Telling the time in German: Around the clock in 5-minute steps, part 2 Posted by Sandra Rösner on Oct 23, 2012 in Language
This is the continuation of my last post in which I told how to read the time when using mechanical clocks. As a matter of fact, it is often quite difficult to tell the exact time when using mechanical clocks or watches. This is especially true when the big hand of you watch is somewhere between two of the major numbers on you clock-face, for example, between 2 and 3, 4 and 5, 8 and 9, etc.
In such cases you can use the German phrases “kurz nach” (lit. short past) and “kurz vor” (lit. short to) in order to tell the approximate time. In the following video I explain when and how you can use these phrases.
Mind, when you would like to tell the time like this – omission of the words “Minute/n” (minute/s) and “Uhr” (o’clock) – you cannot use the 24-hour system. It simply sounds awkward when you say, for example, Es ist kurz nach vierzehn. (lit. It’s short past fourteen.)