German numbers

The Importance of German Numbers

Whether you want to do business in Germany or count the endless numbers of exceptions in German grammar – German numbers are an essential part of this language. It simply doesn’t matter how hard you try to avoid them, they will always find you.

Well, you actually have to know German numbers for the most essential things. First, you will need counting in every job in Germany. Even if your word is not connected with numbers, you will have to interact with other people who speak German! Furthermore, I think that you’d love to control you finances when you travel. Just be conscious about the fact that it is a lot harder for other to play tricks on you if you know German numbers. There are also many other area where you need German numbers: For example, recipes, telling the time, when you ask for directions and if you’d like to order more than only one beer.

So, let’s face the enemy and start right ahead with a detailed look on German numbers! By the way, on we have even more articles about German grammar and culture. Just browse on the website and will you find all the topic.

German Numbers

German Numbers

The German Numbers from 1 to 20

So, let’s go right to the most most important part, the direct translation of German number from one to twenty.

  • eins – one – 1
  • zwei – two – 2
  • drei – three – 3
  • vier – four – 4
  • fünf – five – 5
  • sechs – six – 6
  • sieben – seven – 7
  • acht – eight – 8
  • neun – nine – 9
  • zehn – ten – 10
  • elf – eleven – 11
  • zwölf – twelve – 12
  • dreizehn – thirteen – 13
  • vierzehn – fourteen – 14
  • fünfzehn – fifteen – 15
  • sechszehn – sixteen – 16
  • siebzehn – seventeen – 17
  • achtzehn – eighteen – 18
  • neunzehn – nineteen -19
  • zwanzig – twenty – 20

For sure, you have noticed, that there is certain structure in the German numbers from “dreizehn” until “neunzehn”. These numbers are so called compound nouns. Luckily, we can offer you to have a look on our article about German nouns, in case you are interested to get to know more about this topic.

The German Numbers from 21 to 99

Unfortunately, after teaching the German number “zwanzig”, it becomes quite different compared to the numbers in English. Actually,  it is no big deal: The trick is to build the word for the German number in the completely opposite way you would do it in English. So, this means that the smaller number is followed by the higher number. As an example, look at the number “zwei – und – zwanzig”, which can literally be translated by “two – and – twenty”.  Well, by knowing this order and the “und” between them, it should be no problem for you to form the numbers from 21 to 99. Here is the list with the German numbers and their translation.

  • einundzwanzig – twenty-one – 21
  • zweiundzwanzig – twenty-two – 22
  • dreiundzwanzig – twenty-three – 23
  • vierundzwanzig – twenty-four – 24
  • fünfundzwazig – twenty-five – 25
  • sechsundzwanzig – twenty-six – 26
  • siebenundzwanzig – twenty-seven – 27
  • achtundzwanzig – twenty-eight – 28
  • neunundzwanzig – twenty-nine – 29
  • dreißig – thirty – 30

From now on, it is getting quite easy until we reach the German number 99. All the numbers are formed in the same way I described about. So, the only thing you have to learn by heart are the following numbers.

  • dreißig – thirty – 30
  • vierzig – forty – 40
  • fünfizig – fifty – 50
  • sechzig – sixty – 60
  • siebzig – seventy – 70
  • achtzig – eighty – 80
  • neunzig – ninety – 90

Please, Notice how the teens are slightly different from the way you’d say numbers like 20 and 30. Zehn (ten) is placed at the end of each word for the teens, while zig or ßig (umpteen) is put at the end for higher numbers.

The German Numbers from 100, 1000, 10000, 1000000 and Beyond from That

Well, once we have reached the number one hundred, it becomes far more logical to form German numbers. By the way, did you know that all the German numbers have the feminine article “die”?  Anyway, let’s come back to our list.

  • einhundert – one-hundred – 100
  • eintausend – one-thousand – 1000
  • zehntausend – ten-thousand – 10000
  • einhunderttausend – one-hundred-thousand – 100000
  • eine Million – one million – 1000000

However, keep in mind that when counting in this high range of numbers, you still use the same structure if you have numbers like 22 or 45 tagged onto the end of the 1,000 or 10,000. For example:

  • tausendzweihundertzweiundzwanzig – one-thousand-two-hundred-twenty-two – 1222

Of course, there is a low probability that you will have to count to one million in German. Nevertheless, it is really useful to know these high numbers when doing business.
So, now you know how German numbers work. But how – in God’s name – should you remember all the number? In the following, I’d like to give you some advice that will hopefully help you to learn this part of German language more easily.

Tricks for learning German Numbers

Of course, it is quite difficult to remember all these different numbers as many of them are quite weird from an English-speaking point of view. Nevertheless, there are some tricks that can make it easier to learn German numbers.

  1. First, you could watch from time to time videos, in which they count in German. This could not only help you remembering the numbers themselves but also improve your pronunciation.
  2. Second, make a song out of German numbers! Well, this might sound rather weird, but connecting numbers with a certain melody will help you to remember them
  3. Third, you could take your German counting to the gym. Whether lifting weights or doing crunches, counting your reps and sets comes into play for improving yourself physically. This is the perfect time to run through your German counting in your head or out loud.
  4. Last but not least, try to play games like monopoly in German! Logically, you will have to count your money and so practice German numbers quite frequently.

Ordinal German Numbers

As a small, last point of this article, I want to talk about ordinal numbers in German. There are some irregular words until number 20, but from then on, it becomes aboslutly regular. But have a look on the list by yourself.

Numeral Cardinal Ordinal
0 null
1 eins erste
2 zwei zweite
3 drei dritte
4 vier vierte
5 fünf fünfte
6 sechs sechste
7 sieben siebte
8 acht achte
9 neun neunte
10 zehn zehnte
11 elf elfte
12 zwölf zwölfte
13 dreizehn dreizehnte
14 vierzehn vierzehnte
15 fünfzehn fünfzehnte
16 sechzehn sechzehnte
17 siebzehn siebzehnte
18 achtzehn achtzehnte
19 neunzehn neunzehnte
20 zwanzig zwanzigste
21 einundzwanzig (-ste from here on)

Well, I think these are the basics you should know about German numbers. I hope, this article was useful to you and could give you some structured information. If you are interested in some more information about German grammar or culture, just have a look on!

3 replies
  1. Samantha L says:

    I’m getting ready to take elementary German as an elective for college this fall and this guide is awesome! Thank you so much! 🙂


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