Basic German. 4. Time and prepositions of time in German

Last Updated on August 11, 2022

The prepositions of time in German, like the prepositions of place discussed in the previous part, are that mandatory base without which it is difficult to start speaking.

Basic German with tables. 3. Local prepositions
Conjunctions in sentences. Different word order
Basic German with tables. 2. Noun and articles
Betrag or Beitrag, vertragen or ertragen and other members of tragen family
German picture description phrases and sequence

How to ask the time in German

You can ask the time in German using the pronoun es. The preposition “at” corresponds to the preposition um

What time is it?

Wie spät ist es?

Wie viel Uhr ist es?

What time… (will you come, will you close…)

Um wie viel Uhr kommst du? – Ich komme um drei Uhr

Um wie viel Uhr schließen Sie? – Um 20 Uhr schließen wir heute

How much time do you need?

Wie viel Zeit brauchen Sie?

Time is indicated so

Es ist fünf Uhr.

15 hours 15 (minutes) –

Es ist fünfzehn Uhr fünfzehn

15 minutes past three

Es ist fünfzehn nach drei

quarter to four

Es ist Viertel vor vier

half past three

Es ist halb vier

Um halb vier muss ich zu Hause sein

Ask the time in German

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Prepositions of time in German: a point in time

Hours

Hours go, as a rule, with a preposition um.

The approximate time is indicated by the words zirca (usually in writing in the form of an abbreviation сa.) or gegen

Ich komme um ca. 20 Uhr

Ich bin zu Hause gegen 16 Uhr.

To say 8 o’clock in the morning or 8 o’clock in the evening, use the words

am Abend, am Morgen

or (more often) adverbs

morgens, abends, nachts, mittags
Um 8 Uhr morgens

The phrase meaning “tomorrow morning” often causes confusion, since Morgen means both morning as a noun and tomorrow as an adverb:

Ich gehe zum Arzt morgen früh.

Time of day, days of the week and dates

To indicate the time of day, day of the week, or date, use the preposition am (an + dem). Since almost all words are masculine, you can skip the article and say am.

Why am? Read the topic about preposition of place

am Abend, am Morgen

am Montag, am Mittwoch

am 21. Juli

An exception is the word die Nacht (f), respectively:

in der Nacht (Dat)

um Mitternacht (Akk)

As well as holidays that are used without an article, so it will be an or zu (equally, different regions prefer one or the other)

zu / an Weihnachten

an / zu Ostern

Months, week (whole), seasons, years

jeden Tag – everyday (Sommer, Montag, Januar…. – every summer, monday, January…)

jede Woche – every week

jedes Jahr – every year

diese Woche – this week

letzte Woche – last week

Anfang (Mitte, Ende) des Monats, der Woche – beginning (middle, end) of the month, week

Ende Januar – end (middle, beginning…) of January (February…)

The main preposition for days, weeks and months is in

Im Sommer

Im August

in der nächsten Woche

In den 70ern

Im 19. Jahrhundert

Years are a special case. As a rule, they go without any preposition at all, which is quite difficult to get used to.

2008 wurde er geboren.

However, with the word Jahr, the preposition in is used.

Im Jahr 2008 wurde er geboren.

The years are pronounced:

  • up to 2000 – first the number of hundreds, then the remaining digit: 1978 – neunzehn hundert acht und siebzig.
  • after 2000 – as usual: 2008 – zwei tausend acht

If you are not sure what year – use the preposition um

um 1780

For approximate decades and other tenses use the preposition gegen

gegen Abend

gegen Ende des 17. Jahrhunderts

gegen Ende der Woche

gegen Ende des Monats

Time intervals, past and future in German

Past, present or future

From … to …: von … bis

Von 8 bis 10 Uhr muss ich arbeiten.

The action for a certain period is indicated by the preposition für (Akk)

für einen Tag

für 2 Woche

During – innerhalb (Gen)

innerhalb der nächsten Stunde

If the action will last more than a certain period, they say über (Akk)

über 1 Woche

Prepositions of time in German

During the action – bei (Dat), während (Gen)

Bei der Arbeit

Beim Frühstück

während des Frühstücks

After action – nach (Dat)

nach der Arbeit

Before action – vor (Dat)

Vor dem Geburtstag

Prepositions of time in German

Future

If the action starts after a certain period, then the preposition in (Dat) is used.

in einer Woche

in einer Stunde

in einem Jahr

Action from some moment – ab (Akk or Dat is equal)

ab morgen

ab 4. Juli

ab nächste Woche / ab nächster Woche

Prepositions of time in German

if this action will continue further, then they say von … an, most often in an expression

von Anfang an

Estimated start time in the future

nächste Woche – next week

nächstes Jahr – next year

nächten Monat – next month


Do you have any more questions? Use comments ⇓ or private communication form

Past

From some point in the past – seit (Dat)

seit 2 Jahre lebe ich in Deutschland

Prepositions of time in German

To some point in the past – zu (Dat)

zu dieser Zeit

Prepositions of time in German

Time of origin

Aus dem 19. Jahrhundert

Other topics about #german grammar
#german language

Translation exercises into German in Anki: set deu4 – this topic, deu5 – repeat topics 1-4. – download from Google Drive.

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