When you’re on holiday in a new country, you want to make the most out of every day, right?
Let’s talk about the days of the week in German. The last thing that you want to do is to miss an important opportunity by muddling your days. With this basic guide, you’ll learn how to say the days of the week in German sehr schnell—very fast.
First, let’s talk about the building blocks you’ll need to talk about the days:
Woche (VOH-kuh) means week, easy to remember because of how close it is to English.
Tag (tahk) means day. You’ve probably already learned Guten Tag, which means good day or hello. Be careful with the pronunciation, a g at the end of a word makes a soft k sound in German.
Genau? Good, now you’re ready to get started.
What are the days of the week in German?
How to remember the German days of the week
The German days of the week each have a clear origin, and these can help you remember their names.
Montag is named after the moon, Mond in German. Why does this sound familiar? Oh yes, Monday.
Dienstag is named for the old Germanic god Týr, god of war. The English day Tuesday also shares this namesake.
Mittwoch is a literal word for “mid-week”. You’ve got to love how straightforward some of the German words are!
Donnerstag means “day of thunder” and is named after Donar, the god of war in old Germanic mythology. Donar is better known by his Norse name, Thor.
Freitag is named for Frige, the goddess of marriage and motherhood. This is easy to remember because of its similarity to its English equivalent, Friday. Frei also means free in German, so you can think of the freedom that comes with starting the weekend.
Samstag comes from the Old High German sambatztag, which means day of Sabbath or rest.
Interesting fact: in northeastern Germany, you may hear the word Sonnabend used instead of Samstag. This literally means “Sunday eve” and is mainly used by older generations as youth embrace the more popular Samstag.
Sonntag literally means “day of the sun", just like Sunday in English.
Other useful German day words
How to use the German days in everyday life: all your questions, answered
Using vocabulary is never just translating word for word, like it is in many language classes.
Use these context and grammar tips to help you master using German days in real life.
What gender are days of the week in German?
All days of the week in German are masculine: der Montag or ein Donnerstag, for example.
Because of this, you can use am before a day to mean occurring on that day. For example, am Sonntag means on Sunday.
Should you capitalise days of the week in German?
Like most German nouns, days of the week are capitalised in most cases. The only exception to this is if you are describing a habit or recurring action that you take every week on that day. In this case, the day is not capitalised and adds an 's' to become plural.
Ich esse freitags mit Freunden.
I eat out with friends on Fridays.
To say you will eat out with friends this Friday, you would say Ich esse am Freitag mit Freunden.
How are dates written in Germany?
One important note for any Americans reading this is that Europeans write their dates out day, month, year instead of month, day, year.
So, Christmas Eve 2022 would be written 24.12.2022. instead of 12.24.2022. Just remember, the units of time go from smallest to largest.
Werktage vs. Wochenende
Wochentage means days of the week, but it can also mean weekdays depending on the context. Each week is broken out into two parts: werktage and wochenende.
Wochenende literally means “week end” like its English translation. There are several ways to describe the working days of Montag bis Freitag (Monday through Friday), including unter der Woche, Arbeitstage or Werktage.
You might have noticed that the word for morning is Morgen and the word for tomorrow is also morgen.
This isn’t a typo!
If you think about it, it makes some sense, but can still be confusing to learn. There are some subtle differences between the two words and how they are used:
der Morgen (the morning)
How to use it:
In the morning…
How to use it: Used as a lower-case adverb to describe when something will happen.
Ich gehe morgen…
Tomorrow, I’m going…
das Morgen (tomorrow)
How to use it: Tomorrow in the sense of the future.
Das Morgen ist ungeschrieben.
Tomorrow is unwritten.
So, how do you say tomorrow morning?
In many cases, this is redundant. You would simply say am Morgen (early morning) or am Vormittag (late morning).
If a distinction is needed, you might say Morgen früh, which means tomorrow morning or first thing in the morning.
Now you know all about the German days of the week
With all this new knowledge, you’re ready to go out and book coffee dates, sign up for boat tours, and anything else that requires intimate knowledge of how to say ‘Monday’.
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