Zahlen

Hi everyone,

Here I’m again… today I’ll talk about numbers in German. By the way, I love numbers… and guess what: I’m also an engineer!!! 😉

If someone tells you a phone number in German, can you write it down? Can you do simple addition or subtraction in German?

It is fairly easy to learn how to speak the numbers – ,,eins“, ,,zwei“, ,,drei“… – and so forth. However, most of the time, numbers are used in more practical ways: in telephone numbers, for addresses, in prices,  in math problems, etc.

The cardinal number (,,Kardinalzahl“)

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  1. For decimal numbers (,,Dezimalzahlen“), German uses a comma (,,das Komma“) where English uses a decimal point. For example: 0.638 in English is 0,638 (,,null Komma sechs drei acht“) in German or 1.08  is 1,08 (,,eins Komma null acht“).
  2. German expression: ,,in null Komma nichts” (“in 0,0”), that means in an instant, in a flash.
  3. In German 1000/1,000 is written/printed as either 1000, 1.000 or 1 000 – using a decimal point (,,Punkt“) or a space where English uses a comma. This also applies to all German numbers above 1,000.
  4. Note that, unlike the other tens (20, 40, 50, etc.), ,,dreißig” has no ‘z’ in its spelling.
  5. To say “in the twenties (the ’20s)” – short for “the 1920s” – in German you say ,,in den zwangziger Jahren“. The same method is used for all the other decades (’30s, ’40s, etc.) except for the 1900s and the tens.
  6. For the years 1100 to 1999 in German, you must say the ,,hundert“, as for 1242 (,,zwölfhundertzweiundvierzig“) or 1986 (,,neunzehnhundertsechsundachtzig“).
  7. ,,im Jahre”: ,,Im Jahre 1350 (dreizehnhundertfünfzig)…” (“In the year 1350…”). If the word ,,Jahr” is left out, then the year is used by itself, with no ,,im” (in the) or ,,in“. For example: ,,Er ist im Jahre 1958 geboren.” or “Er ist 1958 geboren.” (“He was born in 1958.”).
  8. “In the year 2001” can be spoken/written in German as ,,im Jahre 2001” or ,,im Jahr 2001” (,,zweitausendeins“). If the word ,,Jahr” is left out, then the year is used by itself, with no ,,im” (in the) or ,,in“. For example: ,,Er ist im Jahre 2001 geboren.” or ,,Er ist 2001 geboren.” (“He was born in (the year) 2001.”).
  9. In German one million is ,,eine Million“, but two million is ,,zwei Millionen” (“two millions”).
  10. An American billion is a German ,,Milliarde“. A German ,,Billion” is an American “trillion.”