7 steps to know how to tell time in German – German Learning Easy

1. Know How to Ask What Time It Is

Wie viel Uhr ist es? (What time is it?)
The phrase comes in handy when traveling, while working with Germans and at just about any other point where the time could be an issue.

2. Commit All German Numbers from 1 to 59 to Memory

It means you have to remember all the numbers from 1 to 59. This way, you won’t be fumbling around thinking about numbers instead of telling the time quickly.

3. Learn the German Words for “to,” “after,” “quarter” and “half”

Germans use a wide range of phrases for telling and reading time. From phrases that say something like “a quarter after” to phrases for telling someone exactly when you would like to meet them for a conference. Since we’re trying to quickly learn how to tell time, the most important words are the following:
Nach (after)
Es ist fünfzehn nach drei. (It’s fifteen after three.)
Vor (to/before)
Zehn vor zehn. (Ten before ten, or 9:50)
Viertel (quarter)
Viertel nach acht. (Quarter past eight, or 8:15)
Halb (half)
Halb sieben. (Half past 6, or 6:30)

4. Learn How to State the Time on the Hour

One of the most common ways to tell time is right on the hour. Use the following phrase for these situations:
Es ist ~ Uhr. (It’s ~ o’clock.)
Once you have this phrase locked into your brain, simply plug in the number required.
For example:

Es ist acht Uhr (It’s eight o’clock.)
Es ist zehn Uhr. (It’s 10 o’clock.)
Es ist ein Uhr. (It’s one o’clock.) Keep in mind that with time you say ein as opposed to eins.

5. Practice Stating the Time Before and After the Hour

Now that you know the numbers and words for before and after the hour, you can plug those into a common time-telling phrase.
Let’s go over a few common phrases:
Es ist Viertel nach… (It’s a quarter past…)
Es ist Viertel nach sieben. (It’s a quarter past seven.)
Es ist Viertel vor… (It’s a quarter to…)
Es ist Viertel vor zwei. (It’s a quarter to two.)
Es ist halb… (It’s half an hour before…)
Es ist halb sechs. (It’s half an hour before six.)

6. Figure Out How to State Precise Times

Let’s say it’s 9:12. Do you know how to say that in German? Learning this is a little different than what we talked about above. For precise times, you basically just say the hour first, then the word Uhr and finally the minutes.
Here are some examples for you to practice with:
Es ist neun Uhr zwölf. (It’s 9:12.)
Es ist zwei Uhr sieben. (It’s 2:07.)
Es ist sechs Uhr siebzehn. (It’s 6:17.)

7. Don’t Forget About the 24-hour Clock

The 24-hour clock is sometimes used in Germany, so you can add 12 hours to a p.m. time to know the 24-hour time. Simply move into higher numbers when stating the time. For example:
neunzehn Uhr neun (19:09) = 7:09 p.m.

For the quick calculation, you take 7:09 p.m. and add 12 to the hour, giving you 19:09. If adding 12 seems difficult, split it up into 10 and 2. To add the 10, you just throw a 1 in the tens digit next to 7, and then you add 2 to 7.
Change your phone and computer to 24-hour time for super quick learning.

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