When traveling through a Germany, time matters. German people are exact and prompt. Everything must be on time. You wouldn’t want to miss your plane, train, bus, or an important meeting because you don’t know the dates and time in German.
In Germany, and many other countries, it is considered incredibly rude to be late, so you must know some of the German languages to help out.
Before starting this lesson, you must first learn cardinal numbers in German. It will help you immensely when learning to write dates, read calendar dates or say time.
We suggest bookmarking that article and having it open simultaneously as studying this information so you can easily search for the numbers you need to tell time and dates in German.
In this article, you’ll also learn vocabulary and phrases related to time and dates in German, ordinal numbers to help you express dates, and how to ask and answer questions related to time.
Ready? Let’s go!
German Days Of The Week
Learning the days of the week (tage der woche) is a foundational skill. Do you remember learning the days of the week as a kid? Do you remember the days of the week song? There’s one to help you quickly understand the week’s days in German.
In Europe, you need to know that the start of the week is on Monday, not Sunday, which is why you’ll notice all the calendars, even on your phone, start on Monday.
Here are the days of the week in German:
- Monday – Montag
- Tuesday – Dienstag
- Wednesday – Mittwoch
- Thursday – Donnerstag
- Freitag – Friday
- Saturday – Samstag
- Sunday – Sonntag
- Weekend – Wochenende
Months Of The Year In German
Nearly all of the German words for months of the year (Monate des Jahres) are similar in spelling and sound to the English version. What’s great is that some are the same as English! It will make it so much easier to remember.
These are the months of the year:
- January – Januar
- February – Februar
- March – März
- April – April
- May – Mai
- June – Juni
- July – Juli
- August – August
- September – September
- October – Oktober
- November – November
- December – Dezember
How To Read Years In German
Once again, it will be really useful if you refer to learning German numbers right here! That will help you to read dates and years in German.
Before the year 2000, years are broken into two parts. For example, 1735 would be split into 17 35 and would be read like siebzehn fünfunddreißig. English speakers would say seventeen thirty-five, which is the same as German.
However, after 2000, this rule changed, and the West’s similarities went out the window. The year 2020 isn’t read as twenty twenty. Instead, it’s read as you would read a cardinal number in English, 2,020 or two-thousand twenty (zweitausendzwanzig).
Here are some examples:
- 1985 – nineteen eighty five (eintausendneunhundertfünfundachtzig)
- 1999 – nineteen ninety nine (eintausendneunhundertneunundneunzig)
- 2010 – two thousand ten (zweitausendzehn)
- 2022 – two thousand twenty two (zweitausendzweiundzwanzig)
How To Read And Write The Date In German
Writing the date in German is as simple as day, month, and year. In Germany, it looks like dd.mm.yy Take note that no slashes are used when writing the dates in German, and cardinal numbers are used.
Here are some examples and how to read the date in German and how it’s written:
- 3.10.1990 – der dritte Oktober (neunzehnhundertneunzig)
- 3.3.1847 – der dritte März (achtzehnhundertsiebenundvierzig)
- 30.1.1974 – der dreißigste Januar (neunzehnhundertvierundsiebzig)
How To Say The Date In German
Before we can do that, you must first (erste) learn your ordinal numbers in German! Here they are:
- First – erste*
- Second – zweite
- Third – dritte
- Fourth – vierte
- Fifth – fünfte
- Sixth – sechste
- Seventh – siebte
- Eighth – achte
- Ninth – neunte
- Tenth – zehnte
- Eleventh – elfte
- Twelfth – zwölfte
*(Note that for numbers 1-19, you add – ‘te’ to the end of the word)
Here are some ways to say the date in German:
|Friday will be the thirty first of April.||Freitag wird der einunddreißigste April sein.|
|Today is the eleventh of February||Heute ist der elfte Februar.|
|Tomorrow is the twelfth of February.||Morgen ist der zwölfte Februar.|
|The day after tomorrow is the thirteenth of February.||Übermorgen ist der dreizehnte Februar.|
|It is the third of March||Es ist der dritte März.|
How To Ask About Dates In A German Speaking Country
There Are A Few Ways To Ask And Respond To ‘What’s The date?‘ In German. The First Way Is:
- Der Wievielte ist heute?‘ (What’s the date today?)
Here are some appropriate responses:
- der zwanzigste März (The twentieth of March)
- der Zwanzigste (The twentieth)
- Heute ist der zehnte April. (It’s the tenth of April.)
The Second Way To Ask About The Date Is:
- Welches Datum haben wir heute? (What is today’s date?)
Here’s how to respond:
- den zwanzigsten März (the twentieth of March)
- den Zwanzigsten (the twentieth)
- Heute haben wir den zwanzigsten März. (It’s the twentieth of March.)
The Third Question Is When You’re Asking About A Specific event date:
- Am Wievielten findet es statt?When does it take place?
Here’s how you would respond:
- am ersten April (on the first of April)
- am Ersten ( on the first)
- Montag, den ersten April or Montag, den 1. April (On Monday, the first of April or April 1st)
Do Germans Use the 12 Hour Clock Or 24 Hour Clock?
They use the 24-hour clock for pretty much everything, and because of this, there is no need for am or pm notations. Germans can tell right away if you’re a non-native by saying the time in German.
If you speak about time in using the 12-hour clock, that’s a dead giveaway. You must learn how to use military time (24-hour clock) while in Germany.
Here are some examples:
- 22:00 is said as zweiundzwanzig Uhr
- 07:00 is said as sieben Uhr
- 13:00 is said as dreizehn Uhr
- 16:00 is said as vierzehn Uhr
How To Understand Half-Past, Quarter To, And Quarter Past In German
When you ask, ‘What time is it? (wie spät ist es?) is it in German, or are you trying to talk about time? It’s important to understand what someone responds with and for you also to be able to communicate effectively about time.
Germans do not say half past the hour. Instead, they say half to the next hour. This isn’t very clear and will take some time to get used to. Here’s an example:
9:30 is read as halb zehn in German. Confusingly in English, this translates to half ten. However, it means half an hour to ten o’clock, or 09:30.
Let’s practice with some other examples!
- 10:30 – halb elf (half hour to eleven o’clock)
- 5:30 – halb sechs (half hour to six o’clock)
- 7:30 – halb acht (half hour to eight o’clock)
Telling Time In Minutes In German
Thankfully, this is really straightforward. Minutes and hours are read very similarly to years in that the time is split in two. Let’s take a look.
Time English German
- 14:10 It’s fourteen ten Es ist vierzehn Uhr zehn.
- 14.20 It’s fourteen twenty. Es ist vierzehn Uhr zwanzig.
- 14.40 It’s fourteen forty. Es ist vierzehn Uhr vierzig.
- 14.50It’s fourteen fifty. Es ist vierzehn Uhr fünfzig.
How To Express Quarter Hours In German
Germans express time in quarters, although it’s easier to use minutes as learned above. It’s easier to do it that way because Northern and Southern Germany have different ways to express quarters of the time, making things difficult.
For example 08:15
English speakers would say, ‘It’s quarter past eight,’ and it would be the same in Germany. Here’s how 08:15 would be said in Northern Germany:
- Es ist Viertel nach acht (8).
- It’s a quarter past eight.
While in Southern Germany, you would say:
- Es ist viertel neun (9).
- It is a quarter past eight.
Here’s another example for 10:45.
Northern Germany pronunciation:
- Es ist Viertel vor elf. (11)
- It is a quarter to eleven.
Southern Germany pronunciation:
- Es ist drei viertel elf (11).
- It is a quarter to eleven.
What Are The Seasons In Germany?
Like most of Europe, Germany has a temperate climate, meaning there are four seasons. Just in case you wanted to know, the four seasons of the year are:
- Spring – Frühling
- Summer – Sommer
- Autumn/Fall – Herbst
- Winter – Winter
Other Important Vocabulary Of Dates And Time In German To Know
|day||Tag/ der Tag|
Adverbs Of Time
This will come in handy when discussing variable times.
|a year ago||vor einem Jahr|
|last month||Im vergangenen Monat|
|last week||letzte Woche|
|next week||nächste Woche|
|next year||nächstes Jahr|
That’s All For Dates And Time In German!
Knowing the date and time vocabulary is important but imagine how much more you can communicate in Germany if you knew even a little bit more German?! Learn to ask for delicious German dishes, and importantly, how to introduce yourself to others while in Germany.
That’s where Ling comes in! Our awesome language app is here to save the der Tag (the day). Our friendly mascot – Ling – will guide you to learn German or any of the 60 plus languages we offer. You’ll learn to read, write, speak and pronounce new languages with Ling.
We’ll have you fluent in only 10 – 15 minutes a day. Try it now!