How To Write The Date In German

German is pretty close to English, as far as writing the date goes. But there’s still enough difference to confuse you when you’re learning.

When you’re traveling, dates come up quite a bit. And while many tourist destinations often do their best to accommodate English speakers, it’s not unimaginable that the thing you thought you booked for March 1 (03/01) accidentally registered as January 3 (01/03) because of how Europeans write the date. This may be an extreme example, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Knowing how to write the date in German is one of those simple (but very useful) things. It’s more than just learning vocabulary, because it requires writing all the parts of the date in a way that you’re probably not used to. Here’s a quick guide to the days and the months — and then how to put them all together — to help you as you learn German.

Days Of The Week In German

German weeks (like in most places besides the United States) start on Monday rather than Sunday.

Monday — Montag

Tuesday — Dienstag

Wednesday — Mittwoch

Thursday — Donnerstag

Friday — Freitag

Saturday — Samstag

Sunday — Sonntag

Months Of The Year In German

January — Januar

February — Februar

March — März

April — April

May — Mai

June — Juni

July — Juli

August — August

September — September

October — Oktober

November — November

December — Dezember

How To Write The Date In German

Like in English, there’s no one right way to write the date. It generally abides by one of two versions, however: the one with only numbers, and the one with words mixed in. To start, you might want to refresh yourself on the numbers in German.

The number version is pretty much like the American version of the date. Instead of using slashes, however, German uses periods, and you put the day before the month. So November 4, 1990 would be written in English as 11/4/1990, but in German as 4.11.90 (and make sure you don’t confuse this with April 11!). In addition, German dates will often be preceded by am, meaning “on,” or der, meaning “the.”

If you want to spell out the date, it’s pretty much the same except the month is spelled out. So now, instead of der 4.11.1990, it would be 4. November 1990. If you want to say this out loud, you should note that the period is kind of like the -th after English numbers. For ordinals in German, generally -te or -ten is added to the end of the number. If you want to say “November 4th” for example, it would be der vierte November, with the -te added to vier (“four”). Just like in English, there are irregular numbers, so “first” is erste and “third” is dritte. Other than that, it’s all pretty straightforward!

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