Tell Time in German



Basic German Lessons

Telling Time in German


Tell time in German


In this lesson you will learn how to tell the time in German. Have you learned the numbers 1 to 59 yet? Well, if not, you can learn them here:

>>> How to count in German up to 999.999 


Besides the numers you need to know these words: 

 Click the play button and listen


Es ist … => It is … 

Uhr => o'clock 

Viertel => quarter

halb => half

nach => past (after)

vor => to (before)

Wie spät ist es? => What time is it?


Let's look at some examples:

 Click the play button and listen

Example No 1 

When we have a full hour we put the word "Uhr" at the end.

1 Uhr: Es ist ein Uhr. = It's one o'clock.

10 Uhr: Es ist zehn Uhr. = It's ten o'clock.


Check my pronunciation. Especially the "g" at the end of a word. Many Germans pronounce the "g" at the end of a word like a "ch". 

 Click the play button and listen

Example No 2 

To tell the exact time you say the hour and then the minutes but make sure you put the word "Uhr" this time between the hour and the minutes.

2:16 Uhr – Es ist zwei Uhr sechzehn. = It's two sixteen.

3:25 Uhr  Es ist drei Uhr fünfundzwanzig. = It's three twenty-five.

7:34 Uhr  Es ist sieben Uhr vierunddreißig. = It's seven thirty-four.

5:45 Uhr  Es ist fünf Uhr fünfundvierzig. = It's five fourty-five.


 Click the play button and listen

Example No 3 

Another way of telling the time is to use the word "nach". This time you say the minutes first.

10:05 Uhr – Es ist fünf nach zehn. = It's five past (after) ten.

12:10 Uhr – Es ist zehn nach zwölf. = It's ten past (after) twelve.

4:02 Uhr – Es ist zwei nach vier. = It's two past (after) four.


 Click the play button and listen

Example No 4

If we have less than 30 minutes to the next hour we can use the word "vor". 

2:50 Uhr – Es ist zehn vor drei. = It's ten to (before) three.

3:40 Uhr – Es ist zwanzig vor vier. = It's twenty to (before) four.


 Click the play button and listen

Example No 5 

You can divide an hour like a pie into quarters (4×15 minutes) and use the words "Viertel vor" or "Viertel nach". 

8:45 Uhr – Es ist Viertel vor neun. = It's (a) quarter to nine.

6:15 Uhr – Es ist Viertel nach sechs. = It's (a) quarter past six.


 Click the play button and listen

Example No 6 

In German it is a little tricky when we have 30 minute left to the next hour. You use the word "halb" but then you add the next hour!

Be careful!

8:30 Uhr – Es ist halb neun. = It's half past eight.
(In the sense of: It's half way to nine.) 

9:30 Uhr – Es ist halb zehn. = It's half past nine.


 Click the play button and listen

Example No 7 

We Germans use the 24-hour system. If you see an hour greater than 12 just substract 12 to get the p.m. time.    

13:00 Uhr – Es ist dreizehn Uhr = It's 1pm. (13 – 12 = 1)

15:00 UhrEs ist fünfzehn Uhr = It's 3pm. (15 – 12 = 3)

17:30 UhrEs ist siebzehn Uhr dreißig = It's 5:30pm. (17 – 12 = 5)

19:16 Uhr – Es ist neunzehn Uhr sechzehn = It's 7:16pm. (19 – 12 = 7)

20:45 Uhr – Es ist zwanzig Uhr fünfundvierzig. = It's 8:45pm. (20 – 12 = 8)


In order to express the 24-hour time use only the way that I described in example No 1 and No 2!


Remember, in order to tell every possible time you just need the examples No 1 and No 2. Let's practice a little with the examples of No 1 and No 2.  

Listen and try to answer the questions:

 Click the play button and try to answer the questions


1:00 Uhr

Question: Wie spät ist es? = What time is it?

Your Answer: Es ist ein Uhr. = It's one o'clock


10:00 Uhr

Wie spät ist es?

Es ist zehn Uhr.


13:00 Uhr

Wie spät ist es?

Es ist dreizehn Uhr.


4:02 Uhr

Wie spät ist es?

Es ist vier Uhr zwei.


10:05 Uhr 

Wie spät ist es?

Es ist zehn Uhr fünf.


12:10 Uhr

Wie spät ist es?

Es ist zwölf Uhr zehn.


17:30 Uhr

Wie spät ist es?

Es ist siebzehn Uhr dreißig.


3:25 Uhr

Wie spät ist es?

Es ist drei Uhr fünfundzwanzig.


5:45 Uhr

Wie spät ist es?

Es ist fünf Uhr fünfundvierzig.


7:34 Uhr

Wie spät ist es?

Es ist sieben Uhr vierunddreißig.


19:16 Uhr

Wie spät ist es?

Es ist neunzehn Uhr sechzehn.


Now go to The Future Tense

_ _ _ 

How can I learn German in a few months instead of years? 

If you want to learn to speak German fluently, you should read and listen to German at least 20-30 minutes every day. Use an iPod or a mobile phone and listen on your way to work/school and 10 minutes before you go to sleep!

Here is a general advice:

Focus < 10% on grammar. If you like grammar you can practice with my basic online lessons (check the sidebar for more lessons). However, don't focus too much on grammar, it would only slow you down and by the way, if you read and listen a lot to the German language you will learn grammar automatically up to a certain point. 

> 40% Reading and listening
Listen to easy and clearly spoken German and read the unabridged German text at the same time. The text should be translated or should have a vocabulary aid. This saves a lot of time because you don't have to look up all new words in a dictionary. This way you will not only learn new words but also the pronunciation, the spelling, the structure and even grammar up to a certain point.

> 40% Practicing with the question and answer technique
It is very powerful and the best technique if you want to learn
to speak a foreign language. It will enable you step by step to think in German (even dream in German). Being able to think in German is the key to fluency. If you cannot think in German, you cannot speak it! 

Save about 10% of your time for other things like listening to German songs or watching movies in German etc. 

Tip: Sign up to my free email course and load my mini story "Schneckenwitz" onto your iPod or mobile phone and listen to it many times. With every repetition you will get more familiar to the German language. 

If you would like to practice with more of my funny audio stories, I recommend my "Package XL" (download version). You can read and listen a lot. If you don't understand a word you can check the English translation. Every lesson and story has also a big question and answer part.

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Datum: Samstag, 19. Dezember 2015 17:28
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