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I was asked this question in an e-mail from my work colleague.

Deine Bahncard läuft am X.X.2016 aus. Soll ich Dir eine neue bestellen?

I replied:

Sehr gerne, vielen Dank!

I'm not sure if this is correct.

My confusion is that "Yes, please", "With pleasure" and "You're welcome" can all be translated as "Sehr gerne".

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    @Iris Because he's right. – Em1 Jul 5 '16 at 9:28
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    @Iris it is in fact translated as "Gern geschehen" which is often raised to "Sehr gern geschehen". Another translation is "Bitte sehr!" and an example for a complete sentence is "Bitte, sehr gern geschehen." That in return is abbreviated to "Sehr gern." (coll.) dict.leo.org/dictQuery/m-vocab/ende/… – user22338 Jul 5 '16 at 10:46
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    It is colloquial but people use it. It is spoken language. As reply to "Danke schön" i also often hear "Ach gerne doch." or simply "Gern". i provided the link was to show the different translations of "you are welcome". – user22338 Jul 5 '16 at 11:00
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    Yes, please would not translate to Sehr gern, sondern to Ja, bitte, which would be a perfectly valid reply in German to that kind of question. – Thorsten Dittmar Jul 5 '16 at 11:46
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    @Iris "Gerne" in the sense of "You're welcome" is fairly common and as mentioned above by another use (and in my answer below), it's the short form of "Gern geschehen". Sometimes, people add the intensifier "sehr" and so here we are: "Sehr gerne." – Em1 Jul 5 '16 at 12:10
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sehr gern

"Sehr gern" is used in two cases. It might be clearer if you regard "Sehr gern" as abbreviation for:

First as reply to a question like in your example.

"[...] Soll ich dir eine neue bestellen?"

(That would be kind / yes please)

"Das wäre nett/freundlich." / "Ja, bitte."

or

"Das hätte ich sehr gern so." <- And this is where it is abbreviated. I almost never heard the full sentence in a standard situation ;)

Second as reply to a "Thank you".

(Thank you for ...)

"Danke, dass du mir eine neue bestellst." or "Danke, dass du mir eine neue bestellt hast."

(You're welcome.)

"Das mache ich sehr gern." or "Das habe ich sehr gern gemacht."

with pleasure

Then there is the "with pleasure" example.

"Bestellst du mir bitte eine neue?" - "Das mache ich mit Vergnügen / sehr gern" (i do it with pleasure)

"Danke, dass du mir eine neue bestellt hast." - "Das habe ich mit Vergnügen / sehr gern gemacht." - (I did it with pleasure / You're welcome)

Summary: "Sehr gern" is not wrong. You can use it almost without restrictions as you would use "you are welcome, with pleasure, yes please" in english. But keep in mind, that there are equivalent expressions available :)

P.S.: i grew up with "Gern, nicht gerne! Da ist kein 'E' am Ende!" ... Meanwhile both forms are valid: sehr gern / sehr gerne.

  • Thank you :). I am English and was brought up to very correctly say "please" and "thank you". Some have suggested "ja, bitte" for "yes please" but I don't hear that very often in everyday speech. PS: I have the feeling "gern" is more northern German, and "gerne" more southern. I live in Baden-Württemburg and I think I hear "gerne" more frequently. – mcaleaa Jul 5 '16 at 15:48
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It's correct that "Sehr gerne." can be translated to each of those English expressions. While those expressions indeed have something in common they also have subtle but distinct meanings. So at the end of the day it clearly depends on the context.

In your example, the German expression "Sehr gerne." is simply a variation of "Ja, bitte." and, as such, is translated to "Yes, please.". You politely accept an offer that was made to you.

Similarly, when you accept a request of someone (like, accepting when someone wants to sit down next to you), you can go with "Yes, please" / "Sehr gerne.". In that context, however, "With pleasure" is an equally valid response and so is the German "Mit Vergnügen.". (Though, this isn't commonly used).

The expressions "You're welcome", in contrast, is used as a reply when someone thanked you for a favor you've just did. This is usually translated as "Gern geschehen.", sometimes shortened to "Gerne." or "Sehr gerne.".

So, here's a dialog with your example where "Gerne" is used in two distinct ways.

A: Soll ich dir eine Bahncard mit bestellen?
B: Sehr gerne. (=> Ja, bitte.)
(1 Woche später.)
A: Hier, deine neue Bahncard.
B: Danke.
A: Sehr gerne. (=> Gern geschehen.)

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Yes, this is correct.

I wouldn't translate "With pleasure." with "Sehr gerne.".

"With pleasure." is more like "Mit Vergnügen.".

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While "Sehr gerne." would be correct, it sounds slightly weird. (If I read it, I would consider that as spoken by someone from another region). It is used that way, but I would be asking myself "Sehr gerne was?" — What is it what you do gladly? Accepting my Bahncard?

Maybe you want to consider the more literal translation "Ja, bitte, vielen Dank!".

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