Times of Day in German

Instructor: Penelope Heinigk

Penelope holds a doctorate degree in German and a professional teaching license in the state of Colorado. She has taught middle school through university, online and live.

In this lesson, we'll learn the vocabulary words describing the time of day. This is not a lesson in telling time, but rather in the general terminology used to talk about the approximate time of day or night, such as morning and evening.

What Time Is It?

This is one of the most common questions you'll encounter. Let's face it, time runs our lives. Whether we're late for an appointment or trying to read the train schedule, knowing how to talk about time is important no matter where we are.

Telling time can get complicated in a foreign language, as it requires not only the proper expressions, but also a good working knowledge of the numbers. Fortunately, there are many ways to express time without actually looking at your watch. Before delving into reading the clock and telling the actual time, let's learn some of the more general time related expressions.

General Time Vocabulary

Here are the words indicating the approximate time of day starting in the early morning and continuing on until late at night.

Words associated with the morning:

Aschaffenburg, Germany

Castle in Aschaffenburg, Germany

die Dämmerung (pronounced: day mer ung): dawn, dusk, twilight

der Sonnenaufgang (pronounced: zone in owf gahng ): sunrise

die Frühe (pronounced: froo uh): early morning, dawn

der Morgen (pronounced: more gin): morning

der Vormittag (pronounced: for mit tahg): morning (literally meaning before noon)

Words associated with the afternoon:

Hamburg, Germany

Town Hall Clock Tower in Hamburg, Germany

der Mittag (pronounced: mit tahg ): noon, mid-day

der Nachmittag (pronounced: nahk mit tahg): afternoon

der Spätnachmittag (pronounced: shpayt nahk mit tahg): late afternoon

Words associated with the evening:

Berlin, Germany

Brandenburger Gate in Berlin, Germany

der Abend (pronounced: ah bend): evening

der Sonnenuntergang (pronounced: zun in unter gahng): sunset

die Dämmerung (pronounced: day mer ung): dawn, dusk, twilight

Words associated with nighttime:

Cologne, Germany

Cologne, Germany with a view of the Cologne Cathedral

die Nacht (pronounced: nahkt): night

die Mitternacht (pronounced: mit ter nahkt): midnight

Notice that the word Dämmerung is used for both dawn and dusk, denoting any form of twilight.


Here are some example sentences using these expressions of time:

Der Sonnenaufgang war sehr schön heute morgen.

The sunrise was very beautiful this morning.

Heute abend gehen wir ins Restaurant.

This evening we are going to the restaurant.

Wir gehen jeden Mittag spazieren.

We go for a walk every day at noon.

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