Make your own free website on
The Basics
How to Use Articles and Related Words
Knowing a Nouns Gender
Declension of Nouns
Using Cases
Declension of Adjectives
Comparison of Adjectives
Using Pronouns

Cardinal | Writing Numbers | Eins und Zwei | Money and Decades | Multiplication | Words to Qualify Cardinals | Ordinal | Fractions | Half | Telephone Numbers | Dates | Time | Once, twice... | Das Mal | Suffix -fach

This last section on the noun and its associates deals with numerals. There are two kinds of numbers. Cardinal numbers (ex: one, two, three...) which indicate how many things. Then there are ordinal numbers (ex: first, second, third...) which indicate the order in which things come.
Cardinal Numbers: one, two, three...
eins one elf eleven
zwei two zwölf twelve
drei three dreizehn thirteen
vier four vierzehn fourteen
fünf five fünfzehn fifteen
sechs six sechzehn sixteen
sieben seven siebzehn seventeen
acht eight achtzehn eighteen
neun nine neunzehn nineteen
zehn ten zwanzig twenty

Note: 13 - 19 are formed by adding -zehn; this applies to all except for sechzehn which drops -s, and siebzehn which drops -en.

einundzwanzig twenty-one vierzig forty
zweiundzwanzig twenty-two fünfzig fifty
dreiundzwanzig twenty-three sechzig sixty
vierundzwanzig twenty-four siebzig seventy
fünfundzwanzig twenty-five achtzig eighty
sechsundzwanzig twenty-six neunzig ninety
siebenundzwanzig twenty-seven hundert hundred
achtundzwanzig twenty-eight hunderteins hundred and one
neunundzwanzig twenty-nine tausend thousand
dreißig thirty hunderttausend hundred thousand

Note: notice the ending -zig is simply added except for dreißig, sechzig, and siebzig.
Numbers are always written together as one word:
dreihundertsiebenundvierzig - 347
siebenhunderttausendneunundneunzig - 700,099

Eine Million is always treated as a noun and seperate from the rest of the word:
drei Millionen vierhunderttausend - 3,400,000

Instead of commas German uses spaces and instead of decimals it uses commas:
10 000 - 10,000
2,8 - 2.8
Eins is used when no noun follows, when a noun does follow it is the indefinite article. If it is used as a noun (ex: to throw a one (at dice) - eine Eins werfen). It takes the feminine as does any other number except for das Hundert and das Tausend. The word for zero is also feminine die Null.

With the expression ein oder zwei (one or two) ein does not change:
Ich brauche noch ein oder zwei Blumen. - I need one or two more flowers.

Zwo may be said instead of zwei so it doesn't get confused with drei.
Cardinal numbers have an -er form when referring to money and decades:
Ein Mann in den Fünfzigern. - A man in his fifties.
Ich war Schüler in den fünfziger Jahren. - I was a schoolboy in the fifties.
Zwei Achtiziger, bitte. - Two eighty pfennig stamps, please.
Er gab mir vier Zehner. - He gave me four ten mark notes.
Note: when referring to coins, notes, or stamps remove Stück, Schein, and Briefmarke. Zehner and Achtziger will be masculine referring to coins or notes because Pfennig (penny) and Schein (note) are masculine. But feminine when referring to stamps because Briefmarke (stamp) is feminine.
In expressions of multiplication mal is used and the verb is always singular:
Zwei mal zwei ist vier. - Twice two is four, two twos are four.
Der vier mal hundert Meter Staffellauf. - The four by one hundred meters relay race.
Words which qualify cardinal numbers are über (over), knapp (barely), and rund, ungefähr, and zirka which all mean about, or roughly:
Er ist knapp zehn Jahre alt. - He's scarcely ten years old.
Es kostet rund tausend Mark. - It costs about a thousand marks.
Ordinal Numbers: first, second, third...

Numbers 1 - 19 are formed by adding -te to the cardinal number:
der fünfte - fifth
der dreizehnte - thirteenth
First, third, and eighth are irregular but still have the -te ending:
der erste - first
der dritte - third
der achte - eighth.
Der siebente is often shortened to der seibte.

Numbers 20 - 100 are formed by adding -ste to the cardinal number:
der zwanstigste - twentieth
der einunddreißigste - thirty-first

Ich fahre zweiter Klasse. - I am travelling second class.
Wir fahren am achtzehnten Juli. - We are travelling on the eighteenth of July.
Fractions are formed from ordinal numbers by adding an -l ending to it. They are all neuter nouns with the exception of die Hälfte (half):
das Drittel - third
das Viertel - fourth
das Zehntel - tenth

These may be combined with a noun:
eine Viertelpfund - a quarter pound
eine Viertelstunde - a quarter of an hour
One exception is the translation of half:
die Hälfte is used with the meaning half the:
Ich aß die Hälfte der Apfelsine. - I ate half the orange.
Ich trank die Hälfte der Flasche. - He drank half the bottle.
and halb with the meaning half a:
Ich aß eine halbe Apfelsine. - I ate half an orange.
Er trank eine halbe Flasche. - He drank half a bottle.
Telephone numbers in Germany are given in pairs:
862719 = 86 27 19
Dates on a letters appear with the date before the month which is then followed by the year:
20. März 1985 - March 20, 1985
In giving time you need to know four words: nach (after), vor (before), halb (half), and Uhr (which literally means clock but is used in other ways):
Nach is used to distinguish time after the hour:
Es ist zwanzig nach drei. - It is twenty after three.
Es ist Viertel nach elf. - It is a quarter after eleven.
Vor is used to distinguish time until or before a certain hour:
Es ist elf Minuten vor vier. - It is eleven minutes to four.
Es ist Viertel vor fünf. - It is a quarter to five.
Halb is used to dinstinguish half past:
Es ist halb neun. - It is half past eight.
Note: German does not say half past but rather half until. So halb zehn would be half til ten or nine-thirty.
Uhr is in two ways. After the hour to distinguish that it is on the hour:
Es ist ein Uhr. - It is one o'clock.
Although this may be omitted:
Es ist eins.
Uhr also may be placed between the hour and minutes to tell the time:
Es ist acht Uhr dreißig. - It is eight-thirty.
Es ist vier Uhr zwölf. - It is four-twelve.
To create once, twice, and thrice the suffix -mal is added to the cardinal number:
einmal - once
zweimal - twice
dreimal - thrice
viermal - four times
When the word das Mal (time, occasion) is used by itself it doesn't mean times:
Ich bin hier zum zweitem Mal - This is the second time I have been here.
The suffix -fach means -fold and is added after a cardinal number:
Die Preise sind aufs zehnfache gestiegen. - Prices have risen tenfold.
ein vielfacher Millionär - a multi-millionaire

Einfach means simple or single:
eine einfache Fahrkarte - a single ticket
All About the Verb -->