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Lesson 5: Talking about time & schedules

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Reading the clock and telling the time of the day.

This entire lesson mainly deals with talking about the time, important dates and your daily schedule. Thus it will prove especially useful to you since those are things that you always need.

On this page, we will teach you, how to tell someone the time in German and how to ask someone for the time.

To ask someone for the time in German, use one of the following questions:
Wie spät ist es?literally: How late is it?
Wieviel Uhr ist es?literally: How much clock is it?

Now, how do we answer this question if we are asked by someone? Look at the following pictures of clocks and the German phrases below them. Then try to understand, why we say each phrase to tell a certain time. Thereby, it might be helpful to know the exact meaning of the following words:
GermanEnglishGermanEnglish
nachafter/pastvorbefore/to
viertelquarterhalbhalf
die Uhrthe clock


Click on the blue arrows to hear the words in German.

Es ist ein Uhr
(It's one o'clock)

Es ist zwei Uhr
(It's two o'clock)

Es ist fünf Uhr
(It's five o'clock)

Es ist acht Uhr
(It's eight o'clock)

Es ist halb neun
(It's half past eight)

Es ist halb vier
(It's half past three)

Es ist viertel nach sieben
(It's a quarter past seven)

Es ist viertel vor elf
(It's a quarter to eleven)

Es ist fünf nach zwei
(It's five past two)

Es ist zehn nach zwei
(It's ten past two)

Es ist zwanzig nach zwei
(It's twenty past two)

Es ist fünf vor halb drei
(It's 2:25)

Es ist fünf vor eins
(It's five to one)

Es ist zehn vor eins
(It's ten to one)

Es ist zwanzig vor eins
(It's twenty to one)

Es ist fünf nach halb eins
(It's 12:35)


Some explanations might be necessary here:

- In German, when the hour is half, for example: "it is half past 10" (10:30), we say "Es ist halb elf" (half eleven).
- We say "Es ist ein Uhr" and NOT "Es ist eins Uhr" (wrong!)
- But, we would say "Es ist viertel vor eins." (12:45) or "Es ist halb eins." (12:30).
- We also use the complicated expressions of "fünf vor halb" and "fünf nach halb" in order to express the minutes 25 and 35 of the hour.

Press the green next-button to proceed to the next page of this lesson.


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pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12        vocabularies       Exercises [A] [B] [C] [D] [E]

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