Difference between responding to "danke" with "bitte" versus "gerne"

  • I hear native German speakers respond to a danke with bitte as often as with gerne.

    Is there a semantic difference between the two of them? Or a usage rule behind the choice? Is one more polite than the other?

    I don't think that I really see any significant difference in using one over the other, but mgoni made a point. If I made something rather unwillingly, I'd never say "gerne" as I wasn't happy to do the favor; but I still might say "bitte". If I did the favor willingly (or happily), I'd go with both equally often — I guess.

    @Em1 It is better to note that if something done unwillingly, it can be also said that: **ungern**

    "Gerne" as an answer to "danke" is a newer phenomenon in spoken German. I would consider it as a colloquial sloppiness, and my native feel for language always gets a little bit offended when I hear it. ;-)

    Note that there are plenty of other (maybe regional) variants of how to answer *danke*, such as (mentioned in comments below) "nichts zu danken", "keine Ursache", "für nichts", "kein Problem", etc.

    Aventurin is right. I can't prove it, but in my opinion "gerne" is the outcome of modern marketing strategies intending to train employees to become more customer-friendly. In fact, very often people working at service hotlines close conversation by a "gerne" with a certain intonation and (fake?) enthusiasm. Also have a look at my answer to https://german.stackexchange.com/q/56404/34192 .

  • mgoni

    mgoni Correct answer

    4 years ago

    "Bitte" is the "standard" answer to "Danke".

    "Gerne" is short for "Gern geschehen!". According to the Duden, "gern" means

    mit freudiger Bereitwilligkeit, Vergnügen

    It therefore implies that the speaker was happy to help or do a favor ... and it all sounds more polite.

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM