German Numbers

By OptiLingo

Learn how to count in German. This free online German lesson covers German numbers, including both German cardinals and German ordinals.

One of the basics to cover when learning a foreign language is understanding how numbers are represented in that language. In the German language, numbers are pretty straightforward – especially if you already speak English. Like many languages around the world, German cardinal numbers use the Arabic number system, just like English. So the number “1” is written exactly the same in German as it is in English, as are all the other numbers.

So why did I use that fancy word, “German cardinal number” before? Well that’s because in every language, cardinal numbers and ordinal numbers are totally different, and this represents a challenge for every students, at least at the beginning. But do not worry, challenges in learning German are there to be overcome, and with practice, everybody can master German numbers.

So, let’s begin by learning what exactly means to talk about an ordinal number or about a cardinal number. German cardinal numbers are regular mathematical numbers like 1, 2, 5, 50, 500, 1,047 and so on. German cardinal numbers count specific items and are used in mathematics.

Cardinal numbers in German are easy to learn, especially if you use the following table:

0

null

10

zehn

20

zwanzig

200

zweihundert

1

eins

11

elf

30

dreißig

266

zweihundertsechsundsechzig

2

zwei

12

zwölf

40

vierzig

1000

tausend

3

drei

13

dreizehn

50

fünfzig

1008

tausendacht

4

vier

14

vierzehn

60

sechzig

200000

zweihunderttausend

5

fünf

15

fünfzehn

70

siebzig

1000000

eine Million

6

sechs

16

sechzehn

80

achtzig

2000000

zwei Millionen

7

sieben

17

siebzehn

90

neunzig

1 billion

eine Milliarde

8

acht

18

achtzehn

100

hundert

1 trillion

eine Billion

9

neun

19

neunzehn

101

hunderteins

 

As you can observe, the big challenge is learning the first nineteen numbers as they are totally different from one another. But once you get to twenty (zwanzig), you only have to add the word “und” (and) and one of the first nine numbers (1-9) to the the numbers representing the tens. Let’s see some examples:

32: zweiunddreißig

44: vierundvierzig

68: achtundsechzig

99: neunundneunzig

So can do that until you get to one-hundred (hundert). Then you simply add the following numbers as with the numbers representing the tens.

108: hundertacht

134: hundertvierunddreißig

182: hundertzweiundachtzig

196: hundertsechsundneunzig

German ordinal numbers, on the other hand, are not used to count, but to show order. Ordinal numbers also exist in English, and as in any other language, they are used to describe a list of things. Examples of ordinal numbers in English are “first” and “second” and “fifth” and so on.

Here’s a short list of ordinal numbers in the German language:

First: erster

Second: zweiter

Third: dritter

Fourth: vierter

Fifth: fünfter

Sixth: sechster

Seventh: siebter

Eigth: achter

Ninth: neunter

Tenth: zehnter

Twentieth: zwanzigster

Thirtieth: dreißigster

Fortieth: vierzigster

Fiftieth: fünfzigster

Sixtieth: sechzigster

Seventieth: siebzigster

Eightieth: achtzigster

Ninetieth: neunzigster

Hundredth: hunderster

To form other cardinal numbers, you simple add the first nine ordinal numbers to the units of ten.

11th: elfter

24th: vierundzwanzigster

45th: fünfundvierzigster

99th: neunundneunzigster