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Standing in Line

We all hate it, but it's simply a part of life: Waiting in line. 

In German, the verb for "to wait" is, of course, warten:


Wenn die denkt, ich warte hier noch lange, dann hat sie sich aber getäuscht.

If she thinks I'm going to wait here a long time, then she's wrong.

Caption 18, Weihnachtsmann gesucht: Bist du verliebt?

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But when we talk about waiting in line, there are a few other applicable phrases. The first one is (für etwas) anstehen, or "to stand in line (for something)."


Beim Trampolin gibt es eine ganz schön lange Schlange zum Anstehen.

At the trampoline there is quite a long line that you have to stand in.

Caption 16, Das Fest: Open-Air in Karlsruhe

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As you can see, the word for "line" or "queue" in this sense is die Schlange, which is also the word for "snake" in German. You will also hear die Warteschlange.


Und wie ihr sehen könnt, ist dort schon eine Schlange.

And as you can see, there is already a line there.

Caption 18, Eva zeigt uns: Currywurst

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The expression Schlange stehen also means "to stand in line" or "to queue."


Die stehen richtig Schlange. Was für ein Gedränge!

They are really standing in line. What a crowd!

Caption 41, Abenteuer Nordsee: Unter Riesenhaien und Tintenfischen

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If you are ever trying to get in line and are uncertain about whether someone is waiting or not, you can politely ask Stehen Sie an? or Stehen Sie in der Schlange? Hopefully, it won't be long before you hear one of these magical phrases:


Äh, der Nächste, bitte. 

Uh, next, please. 

Caption 37, Mensch Markus: Der Lottogewinner

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Und was darf's sein?

And what would you like?

Caption 48, Großstadtrevier: St. Pauli rettet HSV

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Los, jetzt bist du dran.

Go ahead, now it's your turn.

Caption 45, Die Pfefferkörner: Alles auf Anfang

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Was hättest du denn gern?

So what would you like?

Caption 5, Nicos Weg: Ich bin neu hier

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You may also hear Bekommen Sie schon?, which is a bit like "Have you already been helped/served?" or just a simple Bitteschön! 


Further Learning
Visualize yourself trying to get in line at a bank, bakery, or doctor's office. How would you ask where the line begins, who is waiting, and who is already being helped? You can also go on German Yabla and see the ways the phrases are being used by native German speakers.

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