In English one often says things like

What was that movie you were telling me about again?


Could you tell me your name again?

The word "again" is a polite courtesy to tell the listener that you're aware that they've already answered your question, but that you've forgotten the answer.

Is there a general format for these kinds of questions in German?

  • While "nochmal" sounds good, I would probably say "Wie war Ihr Name auch wieder?" May 29, 2018 at 17:33
  • @RudyVelthuis I’ve lived both in Northern and Southern Germany, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard “auch wieder” being used in that context.
    – Philipp
    May 30, 2018 at 13:55
  • @Philipp: But I have, and not just once. May 30, 2018 at 15:34
  • @RudyVelthuis I didn't want to sound condescending. I'm just surprised about this sentence, and Google doesn't yield any hits for it except this thread: google.de/…
    – Philipp
    May 31, 2018 at 7:43
  • But if you try the other expressions, you get plenty of results: google.de/…
    – Philipp
    May 31, 2018 at 7:46

4 Answers 4


The informal (albeit not unpolite) way to ask is, for instance:

Entschuldigung, wie heißt du nochmal?

when you don't remember somebody's name. So nochmal is the word you look for. I'd said it is (up to the subjunctive) the closest translation. (With the subjunctive, it is addressed in Walter's answer)

The format is thus:

original body of the question + nochmal ?

Moreover, apparently there is the (not everywhere heard) doch (gleich), instead of nochmal.

  • 6
    And it is always possible to prepend "Entschuldige" (or "Entschuldigen Sie") to make it more polite without complicating the grammar.
    – Carsten S
    May 29, 2018 at 10:54
  • 5
    Instead of „nochmal“ it is also common to use „noch gleich“. May 30, 2018 at 9:55
  • 2
    More common than „noch gleich“ is actually „doch gleich“. (books.google.com/ngrams/… and Duden agree with me here)
    – idmean
    May 30, 2018 at 10:04
  • 1
    I am German and I don't remember hearing "doch gleich" ever, but "noch gleich" happened occasionally. Maybe the former is an old version. "noch mal" however is the most common one in my experience and I use it, too. I also use "schon wieder".
    – Alex
    May 30, 2018 at 11:36
  • 1
    @idmean „noch gleich“ is definitely more common around Braunschweig and Hannover.
    – tavkomann
    May 30, 2018 at 12:36

In my opinion, the most polite option is to tell the reason why the other person should say something again:

Entschuldigung, wie hieß der Film, von dem Du/Sie mir erzählt hast/haben, nochmal? Ich habe den Namen vergessen.

Es tut mir leid, wie war Dein/Ihr Name? Ich habe ihn leider vergessen / Er fällt mir gerade nicht mehr ein.

Das ist mir jetzt etwas unangenehm, aber ich habe Deinen/Ihren Namen vergessen. Wie hießt/hießen Du/Sie nochmal?

Es tut mir wirklich leid, aber ich habe Deinen/Ihren Namen vergessen. Kannst/Können Du/Sie ihn mir noch einmal sagen?

Entschuldigung, im Moment geht es mir wie dem Schriftsteller Curt Goetz. Dieser sagte einst : ‚Drei Dinge kann ich mir nicht merken: Das erste sind Namen, das zweite Zahlen, und das dritte habe ich vergessen.‘ Darf ich Dich/Sie noch einmal nach Deinem/Ihrem Namen fragen?

In a more casual environment this is also very common:

Entschuldigung, wie hieß noch gleich der Film, den du meintest?

Du sorry, wie war dein Name noch? Ich hab's nicht so mit Namen.

Namen sind echt nicht meins. Wie hießt du nochmal?


There are various forms:

Wären Sie so freundlich, mir Ihren Namen nochmals zu sagen?

This is a polite way to ask again. In general, you could add a statement that you did not understood the name (if mentioned first time).

Könnten Sie den Namen des Filmes nochmal wiederholen?

This is a more informal way to ask for.

  • 7
    "mit Ihren Namen"? I think you meant mir. May 29, 2018 at 12:47
  • "nochmal wiederholen" is the equivalent of "repeat again", i.e. you want to hear it for a third time.
    – Anthon
    May 30, 2018 at 7:57

There's also a polite way to ask again without »nochmal[s]«:

Und dieser Film, sagten Sie, heißt bitte wie?

Und dieser Film heißt bitte wie, sagten Sie?

  • 3
    I only encountered this kind of formulation in literature or older movies. But this may differ in other age groups and/or locations.
    – Rhayene
    May 29, 2018 at 13:41
  • @Rhayene: Think also of phone calls.
    – Pollitzer
    May 29, 2018 at 14:24
  • Wow, that sounds super formal. I don't remember the last time I heard the simple past of "sagen". Makes it sound noble and theatrical.
    – Alex
    May 30, 2018 at 11:41
  • @Alex This is because one usually tends to use the „Perfekt“ in spoken German although the „Präteritum“ would be correct in written German.
    – tavkomann
    May 30, 2018 at 12:40
  • Yes, I know that. :-)
    – Alex
    May 30, 2018 at 12:54

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.