Telling the time

Understanding grammar is key to understanding a language.
German grammar tips with Wunderbla, online German lessons.

Telling the time

There are two ways to tell the time:

  • The hour first: hours from 1 to 24 + Uhr + minutes

Wie spät ist es?

What time is it?

06:05 Uhr = Es ist sechs Uhr fünf.

06:05 = It is six-o-five. (a.m.)

18:05 Uhr = Es ist achtzehn Uhr fünf.

18:05 = It is six-o-five. (p.m.)

18:15 Uhr = Es ist achtzehn Uhr fünfzehn.

18:15 = It is six-fifteen. (p.m.)

08:30 Uhr = Es ist acht Uhr dreißig.

08:30 = It is eight-thirty. (a.m.)

  • The minutes at the start: minutes (+ optionally: Minuten) + nach / vor + hours from 1 to 12 (optionally: + time of day)

Wie viel Uhr ist es?

What's the time?

06:05 Uhr = Es ist fünf (Minuten) nach sechs (morgens).

06:05 = It is five (minutes) past six (in the morning).

18:05 Uhr = Es ist fünf (Minuten) nach sechs (abends).

18:05 = It is five (minutes) past six (in the evening).

Notes:

  • In the format with the minutes at the start we use Viertel (quarter) and halb (half) rather than fünfzehn (fifteen) and dreißig (thirty).

18:15 Uhr = Viertel nach sechs (abends)

18:15 = Quarter past six (in the evening)

08:30 Uhr = halb neun (morgens)

08:30 = half eight in the morning (N.B. in German, halb is used before the upcoming hour, not the previous hour)

  • To state the time we use Uhr (o’clock). We use the word Stunde (hour) as a time unit along with Minuten (minutes) or Sekunden (seconds).

Es ist zwei Uhr nachmittags.

It is two o’clock in the afternoon.

Ich bin in zwei Stunden bei dir.

I will be with you in two hours.

„Es ist 6 Uhr 30 - aufstehen!“

Taking your learning further

Still facing difficulties with 'Telling the time'? Improve your German with Wunderbla - try our German lessons for free now and receive a free level assessment!

Do you know any tips to avoid making mistakes with 'Telling the time'? Share it with us!

Improve your German further and test Wunderbla, online German lessons.