What is the difference between "gern" and "gerne"? When should each be used?

An example I used in a previous question was:

Ich esse gern Pizza

is that better or worse than:

Ich esse gerne Pizza

Is there a difference in meaning?

3 Answers 3


There is no difference between the two forms in meaning, and they are interchangeable in usage. The dictionary typically even lists them as "gern(e)" rather than as separate entries.

The original form from Old High German down through Middle High German, as Duden and others indicate, was "gerne". The form "gern" is just an example of how often the final "-e" gets dropped from German words in casual usage, and some people may consider it a little more colloquial.

The usage between the two is more of a feeling or the way it sounds in the sentence or circumstance rather than a grammatical requirement. Perhaps you want to say "gerne" to really emphasize something, or perhaps just "gern" with a sense of finality. As you become more familiar with German, you will get a better feel for its rhythm and rhyme and what sounds better to your ears. The choice is yours.

  • 5
    I've been speaking German for about 3 years now and I felt that I finally understood when to use either one just on account of my Sprachgefühl. Never did I realise that I say "gern" when it's not emphasised, and "gerne" more so when it is. Brilliant. Thanks for enlightening me, it's always helpful to be up to date on these sorts of things.
    – Ledda
    Oct 9, 2015 at 9:58
  • 3
    Einen Bedeutungsunterschied zwischen "gern" und "gerne" gibt es nicht, auch in stilistischer Hinsicht ist kein Unterschied festzustellen - beide Formen gelten als gleichwertig. (Quelle: spiegel.de/kultur/zwiebelfisch/…)
    – Iris
    Jun 9, 2016 at 12:23

I would put it into the category of shortening a word, especially in spoken language, in the same way as you could say

Ich hab frei

instead of

Ich habe frei

  • 7
    I wonder, though, why the abbrevation "habe" usually followed by an apostroph, like in "Ich hab' frei", while for "gerne" you never read "Ich möchte gern' heimfahren". Mar 8, 2012 at 16:03
  • 1
    @TheBlastOne: In my experience "hab" is not followed by an apostrophe in everyday use (which makes sense, since this would defy the purpose of making the word shorter).
    – 0x6d64
    Mar 9, 2012 at 8:48
  • 2
    Hab form is not correct because ICH HABE is the formal conjugation from the verb HABEN.
    – user15213
    Mar 11, 2015 at 13:30
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    @user15213: German is my native language, so I do know that ich habe is the correct form. But ich hab is perfectly common in spoken language and it is a form which shortens the word in a similar way than the correctly spelled gerne. Mar 21, 2017 at 8:00
  • Interesting that the entry in Duden for gern, gerne has the note: gern, auch, besonders süddeutsch: ger­ne May 3, 2022 at 12:15

Gerne is proper. Gern is dialect.

In the Basel area I have only heard "Gern"... but they drop the final "-e" on most things in Baseldütsh (e.g I have never heard "Schade" only "Schad"). In Schwabenländle (BW) I have heard "Gern" in sentences and "Gerne" only when used alone as a single word answer (e.g. Möchtest du xxx... Gerne...).

  • 9
    Some of these short forms have made it into standard language, without a particular rule; gern is among them, schad and müd are not, and there are a lot of other examples for each category. So calling gern a dialect form only is wrong.
    – chirlu
    Jun 25, 2015 at 7:31
  • @chirlu, plz can yo explain me the rules of schad und müd, this is very important for me.
    – user18553
    Oct 9, 2015 at 4:27

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