Wie spät ist es?

Hi everyone!

,,Wie viel Uhr ist es?” … ,,Wie spät ist es?“… Do you know how to answer to these questions? Well, both mean “What time is it?” and this is the topic of this post. So, if your answer is no, just continue reading and we will learn together! 😉

First of all, it is recommended to learn or remember the numbers from 1 to 59. You can find information about numbers here.

Let’s have a quick start using some examples:


As you probably have noticed, there are two forms of answering “what time is it?”: one formal and another informal.


For formal answers (timetables, TV guides, store hours), Germans use 24-hour (“military”) time.

English “o’clock” is ,,Uhr” in German:

5.00 Uhr ⇨ ,,Es ist fünf Uhr” (It is five o’clock)

For precise times, you SAY ,,Uhr” between the hour and the minutes. But it must be WRITTEN with ,,Uhr” in the end:

geschrieben: 20.12 Uhr ⇨ gesprochen: ,,Es ist zwanzig Uhr zwölf


Informal answers are not used with 24-hour time.

“To” or “before” is ,,vor” and “past” is ,,nach“:

10.50 Uhr ⇨ ,,Es ist zehn vor elf” (It is ten to eleven)

10.10 Uhr ⇨ ,,Es ist zehn nach ten” (It is ten past ten)

To say “half” in german, we use ,,halb“. But the structure is a little different: in English we say “it is half past” + the actual “hour”, but in German we say ,,Es ist halb” + the next “hour”:

8.30 Uhr ⇨,,Es ist halb neun” (It is half past eight)

To say “a quarter past”, we use ,,viertel nach” and to say “a quarter to”, we use ,,viertel vor

 4.15 Uhr ⇨,,Es ist viertel nach vier” (It is a quarter past four)

1.45 Uhr ⇨,,Es ist viertel vor zwei” (It is a quarter to two)

We can also use the word ,,kurz” (short) when it is only a few minutes:

4.13 Uhr ⇨,,Es ist kurz vor viertel nach vier” (It is almost a quarter past four)

3.02 Uhr ⇨,,Es ist kurz nach drei” (It is a few minutes past three)


  1. Watch out for 1.00 Uhr. With time it’s ,,ein Uhr” and NOT ,,eins Uhr“.
  2. With 24-hour time, be precise: ,,Es ist zehn Uhr neun” (10.09 Uhr).

Take a look at the picture bellow. There you can see that an hour is divided up like a pie into quarters (,,Viertel“) and halves (,,halb“). It is a great summary for who is learning!

wie spät ist es

Do you want to practice more? I found this interesting website where you can practice the time in German: ,,Wie spät ist es?

That`s all for today! I hope you had fun! 😉