• German course for beginners
  • 1 The German alphabet [0/2]
  • 2 German greetings (Hello in German) [0/3]
  • 3 Introduction in german (talking about yourself) [0/2]
  • 4 Counting in German (cardinal and ordinal numbers) [0/3]
  • 5 The Time in German (hours and minutes in German) [0/3]
  • 6 Days of the weeks, months and seasons in German [0/3]
  • 7 Colours in German (blue, green, yellow...) [0/3]
  • 8 Asking for directions in German [0/3]
  • 9 The weather in German (sun, rain, temperature...) [0/3]
  • 10 Family members in German (parents, siblings...) [0/3]
  • 11 Body parts in German [0/3]
  • 12 Countries in German (Europe, Asia, Africa, America) [0/5]
  • 13 Ordering in Germany (restaurant, waiter, dinner) [0/3]
  • 14 German travel phrases [0/3]
  • 15 Grocery shopping in Germany [0/3]
  • 16 German proverbs [0/3]
  • 17 Animal names in German (pets, mammals, birds, ...) [0/4]
  • 18 Clothing in German (shoes, accessories, ...) [0/2]
  • 19 Happy birthday in German (parties and congratulations) [0/3]
  • 20 I love you in German (emotions and feedback) [0/3]
  • 21 Needs and opinions in German (polite requests) [0/4]
  • 22 Hobbies in German (sports and games) [0/3]
  • 23 House, room, furniture vocabulary in German [0/3]
  • 24 Descriptions in German (appearance and characteristics) [0/5]
  • 25 Business vocabulary in German (work and negotiations) [0/3]
  • 26 Going to the doctor and health vocabulary in German [0/3]
  • 27 School vocabulary in German (subjects and persons) [0/3]
  • 28 Places of interest German (post office, infrastructure) [0/3]
  • 29 Nature words in German (parks and outdoor) [0/2]
  • 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.

    English German
    Its is... Es ist...
    o'clock Uhr
    to (before) vor
    past (after) nach
    quarter Viertel
    half halb


    Telling the time in German

    There are different ways how to tell the time in German. 

    Full hour

    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".

    enlightenedUsing 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


    enlightened "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"


    Telling the time in German: Fill in the Blanks Part 1

    Telling the time in German: Fill in the Blanks Part 2

    Telling the time in German: Multiple Choice Excercise