German/Level I/Geburtstag

Lesson I.5: Geburtstag

Asking the Time

Vocabulary: Time — Zeit
English German
What time is it? (How late is it?) Wie spät ist es?
What time is it? (How many hour(s) is it?) Wie viel Uhr ist es?
Ef It is 10:15 Es ist zehn Uhr fünfzehn.
BoA It is 10:15 Viertel nach zehn/Viertel elf (Austrian German)
BoA It is 10:45 Viertel vor elf/Dreiviertel elf (Austrian German)

In table above you might have seen the Ef and BoA, those stand for exact form and before or after. Specific times can be expressed in two ways: Exact form (e.g. "Four thirty-seven") or before or after form (e.g. "Twenty-three to five").

Exact form


This form is the same as English. For example,

  • Es ist zehn Uhr fünfzehn.
It is 10:15 a.m.
  • The new word Uhr means "o'clock", and is used in all exact times, it comes between the hour and the minute.
  • Also, German-speakers generally use the 24-hour clock when expressing time this way, therefore, 3:29 p.m. (15:29) is "fünfzehn Uhr neunundzwanzig."

Section Problems>>

Before or After the Hour

Vocabulary: BoA — BoA
English German
After, Past nach
Till, to vor
quarter Viertel
half before Halb
  • Use the same form as in English. For example, 10:57 can be said as, "drei vor elf" (three minutes to eleven). Likewise, 4:10 would be "zehn nach vier" (ten minutes past four).
  • Typically, use the smaller time interval with 'nach' or 'vor'. Don't say, "siebenundfünfzig nach zehn."
  • You don't need a vor when using halb. Be careful! In German it's not "half past", but rather "half to". For example, 11:30 can be said as, "Halb zwölf".
  • 5:15 can be said as "Viertel nach fünf" or "Viertel sechs" (Austrian German), 5:45 would be "Viertel vor sechs" or "Dreiviertel sechs" (Austrian German).

Note: This is only used with informal time telling. You don't use 'Uhr'.

Section Problems>>

Saying When You Do Something


Wann spielst du Football? (Football means American Football. The much more popular soccer would be "Fußball", which lit. means Football)

To say you play a sport at a certain time in English, you would answer, "I play football at 3:30." This is all the same in German, with the translation of 'at' being um. That makes the above response "Ich spiele Football um halb Vier." or "Ich spiele Football um fünfzehn Uhr dreißig.".

Section Problems>>

Times of Day

Vocabulary: Times of Day — Tageszeiten
English German
the day der Tag
today heute
tomorrow morgen
the day after tomorrow übermorgen
yesterday gestern
the day before yesterday vorgestern
(early) morning Morgen*
morning Vormittag
afternoon Nachmittag
evening Abend
night Nacht
  • In German, except the capitalization, the words for "morning" and "tomorrow" are the same: morgen. If you want to say tomorrow morning use morgen früh (meaning: early on the next day).
  • The words above can be combined into phrases like "gestern Abend".
  • To say "2 days before yesterday" use vorvorgestern (but 3 days before yesterday won't be vorvorvorgestern)

Section Problems>>

Days and Months

Vocabulary: Days — Tage
English German
Monday Montag
Tuesday Dienstag
Wednesday Mittwoch
Thursday Donnerstag
Friday Freitag
Saturday Samstag
Sunday Sonntag
  • Instead of "Samstag" you can say "Sonnabend", though it is only used in certain parts of the German-speaking world.
Vocabulary: Months — Monate
English German
January Januar/Jänner (Austrian German)
February Februar
March März
April April
May Mai
June Juni
July Juli
August August
September September
October Oktober
November November
December Dezember
  • To say "on Monday", say "am Montag" or whatever applies. To say "in January", say "im Januar" or whatever applies. This is the same for all of the days and months.
  • You can also combine the times of day from earlier with the days of the week. But they're both nouns. To do this, therefore, we must combine the two words into one, as in "Dienstagnacht" (Tuesday night).

Culture Note: The German week begins on Monday.

Section Problems>>


Vocabulary: Dates — Daten
English German
first of (month) erster
second of (month) zweiter
third of (month) dritter
fourth of (month) vierter
seventh of (month) siebter
eighth of (month) achter
-th of [below 20] -ter
tenth of zehnter
twentieth of zwanzigster
thirty-first of einunddreißigster
-th of [20 to 31] -ster
on (the) am
  • The ordinal numbers from 2 to 19 take the endings t and from 20 upwards take the ending st
  • For example "on the 25th of December",
Simply say "am fünfundzwanzigsten Dezember."
In other cases you say "fünfundzwanzigster Dezember" or "der fünfundzwanzigste Dezember".
  • In Germany, dates are written out in the logical order Day . Month . Year, instead of the American Month/Day/Year.
German uses a dot instead of a slash. Do not use the slash in dates, as it is unusual and confusing because you cannot tell if "4/6" means 4th of June (4.6.) or 6th of April (6.4.)

Section Problems>>


Vocabulary: Birthdays — Geburtstage
English German
Birthday Geburtstag
Happy Birthday Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!
Best wishes on your birthday! Herzlichen Glückwunsch zum Geburtstag!
Here is your present! Hier ist dein Geschenk!
Thank you! Danke schön!
That's a nice party! Das ist eine tolle Party!
  • To say, "My birthday is on November 13th", say, "Ich habe am dreizehnten November Geburtstag."

Here am dreizehnten November, am 13. November, am dreizehnten elften and am 13. 11. represent the same date.

Note the order; it translates back literally as "I have on the 13th of November birthday."

Section Problems>>


Vocabulary: Seasons — Jahreszeiten
(missing file: File:German Vocabulary - Seasons.ogg, how to upload audio)
English German
Spring der Frühling
Summer der Sommer
Autumn der Herbst
Winter der Winter
in (the) im

To say "in Summer", say "im Sommer". For example,

  • Im Sommer spiele ich Baseball.
I play baseball in summer.

The time always goes before the verb and the subject. (time, verb, and subject)

Section Problems>>

Periods of Time


If you want to express a certain period of time, but it doesn't have a specific name, like Nachmittag, you can do it like this:

Vocabulary: Seasons — Jahreszeiten
(missing file: File:German Vocabulary - Seasons.ogg, how to upload audio)
German Time
von Starting Time
bis Ending Time
  • This is the same as from ... till ... in English.
  • This can also apply with dates. For example, "Wir haben Schule (school) von Montag bis Freitag".
  • Exceptions
Wir haben frei vom fünfundzwanzigsten Dezember bis zum zweiten Januar.

Section Problems>>

How often?


Wie oft?, there are many ways to answer this question. Two are "once, twice, or three times in a ..." or "always, often, or never."

A Number or Times


To say, "once a month", or "four times a week", add "mal" to the end of the number and use the examples below.

Vocabulary: Daily — Täglich
(missing file: File:German Vocabulary - Daily.ogg, how to upload audio)
English German
Day am Tag
Week in der Woche
Month im Monat
Year im Jahr
Weekend am Wochenende
Morning morgens
Evening abends
Afternoon nachmittags
Night nachts oder in der Nacht

For example

  • Wir kegeln zweimal in der Woche/zweimal die Woche/zweimal pro Woche.
We bowl twice a week.

Section Problems>>

Common Adverbs

Vocabulary: Sometimes — Manchmal
(missing file: File:German Vocabulary - Sometimes.ogg, how to upload audio)
English German
always immer
most of the time meistens
often oft
sometimes manchmal
seldom selten
never nie
only nur
  • To apply these words, put them in the sentence, after the verb and subject, but before the sport/activity.
  • You can also use 'nur' to say things like, Sie spielt nur manchmal Tennis.
  • Note that if this is translated word-for-word, it becomes, She plays only sometimes tennis. That's just the way German is.

Section Problems>>

Vocabulary: Sometimes — Manchmal
(missing file: File:German Vocabulary - Sometimes.ogg, how to upload audio)
English German
Time die Zeit
Free time die Freizeit
  • To say you have time, ignore the 'die'.
  • To say when, insert other phrases you have learned this lesson. For example, Ich habe am Samstagabend Zeit.
Note that the word order is the same as that of birthdays. You can use Freizeit in the same way.

Section Problems>>

What's On the Test


To go straight to the lesson test, go here.

The test will have four parts to it: Grammar (79 points), Translating (95 points), Reading Comprehension (20 points), Vocabulary (20 points), and Previous Topics (10 points) in that order. The Grammar section will test your ability to know the verbs from this lesson and it's various visions, to know articles - the genders of them and the correct usage of them, and correct word order.

The Translating section is worth the most points, and it too has three sections. You must know the translations for sentences and phrases going from English to German, and be able to take a German dialogue and translate it back into English. Also you must know the translation from Numbers to German.

The third section, Reading Comprehension, is Comprehension Questions you must know how to read the conversion and after reading you will be asked question on the previous conversion.

The fourth section is a vocabulary section. You get 20 English words on the left and 20 German words on the right, and be asked to match them. To study for that, check out the 401 flashcards related to this lesson at Part I and Part II.

The last section, Previous Topics, is a quick review on Lesson 1 to get ready for this section, just look at some past notes or go to Lesson 1 and study. That is the whole test. Take it!

(edit template)   Level I Lessons (discussion)

  I.0 Introduction

Section I.A:   I.1 Wie heißt du? (1. Teil)  I.2 Wie heißt du? (2. Teil)  I.3 Bitte buchstabieren Sie  Review Section I.A

Section I.B:   I.4 Freizeit  I.5 Geburtstag  I.6 Essen  Review Section I.B

Section I.C:   I.7 Kleidung  I.8 Familie und Nationalität  I.9 Schule  Review Section I.C

Section I.D:   I.10 Das Fest  I.11 Privileg und Verantwortung  I.12 Wetter  Review Section I.D

Section I.E:   I.13 Zu Hause essen  I.14 Filme  I.15 Das Haus  Review Section I.E