The Time in German (hours and minutes in German)
What time is it? At what time we are going to meet? After having studied this chapter, you will be able to answer those questions! Before explaining you how you can tell the time in German, I will show you some general expressions you should study as well!
- the second = die Sekunde
- the minute = die Minute
- the hours = die Stunde
"What time is it" in German?
There are different ways to ask for the time in German, it does not matter which of the following phrases you will use!
- Wie viel Uhr ist es?
- Wie viel Uhr haben wir?
- Wie spät ist es?
Key words to learn
In the following list, you will find the key words in order to be able to tell the time.
|Its is...||Es ist...|
Telling the time in German
There are different ways how to tell the time in German.
When it is a full hour, we are using the same construction as in English: Es ist XY Uhr (=It is XY o'clock)
- 2AM: Es ist zwei Uhr
- 8AM: Es ist acht Uhr
Telling the exact time
For 3:22AM, in English you would say: It’s three twenty-two. In German, the phrase differs a bit: Between the hours and the minutes, you have to put "Uhr". Following, for 3:22AM, in English you would say: Es ist drei Uhr zweiundzwanzig.
|1.11AM||Es ist ein Uhr elf|
|3.03AM||Es ist drei Uhr drei|
|5.54AM||Es ist fünf Uhr vierundfünfzig|
|9.28AM||Es ist neun Uhr achtundzwanzig|
How to say "It’s five past ten" and "It's five to ten"
"To" is translated with "vor", "past" is translated with "nach".
Using this construction, you say the minutes first.The construction is exactly the same as in English.
|9:05AM||Es ist fünf nach neun|
|11.20AM||Es ist zwanzig nach elf|
|5.11AM||Es ist elf nach fünf|
|7.40AM||Es ist zwanzig vor acht|
|10.50AM||Es ist zehn vor elf|
|6.55AM||Es ist fünf for sieben|
"Quarter" and "half"
- "Quarter" ist translated with "Viertel", "half" with "halb"
- The construction of phrases with "Viertel" are the same as in English
- The construction of phrases with "halb" is a bit different. Instead of saying for example "It’s half past eight", in German you just say "Es ist halb 9" (=It is half nine). So you use the word "halb" adding straight following hour!
|6.45AM||Es ist Viertel vor sieben|
|9.15AM||Es ist Viertel nach neun|
|8.30AM||Es ist halb neun|
|10.15AM||Es ist Viertel nach zehn|
|3.45AM||Es ist Viertel vor vier|
|1.30AM||Es ist halb zwei|
The 24 hour system
In Germany, unlike in many other countries, we are not using AM and PM to differ between morning and evening. Instead, we are using the 24 hour system. Sometimes, more often in casual conversations, we also use the 12-hour system.
- 0 - 11: AM
- 12 - 24: PM
- To get the time in pm you just have to add 12 to the numbers between 0-12 (3 + 12 = 15.00)
|5PM||Es ist 17 (siebzehn) Uhr|
|1PM||Es ist 13 (dreizehn) Uhr|
|11PM||Es ist 23 (dreiundzwanzig) Uhr|
|8PM||Es ist 20 (zwanzig) Uhr|
"Viertel" and "halb" as well as "to" and "past" are not used with the 24 hour system.
- For 2:30PM, you say "halb drei", not "halb fünfzehn"
- For 9:45PM, you say "Viertel vor zehn", not "Viertel vor zweiundzwanzig"
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