German numbers

Numbers are an important part of any language, and German is no exception. If you are just starting your journey with learning German, numerals from 0 to 100 is one of the first topics you’ll learn.

Whether you are taking a short trip to Germany or trying to refresh your knowledge of the German language, remember to take your time with this topic. After all, numbers are used in everyday conversation, in addresses, in phone numbers, and in many other contexts. Knowing German numbers will ensure you have the most effective communication with native speakers.

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s explore the topic of German numbers and help you get the hang of some tricky combinations. Read on.

0 to 10

The numbers from 0 to 10 are some of the first ones you will learn in German. They are used frequently in everyday conversation, so it is important to know them well.

Fortunately, counting from 0 to 10 in German is pretty easy. You will have to memorize them, but these basic numbers are short and simple. Let's have a look (and listen) at them:

numberpronunciation
0 null
1 eins
2 zwei
3 drei
4 vier
5 fünf
6 sechs
7 sieben
8 acht
9 neun
10 zehn
numberpronunciation
0 null
1 eins
2 zwei
3 drei
4 vier
5 fünf
6 sechs
7 sieben
8 acht
9 neun
10 zehn

Pretty simple, right? Now, repeat them a few more times today and tomorrow to make sure these basic numerals stay in your German vocabulary for longer.

11 to 19

German numbers

The second group of numbers we will look at is from 11 to 19. This is where the situation gets a little bit complicated, but worry not: there is a certain pattern that numbers in this group follow.

Most of these numbers only require one additional syllable to be added to the previous group: you take the first four letters of the number between three and nine and add the word zehn (ten) to them. The only exceptions are numbers eleven and twelve, which you'll have to memorize. All the other numbers follow the same pattern.

numberpronunciation
11 elf
12 zwölf
13 dreizehn
14 vierzehn
15 fünfzehn
16 sechszehn
17 siebzehn
18 achtzehn
19 neunzehn
numberpronunciation
11 elf
12 zwölf
13 dreizehn
14 vierzehn
15 fünfzehn
16 sechszehn
17 siebzehn
18 achtzehn
19 neunzehn

20 to 90: Multiplied by 10

The next group we will look at, 20 to 90, is again very easy to remember, as it follows another similar pattern of naming numbers. Here, the German language uses a multiplier (basic numbers from 4 to 9) and adds a -zig suffix.

Most of the numbers in this group are regular, but 20 and 30 are exceptions: twenty is zwanzig, and thirty is dreiiβig.

Let's take a look at the list – read and repeat:

NumberPronunciation
20 zwanzig
30 dreißig
40 vierzig
50 fünfzig
60 sechzig
70 siebzig
80 achtzig
90 neunzig
NumberPronunciation
20 zwanzig
30 dreißig
40 vierzig
50 fünfzig
60 sechzig
70 siebzig
80 achtzig
90 neunzig

Now you know all the basics – pretty simple, right? But, these numbers in German were just the beginning – let’s move to more complex cases.

Complex Numbers: 21, 22, 23…

German numbers

In German, when you want to talk about a number that is not just a single digit, the process of constructing that number gets a bit more complicated. But, don't worry – with a little practice, you'll be able to handle numbers like 21, 22, or 23 with ease.

Fortunately, all the complex numbers in German follow the same pattern. Here are some points:

  • In English, we are used to saying “twenty-one,” “twenty-two,” etc. when it comes to complex nouns. In German, however, it would be the other way round: “one and twenty,” “two and twenty,” etc..
  • In English, numbers are written with a dash. In German, they are combined into one big compound word.

Getting used to swapping around may take some time, as well as remembering to write everything as one word. But, with a little practice, you will learn German numbers fluently. Moreover, if you ask us, French numbers are much more complicated.

Now, let’s practice a bit with twenties:

NumberFormulaPronunciation
21 one + and + twenty einundzwanzig
22 two + and + twenty zweiundzwanzig
23 three + and + twenty dreiundzwanzig
24 four + and + twenty vierundzwanzig
25 five + and + twenty fünfundzwanzig
26 six + and + twenty sechsundzwanzig
27 seven + and + twenty siebenundzwanzig
28 eight + and + twenty achtundzwanzig
29 nine + and + twenty neunundzwanzig
NumberFormulaPronunciation
21 one + and + twenty einundzwanzig
22 two + and + twenty zweiundzwanzig
23 three + and + twenty dreiundzwanzig
24 four + and + twenty vierundzwanzig
25 five + and + twenty fünfundzwanzig
26 six + and + twenty sechsundzwanzig
27 seven + and + twenty siebenundzwanzig
28 eight + and + twenty achtundzwanzig
29 nine + and + twenty neunundzwanzig

Now, are you ready for the whole list? Here are the remaining complex numbers in German:

30s:

NumberPronunciation
31 einunddreiβig
32 zweiunddreiβig
33 dreiunddreiβig
34 vierunddreiβig
35 fünfunddreiβig
36 sechsunddreiβig
37 siebenunddreiβig
38 achtunddreiβig
39 neununddreiβig
NumberPronunciation
31 einunddreiβig
32 zweiunddreiβig
33 dreiunddreiβig
34 vierunddreiβig
35 fünfunddreiβig
36 sechsunddreiβig
37 siebenunddreiβig
38 achtunddreiβig
39 neununddreiβig

40s:

NumberPronunciation
41 einundvierzig
42 zweiundvierzig
43 dreiundvierzig
44 vierundvierzig
45 fünfundvierzig
46 sechsundvierzig
47 siebenundvierzig
48 achtundvierzig
49 neunundvierzig
NumberPronunciation
41 einundvierzig
42 zweiundvierzig
43 dreiundvierzig
44 vierundvierzig
45 fünfundvierzig
46 sechsundvierzig
47 siebenundvierzig
48 achtundvierzig
49 neunundvierzig

50s:

NumberPronunciation
51 einundfünfzig
52 zweiundfünfzig
53 dreiundfünfzig
54 vierundfünfzig
55 fünfundfünfzig
56 sechsundfünfzig
57 siebenundfünfzig
58 achtundfünfzig
59 neunundfünfzig
NumberPronunciation
51 einundfünfzig
52 zweiundfünfzig
53 dreiundfünfzig
54 vierundfünfzig
55 fünfundfünfzig
56 sechsundfünfzig
57 siebenundfünfzig
58 achtundfünfzig
59 neunundfünfzig

60s:

NumberPronunciation
61 einundsechzig
62 zweiundsechzig
63 dreiundsechzig
64 vierundsechzig
65 fünfundsechzig
66 sechsundsechzig
67 siebenundsechzig
68 achtundsechzig
69 neunundsechzig
NumberPronunciation
61 einundsechzig
62 zweiundsechzig
63 dreiundsechzig
64 vierundsechzig
65 fünfundsechzig
66 sechsundsechzig
67 siebenundsechzig
68 achtundsechzig
69 neunundsechzig

70s:

NumberPronunciation
71 einundsiebzig
72 zweiundsiebzig
73 dreiundsiebzig
74 vierundsiebzig
75 fünfundsiebzig
76 sechsundsiebzig
77 siebenundsiebzig
78 achtundsiebzig
79 neunundsiebzig
NumberPronunciation
71 einundsiebzig
72 zweiundsiebzig
73 dreiundsiebzig
74 vierundsiebzig
75 fünfundsiebzig
76 sechsundsiebzig
77 siebenundsiebzig
78 achtundsiebzig
79 neunundsiebzig

80ies:

NumberPronunciation
81 einundachtzig
82 zweiundachtzig
83 dreiundachtzig
84 vierundachtzig
85 fünfundachtzig
86 sechsundachtzig
87 siebenundachtzig
88 achtundachtzig
89 neunundachtzig
NumberPronunciation
81 einundachtzig
82 zweiundachtzig
83 dreiundachtzig
84 vierundachtzig
85 fünfundachtzig
86 sechsundachtzig
87 siebenundachtzig
88 achtundachtzig
89 neunundachtzig

90ies:

NumberPronunciation
91 einundneunzig
92 zweiundneunzig
93 dreiundneunzig
94 vierundneunzig
95 fünfundneunzig
96 sechsundneunzig
97 siebenundneunzig
98 achtundneunzig
99 neunundneunzig
NumberPronunciation
91 einundneunzig
92 zweiundneunzig
93 dreiundneunzig
94 vierundneunzig
95 fünfundneunzig
96 sechsundneunzig
97 siebenundneunzig
98 achtundneunzig
99 neunundneunzig

100 to 1000

And now, back to the simpler topic: hundreds. In order to form them, you just need the word “hundred”:

NumberPronunciation
100 einhundert
NumberPronunciation
100 einhundert

And to it, add the multiplier:

200 zweihundert
300 dreihundert
400 vierhundert
500 fünfhundert
600 sechshundert
700 siebenhundert
800 achthundert
900 neunhundert
200 zweihundert
300 dreihundert
400 vierhundert
500 fünfhundert
600 sechshundert
700 siebenhundert
800 achthundert
900 neunhundert

As you can see, it's a lot like in English.

And, with the thousands, the pattern continues:

NumberPronunciation
1000 eintausend
2000 zweitausend
3000 dreitausend
NumberPronunciation
1000 eintausend
2000 zweitausend
3000 dreitausend

etc...

What About Bigger Numbers?

German numbers

When it comes to bigger complex numbers, the situation is a bit different than with simple complex numbers such as twenty. German speakers just put the numbers together and create longer and longer strings, all written as one word. For example:

NumberPronunciation
125 einhundertfünfundzwanzig
3699 dreitausendsechshundertneunundneunzig
NumberPronunciation
125 einhundertfünfundzwanzig
3699 dreitausendsechshundertneunundneunzig

The only exception is when it comes to years – when pronouncing them, German speakers would say something like “nineteen hundred” instead of “one thousand nine hundred.” Like here:

1964 neunzehnhundertvierundsechzig
1964 neunzehnhundertvierundsechzig

A Complicated Topic: “One” in German

There are quite a few words for “one” in German, as the number has a few different meanings. A German dictionary can show you different translations for the English word “one”: ein, eins, eine, einen, einer, einem, eines, or even man. So, what should you use, and when?

  • When counting something, you will always use the number “eins” – the one we’ve learned above. As in:

German

English

Eins, zwei, drei...

One, two, three…

  • When you’re referring to anything else or want to fit this word into a sentence, you have to use the endings that correspond to the German adjectives demanding on the gender and case, eg. ein, eine, einen, einem, einer, eines.

German

English

Unter unserem Haus steht ein Auto.

There is one car under our house.

  • When using “one” as an impersonal pronoun, you will use the appropriate German pronoun “man.”

German

English

Man könnte meinen, ich kenne die Antwort.

One might think, I know the answer.

Write Them Down Correctly: Period or Comma?

English speakers often get confused about how to write down German numbers (when written as numerals, of course): with a period, or with a comma? There are just two rules you need to remember here:

  • A comma in German is used as a decimal separator:

German

English

10,5 Stunden

10,5 hours

  • On the other hand, the period is used as a thousand separator:

German

English

10.000 Meilen

10,000 miles

Cardinal and Ordinal Numbers in German: The Basics

German numbers

Now that you know all the German cardinal numbers by heart (or at least are familiar with the general patterns), it won’t be hard to construct ordinal numbers. All you need is to take your cardinal number and add a suffix -te. Like this:

EnglishGerman
second zweite
fourth vierte
fifth fünfte
EnglishGerman
second zweite
fourth vierte
fifth fünfte

Of course, there are some exceptions, so here are the four most important ones:

EnglishGerman
first erste
third dritte
seventh siebte
eighth achte
EnglishGerman
first erste
third dritte
seventh siebte
eighth achte

Final Thoughts on Numbers in the German Language

In this article, we've covered the basics of German numbers — how to use and pronounce them, as well as when to use which form. We also took a look at some more complex examples, such as bigger numbers and year dates.

With these basic tools in your arsenal, you're now ready to tackle anything from simple counting exercises to reading menus in restaurants. Good luck!