Say you’re in Germany, happily calling your language school to make an appointment for your evaluation to see what level you belong in.
“We have your evaluation scheduled for [indistinct sound],” the receptionist says.
What? What did he say? You ask him to repeat it.
“It’s scheduled for [indistinct sound] Tag,” he says.
Okay, you know that Tag means “day,” but which day?
With this handy guide, you’ll not only learn the days of the week in German, but also five fun ways to practice them, interesting cultural info and the must-know related grammatical points.
Plus, at just seven words which you’ll use almost every day, you’ll be so glad to have mastered the German week early on.
Ready to learn? All right: Heute (today), let’s learn the Tage (days) of the Woche (week).
The German Words for the Days of the Week
To begin, here are the seven days of the week in German, linked to an audio of their pronunciations.
- Montag (Monday)
- Dienstag (Tuesday)
- Mittwoch (Wednesday)
- Donnerstag (Thursday)
- Freitag (Friday)
- Samstag (Saturday)
- Sonntag (Sunday)
Must-know Grammatical Info About the German Days of the Week
All right, I know I said above that you only had to use seven words, but it’s German, so things are slightly more complicated than that. You also need to know a few grammatical rules, such as:
- Use am (on) to denote that something is happening on a particular day.
If you want to say something is happening on Monday, or something happened on Tuesday this week, you only need one little word: am. Simply say am Montag (on Monday), am Dienstag (on Tuesday), etc.
- The days of the week are usually capitalized, but in some cases they are not.
Like most German nouns, the days of the week are capitalized—in almost all cases. The one exception: If you want to say that something happens on Mondays generally, or that you go to a specific gym class on Wednesdays, for example, you don’t capitalize the day of the week—but you do add an “s” to make it plural.
So, for example, you could say, “Ich gehe montags in die Klasse” (I go to class Mondays).
- All the days of the week are masculine.
All days of the week are masculine, which mean they take masculine articles: der (the) and ein (a).
- Use von … bis … to denote “from … to …”
Want to say “From Monday to Thursday”? You just need two more little words: von (from) and bis (to).
You can say:
Von Montag bis Donnerstag, bin ich in Kopenhagen.
(From Monday to Thursday, I am in Copenhagen.)
- There are abbreviations for days of the week.
Finally, German days of the week have abbreviations just like English days of the week do. They are:
Mo, Montag (Mon.)
Di, Dienstag (Tues.)
Mi, Mittwoch, (Wed.)
Do, Donnerstag (Thurs.)
Fr, Freitag (Fri.)
Sa, Samstag (Sat.)
So, Sonntag (Sun.)
Cultural Info About the German Days of the Week
Although Germany comes from the same general European culture as many factions of the United States, there are still differences between the German and American approaches to work and family tradition.
One main arena where that manifests itself is in the German approach to Sundays. Almost all stores are forbidden from opening on Sundays in Germany, making the day a sacrosanct time for family.
Many German families spend Sundays eating cake and coffee in cafes, taking strolls if the weather cooperates, and decidedly not shopping or working.
To get more of a window on the German week—and to hear the days of the week, along with other important vocabulary, pronounced by natives from all over the German-speaking world—try FluentU.
With so many videos that you could watch a different one every day of the week for years to come, FluentU is an immersive way to progress from the days of the week to complete German fluency.
5 Useful Tips for Quickly Mastering the German Days of the Week
Ready to master these Wochentage (days of the week)? Follow these five tips and you’ll be an expert in no time.
1. Call on your English knowledge.
Okay, here’s the great thing about learning German as an English speaker. German and English are very, very similar languages. The two are practically cousins, coming from the same West Germanic branch of the linguistic family tree.
Consequently, four out of the seven days of the week in German sound remarkably like their English equivalents. Montag, Freitag, Samstag, Sonntag? If you squint, these are practically Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You’re already more than halfway there.
2. Start thinking of the days of the week in German.
If there’s one way to really ingrain German vocabulary into your consciousness, it’s by using it on a daily basis, in your everyday life. The good news is that it’s very easy to do this with the days of the week. Here’s how:
- Buy a German calendar. Okay, not many people use calendars anymore, but I guarantee that if you buy a German one and hang it in your kitchen, you’ll quickly learn the days of the week.
- Put your Gmail and Facebook in German. I did this soon after I moved to Germany, and although at first I couldn’t figure out how to tag a photo or attach a message to an email, I quickly learned that vocabulary out of sheer necessity. The days of the week are the same. 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. You know how iPhones say the day of the week and date right on the front screen? 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. Every time. Think about it.
3. Learn a German children’s song.
These songs are silly, but they really do help. Think about how nursery songs and other little nonsensical ditties helped you learn English when you were a child.
Check out this song or this less childish version and start humming along.
4. Write practice sentences.
Since more than half of the German days of the week sound a lot like their English equivalents, learning to say them is usually pretty easy. But you also have to learn to spell them, and that’s where writing practice sentences comes in.
Practice with am (on).
Write a few sentences practicing how to say “on Wednesday, I did [something].” For example:
Am Samstag, habe ich mich mit einer Freundin getroffen.
(On Saturday, I met a friend.)
Am Donnerstag, habe ich Lebensmittel gekauft.
(On Thursday, I bought groceries.)
Write out your whole week this way!
Practice with von…bis (from…to).
Craft some sentences that explain that you did something from one day of the week until another. For example:
Von Dienstag bis Mittwoch, bin ich in London.
(I’m in London from Tuesday through Wednesday.)
Von Donnerstag bis Samstag, besucht meine Mutter.
(From Thursday through Saturday, my mother is visiting.)
Practice with saying that something typically happens on a day of the week.
Write some sentences where you don’t capitalize the days of the week, and instead say that something typically happens on Mondays or Tuesdays, for example.
Montags esse ich Salat.
(I eat salad on Mondays).
Er ruft seine Eltern sonntags an.
(He calls his parents on Sundays).
5. Test yourself by making an appointment.
Of course, you can’t know for sure whether you’ve truly mastered the days of the week until you try out your new skills. That means you should consider:
- Calling the doctor’s office. Make an appointment to get a physical or to ask a doctor that medical question that’s been bothering you for awhile. Even if you don’t know very much German, you can throw in the day of the week you’d like to have your appointment. And if you do know more German, use this as an opportunity to brush up on your medical vocabulary as well.
- Make an appointment with the German city office. If you ever move to Germany, remember that one of the first things you’ll have to do is register your address so the government knows where to find you if they need to. To register, you’ll have to make an appointment with your local administrative office. What better way to practice the days of the week?
- If you don’t live in Germany, call your local language school and sign up—in German! All right, chances are you might not live in Germany right now, but that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook! Call your local language school and ask them what days of the week they hold their beginner classes. But don’t ask them in English! Ask them in German and see if you understand their response.
If you follow these five tips, you’ll master the days of the week in German in no time, and then you can move on to the months, the seasons and beyond!
And One More Thing...
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