In order to learn to count to 100 in German quickly you really want to compare the German numbers with the English ones. Let’s do that first with
The German numbers from 0 to 10:
null – zero / nill
eins – one
zwei / zwo – two
drei – three
vier – four
fünf – five
sechs – six
sieben – seven
acht – eight
neun – nine
zehn – ten
Take a closer look at the German numbers above and compare them to their English counterparts. What similarities do you see? Even a single common letter can help greatly remembering them.
In order for you to learn how to pronounce the numbers, we’ve created a special song for German learners that want to learn to count to 100 in German. You can sing along with us here. Don’t worry, it’s a cool song. No guitars involved.
The German Numbers from 11 – 20
In the song you’ll also see the German numbers from 11-20 and beyond. Let me write them down for you first and then show the logic behind their construction. The dots I put between them is just for your better understanding. All numbers are written in one piece. E.g. drei.zehn is actually written: dreizehn.
elf – eleven
zwölf – twelve
drei.zehn – thir.teen
vier.zehn – four.teen
fünf.zehn – fif.teen
sech.zehn – six.teen
sieb.zehn – seven.teen
acht.zehn – eight.teen
neun.zehn – nine.teen
zwan.zig – twen.ty
The Logic behind the German numbers from 11-20
11 – elf comes from “eins” + “lif” which means “left” so
12 – zwölf means what? Correct: zwo lif = two left
13 – dreizehn well, the only thing to keep in mind here is that we read from right to left like in English and that “thir” = “three”
16 – sechzehn is a bit special as it loses the -s- of the “sech.s” – and remember: 6 ≠ sex when it comes to pronunciation. The German “s” at the beginning of a word is always spoken like an English “z”
17 – siebzehn also loses something, the -en from “sieb.en”.
20 – The German “z” is often a “t” in English, not always unfortunately. zwo = two, zwölf = twelve, zwanzig = twen.ty
Finally: How to count to 100 in German
All following full tenners beginning with 20 end in -zig (with the exception of 30) which is basically corresponding with the -ty in English tenners. Take a look:
30 – drei.ßig – this is likely due to German pronunciation rules as it is really difficult to say “drei.zig” (=dry tsich)
40 – vier.zig
50 – fünf.zig
60 – sech.zig again we lose the -s of the “sech.s”
70 – sieb.zig also here the “sieb.en” loses it’s -en
80 – acht.zig
90 – neun.zig
100 – zehn.zig – naw. Just kidding. 100 is of course hundert. Do you see the similarity to the English word “hundred”?
The German Tongue Twisters
That was the easy part. Now comes a bit of a challenge but not necessarily when it comes to pronouncing the German numbers but rather by deciphering them. Let’s take a look at the twenties:
21 – in English: twenty one – Wow, so easy, right? But in German we say one.and.twenty = ein.und.zwan.zig. and so on:
22 – two.and.twenty = zwei.und.zwanzig etc pp. quick check of the numbers 26 and 27:
26 – sechs.und.zwanzig and as you can see the “sechs” doesn’t lose it’s -s like it did with 16 and 60.
27 – sieben.und.zwanzig also here doesn’t lose the -en of the “sieb.en”.
But that’s about it.
I hope you see that there’s not really much new here other than of course the pronunciation of German numbers and a few special cases which are also not too difficult to remember. With a bit of practice and with help of our lovely song you’ll soon have no problem to count to 100 in German.
And as a little bonus information here some numbers until 1 billion (the English billion, not the German one):
200 – zwei.hundert
600 – sechs.hundert
700 – sieben.hundert
999 – neun.hundert.neun.und.neunzig
1000 – tausend notice any similarities ot the English word thousand.
1001 – tausend.(und).eins the “und” is not necessary but not wrong
1021 – tausend.ein.und.zwan.zig
1999 – tausend.neun.hundert.neun.und.neun.zig
10.000 – zehn.tausend
99.999 – neun.und.neun.zig.tausend.neun.hundert.neun.und.neun.zig
100.000 – hundert.tausend
1.000.000 – eine Million
1.000.000.000 – eine Milliarde (not Billion, that’s American English, folks)
1.000.000.000.000 – eine Billion (easy to remember as “bi” means “two” and here we got two times one million = bi.(mi)lion. Clear?
1.000.000.000.000.000 – eine Billiarde and that’s the pattern for a while: every 1000x you alternate between -ion and -iarde. How far out can you get?
And now that you know how to count to 100 in German you are ready to take on the challenge of how to tell the time in German. Check out my article on that topic here.
I hope you enjoyed this little lesson on how to count to 100 in German and I hope you know by now that you can always count on SmarterGerman 😉