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German for Beginners
Lesson 12B

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
Februar February
April April
September September
Oktober October
November November
Dezember December
Months: Latin-Deutsch-English
Time and Calendar Glossary
English-German Glossaries

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
Jahreszeit Monate
der Frühling
das Frühjahr
(Adj.) frühlingshaft
März, April, Mai
im Frühling - in the spring
der Sommer
(Adj.) sommerlich
Juni, Juli, August
im Sommer - in the summer
der Herbst
(Adj.) herbstlich
Sept., Okt., Nov.
im Herbst - in the fall/autumn
der Winter
(Adj.) winterlich
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.

When you're ready,
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
Englisch Deutsch
in August
(in June, October, etc.)
im August
(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)
Englisch Deutsch
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
der einundzwanzigste
am einundzwanzigsten/21.
31 the thirty-first
on the thirty-first/31st
der einunddreißigste
am einunddreißigsten/31.
For more about the numbers in German, see our German Numbers page.

German Numbers
For more about the ordinal and cardinal numbers in German.

Exercises for this Lesson (12B)

Part 1 of this Lesson (12A)
Days, time expressions and the dative.

NEXT > Next Lesson (Lektion 13)

BACK > Previous Lesson (Lektion 11)

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Date and Time Glossary
An annotated English-German glossary of vocabulary having to do with the calendar and the clock.

German Numbers
The cardinal and ordinal numbers in German.

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