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4.6 Expressing prices and currencies

As currencies are proper nouns in German, they start with a capital letter. Many international currencies - such as der Euro and der Cent are masculine, but others are not.

der Euro
   der Cent
das Pfund
   der Dollar
der Franken
(Swiss franc) 
   der Rappen
(Swiss centime) 
der Yen
(Japanese yen) 
   der Rubel
(Russian rouble) 
die Mark
die D-Mark
die deutsche Mark
(German mark) 

Note therefore that while there are three different ways of expressing the former German currency, none of them were the word "Deutschmark" - which only existed in English!

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How to express prices
When we express prices in English, the currency itself will be in the plural if the number is greater than one e.g. "three euros and eighty cents", "two pounds fifty" etc.

In German prices however, the currency is always in the singular in prices regardless of the amount - drei Euro achtzig, zwei Pfund fünfzig. Similarly, although one euro consists of a hundred cents, the word "Cent" is only written in the singular in German prices - i.e. zwölf Euro (und) zehn Cent (= twelve euros and ten cents).

A tipNote that in written German, a comma is invariably used in prices where we would put a decimal point in English. Thus 3,99 (or 3,99 ) means "three euros and ninety-nine cents". In shops and supermarkets however, price tickets can either display a comma or a decimal point, as the price tags below display.

Tomatoes in a German market    Prices in a German supermarket
Prices in a German supermarket     Prices at a German petrol station

When a price ends in a round number of euros, as in the list of drinks prices on the board in the picture below, it is most commonly written as 5,- etc. The reverse is also true. Whereas English uses a comma to split up large numbers, German uses a decimal point. So " 2.635" means "two thousand six hundred and thirty-five euros" - not "two point six three five euros"!

A price list for German drinks

Weiter! Chapter 4.7: Numbers - 21-99

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