German for Beginners
The Calendar and Appointments
The Months, Dates and Seasons
In this section of Lesson 12 we look at the months, the seasons, and how to say a calendar date in German. In the list of months below, you can see that the English and German are either close or identical, but note the pronunication shown for some of the months.
Druckversion - Printer version
|Die Monate - The Months|
Time and Calendar Glossary
The months are all masculine gender (der). There are two words used for July. Juli (YOO-LEE) is the standard form, but German-speakers often say Julei (YOO-LYE) to avoid confusion with Juni - in much the same way that zwo is used for zwei.
Before we talk more about the months, let's also look at the four seasons, die vier Jahreszeiten.
|Die Jahreszeiten - The Seasons|
|März, April, Mai
im Frühling - in the spring
|Juni, Juli, August
im Sommer - in the summer
|Sept., Okt., Nov.
im Herbst - in the fall/autumn
|Dez., Jan., Feb.
im Winter - in the winter
The seasons are all masculine gender (except for das Frühjahr, another word for spring). The months for each season above are, of course, for the northern hemisphere where Germany and the other German-speaking countries lie.
When speaking of a season in general ("Autumn is my favorite season."), in German you almost always use the article: "Der Herbst ist meine Lieblingsjahreszeit." The adjectival forms shown above translate as "springlike, springy," "summerlike" or "autumnal, falllike" (sommerliche Temperaturen = "summerlike/summery temperatures"). In some cases, the noun form is used as a prefix, as in die Winterkleidung = "winter clothing" or die Sommermonate = "the summer months." The prepositional phrase im (in dem) is used for all the seasons when you want to say, for instance, "in (the) spring" (im Frühling). This is the same as for the months.
don't forget to try the
Exercises for This Page
More on the Months
To say "in May" or "in November" you use the prepositional phrase im Mai or im November. (The word im is a contraction of in and dem, the dative form of der.) To give a date, such as "on July 4th," you use am (as with the days) and the ordinal number (4th, 5th): am vierten Juli, usually written am 4. Juli. The period after the number represents the -ten ending on the number and is the same as the -th, -rd, or -nd ending used for English ordinal numbers.
Note that numbered dates in German (and in all of the European languages) are always written in the order of day, month, year - rather than month, day, year. For example, in German the date 1/6/01 would be written 6.1.01 (which is Epiphany or Three Kings, the 6th of January 2001). This is the logical order, moving from the smallest unit (the day) to the largest (the year). To review the ordinal numbers, see our German Numbers page. Here are some commonly used phrases for the months and calendar dates:
|Calendar Date Phrases|
(in June, October, etc.)
(im Juni, Oktober, usw.)
|on June 14th (spoken)
on June 14, 2001 (written)
|am vierzehnten Juni
am 14. Juni 2001 - 14.7.01
|on the first of May (spoken)
on May 1, 2001 (written)
|am ersten Mai
am 1. Mai 2001 - 1.5.01
|To review the cardinal numbers, see Lektion 7 and Lektion 8.
For the ordinal numbers, see below and our German Numbers page.
The ordinal numbers are so-called because they express the order in a series, in this case for dates. But the same principle applies to the "first door" (die erste Tür) or the "fifth element" (das fünfte Element).
In most cases, the ordinal number is the cardinal number with a -te or -ten ending. Just as in English, some German numbers have irregular ordinals: one/first (eins/erste) or three/third (drei/dritte). Below is a sample chart with ordinal numbers that would be required for dates. For all of the ordinal numbers in German, see our German Numbers page. (Audio for German Numbers)
|Sample Ordinal Numbers (Dates)|
|1 the first - on the first/1st||der erste - am ersten/1.|
|2 the second - on the second/2nd||der zweite - am zweiten/2.|
|3 the third - on the third/3rd||der dritte - am dritten/3.|
|4 the fourth - on the fourth/4th||der vierte - am vierten/4.|
|5 the fifth - on the fifth/5th||der fünfte - am fünften/5.|
|6 the sixth - on the sixth/6th||der sechste - am sechsten/6.|
|11 the eleventh
on the eleventh/11th
|der elfte - am elften/11.|
|21 the twenty-first
on the twenty-first/21st
|31 the thirty-first
on the thirty-first/31st
|For more about the numbers in German, see our German Numbers page.|
For more about the ordinal and cardinal numbers in German.
Part 1 of this Lesson (12A)
Days, time expressions and the dative.
NEXT > Next Lesson (Lektion 13)
BACK > Previous Lesson (Lektion 11)
Date and Time Glossary
An annotated English-German glossary of vocabulary having to do with the calendar and the clock.
The cardinal and ordinal numbers in German.
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