German numbers and what you need to know

Eins, zwei, drei … Do you know how to continue? German numbers are an integral part of learning the language and are one of the first things students should study. To be able to count in German, you should know the correct vocabulary and especially how to count, as it is different from English numbers. If you are planning on traveling to a German-speaking country or conversing with a German, you will need to know some numbers at some point.

Here we will provide you with a handy overview of German numbers 1-100 and beyond.

Counting in German from 0 to 10

Let’s start right with the basics and the first numbers you will ever need to know.

NumberGermanEnglish
0nullzero
1einsone
2zweitwo
3dreithree
4vierfour
5fünffive
6sechssix
7siebenseven
8achteight
9neunnine
10zehnten

Next up are the numbers 11 to 20. As you can see, numbers 13 to 19 are close to the English numbers in the sense that, for example, four is followed by ten, making it fourteen. This will be especially relevant in the next section.

NumberGermanEnglish
11elfeleven
12zwölftwelve
13dreizehnthirteen
14vierzehnfourteen
15fünfzehnfifteen
16sechszehnsixteen
17siebzehnseventeen
18achtzehneighteen
19neunzehnnineteen
20zwanzigtwenty
30dreißigthirty
40vierzigforty
50fünfzigfifty
60sechzigsixty
70siebzigseventy
80achtzigeighty
90neunzigninety
100einhundert (hundert)one hundred (hundred)
1000eintausend (tausend)one thousand
10.000zehntausendten thousand
100.000hunderttausendone hundred thousand
1.000.000eine Millionone million
1.000.000.000eine Milliardeone billion

The numbers between 20 and 99 are particularly tricky. Here is why:

Whereas in English you would start with the tens followed by the single-digit number (43 equals forty-three), in German it is reversed. You first state the smaller number, followed by the tens (35 equals fünfunddreißig equals five and thirty).

More examples are below:

NumberGermanEnglish
22zweiundzwanzig (2 and 20)twenty-two
34vierunddreißig (4 and 30)thirty-four
45fünfundvierzig (5 and 40)forty-five
76sechsundsiebzig (6 and 70)seventy-six
158einhundertachtundfünfzig (100 and 8 and 50)one hundred fifty-eight
220zweihundertzwanzigtwo hundred twenty

Ordinal numbers in German

We encounter ordinal numbers on a daily basis, whether for stating the date or anything else that lists the position of something. It is important to keep in mind that the different genders in the German language affect the ordinal numbers. In the table below, you will see three options for German, presenting the masculine, feminine, and neutral form. To summarize the rules, numbers get the ending -ter, -te, or -tes, with the exception of the number 1, just as English ordinal numbers higher than 3 get the ending -th.

This is how German ordinal numbers are formed:

Ordinal numberGerman (masculine/feminine/neutral)English
1sterster/ erste/ erstesfirst
2ndzweiter/ zweite/ zweitessecond
3rddritter/ dritte/ drittesthird
4thvierter/ vierte/ viertesfourth
5thfünfter/ fünfte/ fünftesfifth
6thsechster/ sechste/ sechstessixth
7thsiebenter/ siebente/ siebentesseventh
8thachter/ achte/ achteseighth
9thneunter/ neunte/ neuntesninth
10thzehnter/ zehnte/ zehntestenth
11thelfter/ elfte/ elfteseleventh

The gender of these ordinal numbers is defined by the noun following it. Here are some examples:

GermanEnglish
Erster Tag (m.)First day
Zweites Interview (n.)Second interview
Dritte Welt (f.)Third world
Vierte Welle (f.)Fourth wave
Siebtes Weltwunder (n.)Seventh wonder of the world

How to continue once you have reached einhundert? Any number above 100 is simply a combination of those we already mentioned. Break it up into easily digestible parts to say it out loud. Use these examples:

NumberGermanHow to say it?
154einhundertvierundfünfzig100 + 4 + 50
2015zweitausendfünfzehn2000 + 5 + 10
3587dreitausendfünfhundertsiebenundachtzig3000 + 500 + 7 + 80
10.006zehntausendundsechs10,000 + 6
5.500.000fünfeinhalb Millionen5 + 1/2 + million

Counting in German

Image source

Paying the right price

If you are planning to visit Germany, you should be aware that a lot of shops and merchants still prefer cash payments. Therefore, it is good to know what price is being asked. When it comes to money, numbers in Germany are quite easy.

Example:

The price for a snack on the street may be 3,50 euros. It will be pronounced as 3 Euro 50 (Cents): drei Euro fünfzig.

At the supermarket till, you might hear a total of 14,85 euros as vierzehn Euro fünfundachtzig.

Writing down the correct telephone number

Telephone numbers are pretty straightforward in German, as you can simply read every single digit as is. A typical mobile number has this format: 0175 1234567. Therefore, you can say: null eins sieben fünf eins zwei drei vier fünf sechs sieben.

Practice makes perfect

Don’t be afraid to count in German. The only real obstacle might be getting the numbers between 20 and 99 right, and once you have mastered that, nothing will hold you back. In addition to this overview, you can find numerous lessons on Lingvist to improve or get started with your German skills. Simply download our free app and tailor the courses as you need them.

Get more from Lingvist

We have created an app that gets the most out of Lingvist and your device. Download the app and enjoy Lingvist at its best.