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9.8 The Calendar (2)

To say "on which day" something is happening, you need to use "am" followed by the date in the dative case:

  Wann / An welchem Tag gehen Sie?
(When / On which day are you going?)
Wir gehen am vierten Mai
(We're going on the fourth of May)
Wir gehen am Vierten
(We're going on the fourth)
Wir gehen am Mittwoch, dem/den vierten Mai
(We're going on Wednesday, the fourth of May)
Wir gehen am 4. Mai
(We're going on May 4th)
Wir gehen am 4.5.2008
(spoken: am vierten, fünften, zweitausendacht)

(We're going on 4th May 2008)

In the third response, you can either use the dative or the accusative of the definite article when you are giving the day of the week followed by the date. It is more formal to use the dative of the article.

Note in particular the word order when you say on what day your birthday falls. The word "Geburtstag" will always be the final element in the clause:

  • Wann hast du Geburtstag?
    (When is your birthday?)
  • Ich habe am vierten Mai Geburtstag.
    (My birthday is on the fourth of May.)

Major festivals
Click here to listen to the vocabulary being spoken!Below are a few important events in the German calendar along with the preposition that you would use when stating what you are doing on that day. Click either here or on the sound icon on the left hand side of this paragraph to hear the names of these festivals.

    zu Weihnachten
(at Christmas)
    zu Ostern
(at Easter)
    zu Pfingsten
(at Whitsun)

(In south German, "an" is often used rather than "zu" with these festivals.)

This morning/afternoon/evening
The table below gives the phrases needed to say at what part of the day you wish to do something:

heute Morgen /
heute Vormittag

(this morning)
    morgen früh
(tomorrow morning)
heute Nachmittag
(this afternoon)
    morgen Nachmittag
(tomorrow afternoon)
heute Abend
(this evening)
    morgen Abend
(tomorrow evening)

Click here to listen to the vocabulary being spoken!Why is "heute Morgen" used to translate "this morning" whereas "morgen früh" is used for "tomorrow morning"? Because "morgen Morgen" would sound absurd! Always make sure that you are using small and capital letters correctly with this word - "Morgen" = morning; "morgen" = tomorrow.

Test yourself!
You can test yourself on your knowledge of German calendar vocabulary by clicking on the bar below:

Weiter! Chapter 9.9: Two-way prepositions

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