Can you ask the time in German?

die Uhr = hour, clock, o'clock

Note all these feminine German for time words!

die Zeit (f) = time; age (era)
- Zeit haben = to have time (for something)
- eine Zeit lang = a while
- in letzter Zeit = recently
- für alle Zeiten = forever (lit. for all times)
- die gute alte Zeiten = the good old times
- mit der Zeit gehen = to move with the times

die Uhr (f) = hour; clock, o'clock
- um drei Uhr = at 3 o'clock
- rund um die Uhr = around the clock
- nach meiner Uhr = by my watch

die Stunde (f) = hour; lesson
- eine viertel Stunde = quarter of an hour
- eine halbe Stunde = half an hour
- vier Stunden lang = for four hours
- Stunde um Stunde = hour upon hour
- von Stunde zu Stunde = hourly
- eine Stunde Zeit haben = to have an hour (at one’s disposal)

die Minute (f) = minute
- in letzter Minute = in the last minute
- auf die Minute = on the dot
- minutenlang = of /for a few minutes

die Sekunde (f) = second (in time)
- auf die Sekunde genau = to the second
- sekundenlang = of/for a few seconds
- jede Sekunde = every second

Asking the time:

Wie viel Uhr ist es, bitte? = What’s the time, please? (literally: What is the hour?)

Kennst Du die Uhr? = Can you tell the time? (inf.sing)

Wie spät ist es? = How late is it?

Wie spät haben Sie es? or shortened:
Wie spät haben Sies? = What time do you make it? (formal)

Wie spät hast du es? = What time do you make it? (informal)

Um wie viel Uhr... ? = At what time... ?

Possible responses:

Es ist ein Uhr. = It is one o’clock. - Note: "ein Uhr" not "eine Uhr"

Es ist zehn Uhr. = It is ten o’clock.

Es ist zehn Uhr morgens/abends. = It is ten o’clock in the morning/evening.

Es ist zehn Minuten nach zwei. = It is 10 minutes past two.

Es ist viertel nach zwei. = It’s (a) quarter past two.

Es ist viertel vor zwei. = It’s (a) quarter to two.

Es ist halb zehn. = It is half past nine.

Special Note - don't be late!

In German the half hour is calculated backwards from the next full hour ... so:

halb zehn = half ten = half way to/before ten = 9.30.


vor = 'to'
- zehn Minuten vor sechs = ten minutes to six
- Viertel vor vier = quarter to four

nach = 'past'
- zehn Minuten nach sechs = ten minutes past six
- Viertel nach vier = quarter past four

um = at
- um drei Uhr = at 3 o’clock
- um sieben Uhr = at 7 o’clock

ab = from
- ab diese Minute = from this minute (onwards)
- ab sechs Uhr = from 6 o’clock (onwards)

bis = by, until
- bis acht Uhr = until eight o'clock
- von ... bis = from ... until
- von 9 Uhr bis 11 Uhr = from 9 until 11 o'clock
- bis dahin = by then

The 24-hour clock

In German the 24-hour clock is used alot - and it's very simple.
Add any hour after noon to 12.00.


01.16 = ein Uhr sechzehn = 1.16am
13.16 = dreizehn Uhr sechzehn = 1.16pm

05.25 = fünf Uhr fünfundzwanzig = 5.25am
17.25 = siebzehn Uhr fünfundzwanzig = 5.25pm

09.45 = neun Uhr fünfundvierzig = 9.45am
21.45 = einundzwanzig Uhr fünfundvierzig = 9.45pm

Using the 200 Words a Day! learning systems remembering words like die Uhr (German for time) is easy.

...and the female character reminds you that the word is a feminine word...

Remembering the genders of words in German, can be quite a task for the learner, but our Memory Triggers always include a simple, effective gender trigger, so ...

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