am inside



Ich bin draußen

I am outside

5. How do I pronounce ich bin?

The word ich is one of the most frequently used words in German. Ich is also one of the most mispronounced words by German learners. Here's what you need to know to conquer the pronunciation of ich bin:

Woman pretending to hiss like a cat and whisper a giggle, showing practice tips for the soft pronunciation of German CH, which is present in the word ich.
  • Soft CH: In the word ich, 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.
  • Short I: In ich and bin, the I is a short German I, which is pronounced like the I in the English word “in.”
  • Letters B and N: In the word bin, we pronounce the consonants just as we do in English. The German B is like the B in the English word "banana," which is always the case when B starts a word. The German N is always like the N in the English word "no."

6. How can I share a role using ich bin?

Another valuable usage of ich bin is to share what you do. This construct works differently than in English in two key ways:

  • In German, the word for a given role is often different for a male versus a female. You see this in English with some professions like waiter and waitress. In German, this concept is much more prevalent. In many cases, to form the female role, Germans add the letters “I-N.” For example, to say university student, Germans use “Student” for a male and “Studentin” for a female.
  • When sharing a role in German, there is no need to include the word for “a” or “an,” as in “I am a student.” You can just say ich bin Student or ich bin Studentin.

Take a look at some example professions and roles:

Example In Context
German English German English


university student (M)

Ich bin Student

I am a student (M)


university student (F)

Ich bin Studentin

I am a student (F)


doctor (M)

Ich bin Arzt

I am a doctor (M)


doctor (F)

Ich bin Ärztin

I am a doctor (F)


police officer (M)

Ich bin Polizist

I am a police officer (M)


police officer (F)

Ich bin Polizistin

I am a police officer (F)


athlete (M)

Ich bin Sportler

I am an athlete (M)


athlete (F)

Ich bin Sportlerin

I am an athlete (F)


tourist (M)

Ich bin Tourist

I am a tourist (M)


tourist (F)

Ich bin Touristin

I am a tourist (F)
Female tourist in a German city.

In addition to what you do, you can use ich bin to share other roles, such as your role in the family or your nationality.

7. How can I practice using ich bin?

Ich bin is a poweful phrase that can enable you to share lots of great information about yourself. Here's some great ways to grow comfortable with using this phrase:

  1. Challenge yourself to use ich bin as much as you can: The next time you run into someone, use “ich bin” to share your name. Also share what region or country you’re from using “ich bin aus.”
  2. Listen actively: You will hear “ich bin” used in conversation all the time. Keep track of the various types of information you hear conveyed using this valuable construct. Pick a few new options to practice each day.
  3. Practice ich bin in context: You’ve probably been told that the best way to develop muscle memory for a new concept is to use the concept as it’s needed in real-life situations. It can be challenging to get this type of practice, especially if you aren’t surrounded by German friends. Fortunately, Kleo’s top interactive lesson features “ich bin.” You can practice using ich bin while meeting new friends, including YouTube star Feli from Germany. Practice as much as you want to make it stick.
  4. Refine your pronunciation of ich: As you grow more confident in your pronunciation, you will start to feel more natural and comfortable when you speak. You’re probably sick of practicing German sounds by yourself - in the car or in the shower. Instead, you can pop over to Kleo and practice all your favorite sounds in Kleo’s interactive pronunciation lessons. Feli from Germany even hosts a lesson sharing her best pronunciation tips for the soft CH sound in ich. You can practice pronouncing ich and other soft CH words “face-to-face” with Feli, receiving instant feedback to improve.

8. What are the other conjugations of sein?

Now that you've seen how to use "ich bin" to share lots of valuable information, you can extend these same constructs to talk about other subjects.

The verb sein is just as irregular as it is frequently used. The sein conjugations look like this:

German English

ich bin

I am

du bist

you are (informal)

er ist

he is

sie ist

she is

es ist

it is

wir sind

we are

ihr seid

you all are

sie sind

they are

Sie sind

you are (formal)

To use the various conjugations, simply remove ich bin from any of the phrases we tried above. Replace ich bin with whatever conjugation you need. When sharing a role only – remember to keep the subject’s gender in mind.