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Cardinal numbers


When referring to a single cardinal number, the article "die" is used - for example, "die zwei". When a number is used with a noun, the article of the noun is used, such as "der erste Computer". Numbers are not capitalised. Zero is "null".

  1. eins
  2. zwei
  3. drei
  4. vier
  5. fünf
  6. sechs
  7. sieben
  8. acht
  9. neun
  10. zehn
  11. elf
  12. zwölf

Numbers from 13 through 19 are similar to English. Compare English "fourteen" with German "vierzehn".

  • 13. dreizehn
  • 14. vierzehn
  • 15. fünfzehn
  • 16. sechzehn
  • 17. siebzehn (note the removal of the "en" at the end of "sieben")
  • 18. achtzehn
  • 19. neunzehn

As we get larger than nineteen, the numbers pick up a predictable pattern. Each multiple of 10 is simply the name of the first digit with the suffix "zig", such as "vierzig" meaning 40. A big exception to this rule is 20, which is "zwanzig". Numbers in between multiples are added to the beginning and connected with "und", such as "sechsundvierzig" meaning 46.

  • 20. zwanzig
  • 30. dreißig ("dreissig" in Switzerland and Liechtenstein)
  • 40. vierzig
  • 50. fünfzig
  • 60. sechzig (note the removal of the "s" at the end of "sechs")
  • 70. siebzig (note again the removal of the "en")
  • 80. achtzig
  • 90. neunzig

Hundreds are formed a bit differently. 100 is "hundert", but 101 is "hunderteins". Cardinals are simply tacked on to the end. Thousands are the same way.

  • 100. (ein) hundert
  • 120. hundertzwanzig
  • 146. hundertsechsundvierzig
  • 459. vierhundertneunundfünfzig
  • 1532. tausendfünfhundertzweiunddreißig
  • 10,267. zehntausendzweihundertsiebenundsechzig

Millions are also the same, but the Germans use the British long scale - i.e. "million" is the same ("eine Million"), but the short American "billion" is "eine Milliarde" and the short "trillion" is "eine Billion". "Million" has the plural form "Millionen".

  • 1,000,000. eine Million
  • 1,500,250. Millionfünfhunderttausendundzweihundertfünfzig
  • 2,000,000. zwei Millionen
  • 3,000,000,000. drei Milliarde
  • 6,000,000,000,000. sechs Billion

Ordinal numbers


Ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) are simply a matter of adding "te" to the end of the cardinal. The only exceptions are "first", which is "erste", and "third", which is "dritte". Larger numbers such as "thirteenth" ("dreizehnte") are not affected by this exception.

  1. erste
  2. zweite
  3. dritte
  4. vierte
  5. fünfte
  6. sechste
  7. siebte (note again the removal of the "en")
  8. achte (note only one "t")
  9. neunte
  10. zehnte
  11. elfte
  12. zwölfte

Fractions and decimals


Fractions are also as simple as adding a suffix - in this case, "tel". The only exception is "half" ("halb").

  • 1/2. ein Halb
  • 1/3. ein Drittel (the irregularity from the ordinal number carries over)
  • 1/4. ein Viertel
  • 1/5. ein Fünftel
  • 1/6. ein Sechstel
  • 1/7. ein Siebtel (note again the removal of the "en")
  • 1/8. ein Achtel (note again only one "t")
  • 1/9. ein Neuntel
  • 1/10. ein Zehntel

Decimals are the same as in English. The comma (das "Komma") is used instead of the decimal point. Numbers are spoken in the form "zwei Komma vier" (2,4). The expression "null Komma nichts" (0,0, literally "zero point nothing") means "in a flash".

  • 1/2 = 0,25
  • 7 3/4= 7,75

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German Lessons:   Level I  Level II  Level III  Level IV  Level V


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