A few polite phrases in Danish
Danes are very direct when they speak and can come across as aggressive and not very polite to newcomers. Here are 12 ways you can make your Danish more polite.
Tak for mad - Thank you for food
After finishing a meal, a Dane will always say 'Tak for mad' (Thank you for food).
Velbekomme - may it become you well
The host / hostess will answer by saying 'Velbekomme' (may it become you). Velbekomme can also be used as an invitation to dig in.
Undskyld - I'm sorry
'Undskyld' is the Danish equivalent to 'I'm sorry' or 'Please excuse me'.
Værsågod - Here you are
'Værsågod' or 'værsgo' actually means 'be so kind [to accept this]' and Danes use it to say 'help yourself' or when offering you something.
Må jeg bede om - may I please have
'Må jeg bede om' can be directly translated to 'May I pray for' It is a polite way to ask for something.
Vær så venlig / vær sød at - be so kind
'Vær så venlig at' means 'be so kind to' and is used to ask someone to do something for you. 'Vær sød at' means 'be sweet to' and is used more nowadays.
Det var så lidt / selv tak - You are welcome
'Det var så lidt' actually means 'it was so little' and we use it as an answer when someone thanks you. 'Selv tak' translates to 'thank you to you too'.
Tak i lige måde - thank you, the same to you
If someone wishes you a merry Christmas, a great day or something similar, the polite thing to say is 'tak i lige måde'.
...Tak - thanks
You can finish a request politely with a 'tak', which is the closest Danish comes to a please.
De / Dem
'De' and 'Dem' are the polite way to say 'you' in Danish. Today, the words are rarely used, but when speaking to elderly people or if you should meet royalty, they are good to know.
'Prosit' is Latin and means 'may it benefit you'. Danes say prosit when someones sneezes.
'Goddag' is a very polite greeting. Use it when you meet someone important for the first time. For example, your mother-in-law or someone at a job interview. The formal response is to repeat the phrase.
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