How to Count in German

By OptiLingo • 6 minutes read

Learn how to count in German with numbers confidently

Learn to Count With German Numbers

If you’re a native English speaker, learning German will be relatively easy to do. And you’ll see this when you’re learning German numbers. Learning how to count in German won’t be difficult, because the numbers will look very familiar. But, there are a few differences in the construction of numbers. Here’s everything you need to know about German numbers, so you can count to 100 or above easily.

German Numbers 1-10

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

As you can see, quite a few numbers in German look or sound similar to English numbers. “Vier” is very close to “four”, and there’s almost no difference between “neun” and “nine” in pronunciation. Knowing how to count to 10 in German is very important to master. You’ll hear these numbers often, and you’ll see them again when you’re counting higher numbers.

German numbers are easy to learn

Counting From 10 to 20 in German

Numeral
German number
10
zehn
11
elf
12
zwölf
13
dreizehn
14
vierzehn
15
fünfzehn
16
sechzehn
17
siebzehn
18
achtzehn
19
neunzehn
20
zwanzig

Numbers 10-20 in German are very similar, if not even easier than in English. After ten, eleven, and twelve are unique. But from 13 onwards, you can discover a pattern. Much like the “teens” in English numbers, you construct German numbers 13-19 by adding “zehn” after the numbers. And since “zehn” means ten, it’s even more straightforward than the English “teen”.

The only two exceptions are 16 and 17 in German. The “s” and the “en” disappear from “sechs” and “sieben” respectively.

Constructing German Numbers to 100

After 20, there’s a slight change in the logic of numbers in German. Here’s how you can count in German from 20 to 100:

Numeral
German number
20
zwanzig
21
einundzwanzig
22
zweiundzwanzig
23
dreiundzwanzig
24
vierundzwanzig
25
fünfundzwanzig
26
sechsundzwanzig
27
siebenundzwanzig
28
achtundzwanzig
29
neunundzwanzig
30
dreißig

Numbers 21-29 you need to construct in German. While the logic is easy to understand, you’ll need a bit of time to get used to it. If you look at 26 for example, you can see how you put it together: sechs-und-zwanzig. Literally 6 and 20. Unlike 26, where the tens come first and the ones come after, German switches it around.

You start with the ones, then add the tens, adding “und” (and) in between. No hyphens or spaces either. Just all in one word. By this logic, the following numbers look like this:

  • 33 – dreiunddreißig
  • 84 – vierundachtzig
  • 75 – fünfundsiebzig

Count in German after reading this post.

Tens in German Numbers

To make sure you can count from 1 to 100 in German easily, here are all the tens in the German number system:

Numeral
German number
10
zehn
20
zwanzig
30
dreißig
40
vierzig
50
fünfzig
60
sechzig
70
siebzig
80
achtzig
90
neunzig
100
hundert

Count to a Million in German

Well, we’re not going to show you every single German number until a million. But, we’ll show you how you can say any number even above 100.

Numeral
German number
100
einhundert
200
zweihundert
300
dreihundert
1,000
tausend
2,000
zweitausend
3,000
dreitausend
1,000,000
million
1,000,000,000
milliarde
1,000,000,000,000
billion
45,738
fünfundvierzigtausendsiebenhundertachtunddreißig (5+40,000 700 8+30)
2020
zweitausendzwanzig

For the big numbers after 100, you say them just like you would in English. First, you need to look at the first number. You say that, and you add one of the following endings depending on how many zeros are behind it:

  • hundert – hundred
  • tausend – thousand
  • hunderttausend – hundred thousand
  • million – million

The only thing you have to keep in mind is “45” for example stays the same: 5+40. So, if you want to say 45,000, you need to say (5+40,000). 

Learn how to count in German

German Ordinal Numbers

Now you know every German cardinal number. But how do you count in German with ordinal numbers? These are the numbers for ranking and putting things in order.

Ordinal numbers
German number
1st
erster
2nd
zweiter
3rd
dreiter
4th
viertel
5th
fünfter
6th
sechster
7th
siebter
8th
achter
9th
neunter
10th
zehnter
20th
zwantigster
30th
dreißigster
40th
vierzigster
50th
fünfzigster
60th
sechzigster
70th
siebzigster
80th
achtzigster
90th
neunzigster
100th
hunderster

To form other cardinal numbers, you simply need to add “-(s)ter” to the end of the number.

  • 11th: elfter
  • 24th: vierundzwanzigster
  • 45th: fünfundvierzigster
  • 99th: neunundneunzigster

Why Do You Need to Learn How to Count in German?

Numbers are a huge part of everyday life. If you talk about them in German, you need to know how what German numbers are. So, learning to count in German is a necessary skill. These are just a few of the everyday activities that you do that involve counting or numbers:

How to Learn German Numbers

While the numbers do seem and sound similar to English, learning them is still something you have to do. Here are a few tricks you can use to make your German number lesson even more successful:

  • Use spaced repetition: Spaced repetition is the key to language learning. It’s the hack to make your brain remember your lessons effectively. Once you read through all the German numbers, make sure you come back to review it in a few days. Periodically rereading your lessons makes them stick.
  • Make up numbers: German numbers get more complicated the higher they get. Make up some random numbers and try to write them down with letters. That ought to perfect your understanding of the German counting logic.
  • Say them out loud: The only way you’ll reach fluency is if you talk. So, practice saying German numbers out loud to get used to how they sound. Your German fluency won’t be far behind.

Count On Us to Learn German

Of course, to reach German fluency you need more than just knowing how to count. You need to learn common words and phrases, understand grammar, and practice speaking a lot. Luckily, you can find that all on OptiLingo.

OptiLingo is a reliable language learning app. It uses scientifically-proven methods to teach you how the locals speak German. Don’t waste time trying to cram or suffer through boring lessons. Try a fun and exciting language learning method when you download OptiLingo!

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