Wow, awesome! The fact that you are reading this article tells me that you already know the numbers from 1 to 20 , the numbers from 21 to 100 and the numbers from 101 to 1000 in German, so good on you! Congrats!
By now, I’m sure you noticed that counting in German is actually not that difficult – especially not for English speakers. And this also won’t change when we go beyond 1000.
So let’s get into it!
Multiples of 1000
Just like the multiples of 100, the multiples of 1000 in German follow the same rules as in English. This means that we take the German word for the first digit (e.g. ‘zwei‘ in 2000) and then add -tausend (-thousand).
Accordingly, you form whatever multiple of 1000, you would like:
|1 000||(ein)tausend||one thousand|
|2 000||zweitausend||two thousand|
|3 000||dreitausend||three thousand|
|4 000||viertausend||four thousand|
|5 000||fünftausend||five thousand|
|10 000||zehntausend||ten thousand|
|20 000||zwanzigtausend||twenty thousand|
|54 000||vierundfünfzigtauend||fifty-four thousand|
|81 000||einundachtzigtausend||eighty-one thousand|
|100 000||hunderttausend||(one) hundred thousand|
|110 000||hundertzehntausend||(one) hundred ten thousand|
|250 000||zweihundertfünfzigtausend||two hundred fifty thousand|
|520 000||fünfhundertzwanzigtausend||five hundred twenty thousand|
|999 000||neunhundertneunundneunzigtausend||nine hundred ninety-nine thousand|
In German, we don’t separate thousands with a comma, as in English, but with a dot.
e.g. 2,000 becomes 2.000
Also, we don’t use a dot, to write down numbers or decimals that are smaller than one, but a comma instead.
e.g. 0.25 becomes 0,25
So we use both symbols exactly the other way round as English people do.
More complex numbers
Now that we know the multiples of 1000, the only thing we need to do translate numbers like 120.423 (beware of the dot!), for example, is to add the German term for the number for the last three digits – in this case: 423.
So of we stick with our example, we get the following equation:
And that’s how you get those really ugly long words in German. The good thing about that, however, is that you don’t need to think about where a word starts or ends – it’s all one giant word .. yey!
This way you can create whatever number between 1.000 (yes, I know the dot looks weird in there) and 1.000.000 you like. And now we come to the really fun part!
Numbers beyond 1 Million
I think, that by now it’s becoming increasingly clear, that structure for the German numbers is always the same – no matter how far you go.
So let’s have a look at the German terms for some even larger numbers, and you can form whatever complex number you need out of them!
|1.000.000||(eine) Million||(one) million|
|1.000.000.000||(eine) Milliarde||(one) billion|
|1.000.000.000.000||(eine) Billion||(one) trillion|
So, you see only the sky is the limit!
Stay tuned for more articles about this and other topics for learning German!
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Both courses are full with useful exercises and quizzes, as well as downloadable .pdf-resources and many other things. So if you are interested, I we would be really happy to see you there!