Prepositions of time 1

Its been three months since I started this journey and I thought I would introduce a topic that involves time. 

Prepositions of time (temporal) become handy when answering questions such as “when?” or “how long?” Wann passiert etwas? (When did something happen?)

These questions can refer to a point in time (past, present or future) or the duration of something.

This week, I will introduce 4 temporal prepositions.

um – used to indicate a specific clock time 


(1) Die Konferenz beginnt um 16:00 Uhr. The conference begins at 4pm.

(2) Um 10:00 Uhr habe ich einen Termin. At 10am I have an appointment

ab – used to indicate from what point in time onwards will something happen. The end point of the event/action is not indicated.


(1) Ab heute habe ich Urlaub. As of today I have vacation.

(2) Ich bin ab Montag in München. I will be in Munich starting from Monday.

bis – used to indicate the end of the time point that something has been happening.


(1) Ich habe noch bis Samstag Urlaub. I still have vacation till Saturday.

(2) Das Museum ist bis 19:00 Uhr geöffnet. The museum is open until 7:00pm.

Some common phrases you will hear that use ‘bis’:

‘Bis bald’, ‘Bis morgen’, or ‘Bis später’ (See you soon, See you tomorrow, See you later). A literal translation would be until soon, until tomorrow or until later, respectively.

am – used to indicate a point in time (1) during a day of the week, (2) time of day, (3) a date or (4) a holiday. The ONLY exception to (2) is for the night, as shown in example 5. You do not use ‘am Nacht.’ 


(1) Am Sonntag arbeite ich nicht. On Sunday I do not work.

(2) Am Abend gehen wir ins Kino. In the evening we are going to the Cinema.

(3) Ich bin am 01.01.2000 geboren. I was born on 01.01.2000. (Sorry, this is just an example) 😉

(4) Wir kommen an Weihnachten. We are coming for Christmas

(5) In der Nacht ist es dunkel. It is dark at night.

Next week, I will continue with this topic.

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