Kiddo asked in Society & CultureLanguages · 8 years ago

How to tell the time in GERMAN?

I know how to tell time in German but on the test, it said "Tell the time in German the *informal* way." What does "informal" mean?

Let's say it's 8:30 am. Is the informal way:

a.) halb neun

b.) acht Uhr dreisig?

Also, let's say it's 2:15 pm. Is the informal way:

a.) Viertel noch zwei

b.) Viertel noch vierzehn

c.) vierzehn Uhr funfzehn?

Thanks. This is supposed to be easy but the word "informal' threw me off.

3 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    "Informal" = 12-hour clock

    When asking informally for the time: wie spät ist es?

    "Formal" = 24-hour clock

    When asking formally for the time: wie viel Uhr ist es?



    Informal: Halb zehn (literally: "half ten")

    Formal: Neun Uhr dreißig (literally: "nine clock thirty")


    Informal: Viertel nach acht (literally: "quarter past eight," and Viertel is a noun so it must be capitalized)

    Formal: zwanzig Uhr fünfzehn (literally: "twenty clock fifteen," and Uhr must be capitalized because it is a noun)


    Informal: drei Uhr

    Formal: drei Uhr

    (yes, they are the same in the cases of a.m. without any extra minutes, like 7am, 4am, 2am...)


    Informal: Viertel vor acht (literally: "quarter before eight")

    Formal: neunzehn Uhr fünfundvierzig (literally: "nineteen clock forty-five)

    So the informal time is always the 12-hour clock (zwӧlf Uhr can be a.m. and p.m., and you can say "Mitternacht" afterwards to specify midnight") and uses the terms "nach" for "past/after," and "vor" for "before," and "Viertel" for "quarter" as in "a quarter past eleven," or "a quarter to twelve." To say 2:35, you would say "fünf nach halb drei" which means "five-past-half-three," and 4:05 would be "fünf nach vier," 6:50 would be "zehn vor sieben," 9:40 would be "zwanzig vor zehn," you get the idea.

    The formal time always uses the 24-hour clock, and like you saw, doesn't use "Viertel," "nach," and "vor," but just says the exact minutes instead.


    Let's say it's 8:30 am. Is the informal way:

    a.) halb neun <-this is the informal way

    b.) acht Uhr dreisig? <-that is formal, and remember it is dreißig, not an s.

    Also, let's say it's 2:15 pm. Is the informal way:

    a.) Viertel noch zwei <-this is the informal way, but it is nAch zwei

    b.) Viertel noch vierzehn <-makes absolutely no sense in German because it is a mixture of informal and formal.

    c.) vierzehn Uhr funfzehn? <-that would be formal, and it says "fourteen clock fifteen," so 14:15, also known as 2:15.

    Source(s): minoring in German
  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Oh, please, just don't prepare too much! He's coming to learn about YOUR way of life, so just keep on living like you used to. I once was an exchange student in France, and it made me feel a little confused how my hosts tried to be amicable and respectful and all that. Just don't change your way of life, simply let him participate. Keep in mind (but just a little bit) that he might need explanation of things that seem simple to you. I've learned from a friend that cultural differences can start with something as simple as a doorknob: In Germany, doors usually have levers, not knobs. School rules may be VERY different, and of course there are some different rules of behavior in society. But that's the advantage young people have: They can act on an informal level. Our cultures have more in common than divides them, so you'll find out there's no need to prepare much. Young people going on a student exchange do that deliberately with the intention to learn, so I'm sure he would appreciate it if you treated him not like a guest, but, say, a brother who had been abroad for a while and has to re-adapt. I remember when I came to France, I was very shy in the beginning, but my hosts made me feel so much at home that I soon forgot about it. I didn't even feel homesick, which had been my biggest fear. (It were the days before the arrival of the internet, and phone calls weren't actually cheap.) Be sure, the guy's just as nervous as you are. Have fun together!

  • 4 years ago

    The Time In Germany

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