30

This question also has an answer here (in German):
Wie kann man im Geschäft einem Verkäufer korrekt sagen, dass man sich zuerst nur umschauen möchte und noch keine Hilfe braucht?

When browsing a shop, it is common for a shop assistant to ask “can I help you?” or similar. In English, it is quite natural to say:

No thanks, I am just looking.

I am looking for similar natural sentences in German.

My attempt would be:

Nein danke, ich schaue nur an.

Would that be correct?

  • 3
    If you are unsure, simply "Nein danke." will also do the job without being impolite. – dervonnebenaan Nov 21 '14 at 15:45
32

The problem with your attempt is that sich etw. anschauen (in contrast to to look) needs to have an object (and also requires sich, being reflexive). So the minimal correct alternative would be:

Nein danke, ich schaue mir nur etwas an.
(No thanks, I am just looking at something.)

Unfortunately, when saying this, the shopkeeper may ask you what “something” you are looking at and you do not get rid of him.

Therefore, the better and in my experience most common answer is to use a verb that requires no object:

Nein danke, ich schaue mich nur um.
Nein danke, ich sehe mich nur um.
(No thanks, I am just looking around.)

Nein danke, ich schaue nur.
Nein danke, ich gucke nur.
(No thanks, I am just looking.)

Another, more thrift-store-ish alternative is:

Nein danke, ich stöbere nur.
(No thanks, I am just browsing.)

  • 11
    Oder, um für etwas Abwechslung zu sorgen: "Danke, ich komme zurecht". – npst Nov 21 '14 at 15:10
  • 1
    I wouldn't use "Nein danke, ich gucke nur." and "Nein danke, ich stöbere nur.". However, I do use (in antiquarian shops): "Nein danke, ich möchte nur stöbern." – Iris Dec 7 '15 at 12:27
11

It is common to say:

Danke, ich schaue mich nur (mal) um.

6

Adding to Wrzlprmft's comprehensive answer:

I'm just looking.

translates to

Ich schaue mich nur um.

and

I'm just browsing.

means

Ich stöbere nur.

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