Days of the Week in German: What They Are and How to Use Them (Plus Audio!)
There are seven important words in the German language, can you guess which words these are? The days of the week!
With this handy guide, you’ll not only learn the days of the week in German, but how to practice them, a few must-know grammatical points and interesting cultural info.
Ready to learn? All right: Heute (today), let’s learn the Tage (days) of the Woche (week).
- German Days of the Week
- German Grammar with the Days of the Week
- Tips for Learning the German Days of the Week
- And One More Thing...
German Days of the Week
To begin, here are the seven days of the week in German, along with their pronunciations.
1. Montag — Monday
As you could probably guess by the look and sound of it, Montag is Monday and the first day of the workweek.
In German, Mond means “moon,” so Montag literally means “moon-day.” As with most languages, the German days tend to correspond with celestial bodies or mythological beings.
2. Dienstag — Tuesday
The name for German’s Tuesday comes from an old Germanic god, Tyr. Tyr was actually the Germanic name for Mars, the Roman god of war.
It’s interesting to note that while the name was different, the patron god of Tuesday is the same being as many other languages and cultures such as Italian, French and Spanish.
3. Mittwoch — Wednesday
Wednesday in German is interesting because it breaks the pattern. Notice that it doesn’t end in -tag, which means “day.”
Instead, it ends in -woch, or “week.” That’s because the direct translation for this word is actually “mid-week.”
4. Donnerstag — Thursday
In English, Thursday comes from “Thor’s-day,” which is a day dedicated to the Norse god of thunder, Thor.
In German, the name for this same god is Donar, so once again we see the parallels between English and German.
5. Freitag — Friday
Another day that originates from a Norse god, Freitag is in honor of the goddess Frigg, otherwise known as Freya.
Frigg was the goddess of fertility, marriage, motherhood and the home. Her name is used for both Freitag and Friday.
6. Samstag — Saturday
While Samstag is the universal name for Saturday in German, you may also hear it be referred to as Sonnabend in northern and western Germany.
Samstag originates from a Greek word that means “sabbath.” Sonnabend means “sun-evening” and is in reference to the fact that Saturday comes before Sunday.
7. Sonntag — Sunday
Just as the English word for Sunday includes “sun,” so does the German word. Sonne is “sun” in German, so Sonntag is a variation of this.
Sunday in Germany is regarded very highly, as the culture cherishes reserving this day for spending time with family.
Almost all stores are closed on Sundays and most German families will spend the day in cafes, taking a stroll and decidedly not shopping or working.
German Grammar with the Days of the Week
There are a few grammatical rules you need to know to use the German days of the week correctly.
All the days of the week are masculine, which means they take the masculine articles der (the) and ein (a). This is usually if the word is standing on its own. As you’ll see below, the article is often not present in full sentences, just like in English.
A little trick to remember this is that the German word der Tag (the day) is masculine. German words usually take the gender of the word at the end. Mittwoch (Wednesday) is an exception, but you can just memorize that it’s masculine, too.
Use am (on) to denote that something is happening on a particular day.
Am Samstag habe ich mich mit einen Freunden getroffen. (On Saturday, I met up with my friends.)
Am Donnerstag bin ich einkaufen gegangen. (On Thursday, I went shopping.)
Use von … bis … to say “from … to …”.
Von Montag bis Donnerstag, bin ich in Kopenhagen. (From Monday to Thursday, I am in Copenhagen.)
Ich arbeite von Montag bis Freitag. (I work from Monday to Friday.)
The days of the week are usually capitalized, but in some cases they are not. If you want to say that something generally happens on a certain day, you don’t capitalize the day if it’s in the middle of the sentence. You also add an “s” at the end to make it plural and indicate regularity.
Ich gehe sonntags in die Kirche. (I go to church on Sundays.)
Samstags esse ich Pfannkuchen. (I eat pancakes on Saturdays.)
Tips for Learning the German Days of the Week
One effective way is to use authentic content so you’ll see how the days of the week are used in context.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
Here are some more out creative methods:
- Call on your English knowledge. German and English are very similar languages since they come from the same West Germanic branch of the linguistic family tree. Consequently, Montag, Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag sound remarkably like their English equivalents.
- Buy a German calendar. You may not look at it a lot, but by having it visible you’ll subconsciously be solidifying the German days in your mind.
- Put your Gmail and Facebook in German. Once you see that someone sent you a message on Donnerstag (Thursday), for example, the word will stick in your head much faster than if you simply looked at it on a flashcard.
- Put your phone in German. If you put your phone in German, that means you’ll see the day of the week auf Deutsch (in German) every single time you check your phone.
- Learn with German songs and videos. Children’s songs often include the days of the week, or at least mention them here and there. By finding a catchy tune, you can learn these words quickly. Check out this song or this less childish version and start humming along.
- Write practice sentences. Learn to spell the days of the week and then create sentences with them. One thing you can do is practice saying that something typically happens on a day of the week. For example, Ich gehe montags ins Fitnessstudio (I go to the gym on Mondays).
Knowing the German days of the week is crucial to building your core vocabulary.
Once you do, you can move on to the months, the seasons and beyond!
And One More Thing...
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