im am um

im, am, um: Three German words that often get mixed up when used in the context of time.

So here’s a quick run down….

um is used when referring to a specific time on the clock e.g.

Ich treffe Petra um 8 Uhr. ( I’ll meet Petra at 8 o’clock.)

im is used in reference to a specific month or season e.g.

Ich habe im September Geburtstag. (My birthday is in September.)
Wir fahren im Sommer in den Urlaub. (We’ll go on vacation in the summer.)

am refers to a specific day which can either be a weekday or a specific date e.g.

Wir planen am Sonntag die Eltern zu besuchen. (We’re planning to visit the parents on Sunday.)
Weihnachten wird in Deutschland am 24. Dezember gefeiert. (Christmas is celebrated in Germany on December 24.)

11 thoughts on “im am um

    • Depends.

      If you want to say “in 1967” you just say “1967” or “im Jahre 1967”. The last one sounds a bit more historical. Generally people say: “2005 war ich das letzte Mal in Spanien.”

      “5 years ago” is “vor 5 Jahren”.

      “in 5 years” is “in 5 Jahren”.

    • Mainly “am” with one exception: in der Nacht.

      If you say that you do something regularly in the morning, evening etc you just add an -s:
      Morgens gehe ich immer zur Arbeit. Abends fahre ich zurück nach Hause.

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