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I am having trouble in translating to the German equivalents of these phrases. Any help is appreciated!

  1. "Two and a half weeks" -- or any other similar combinations with hours, days, months, years, etc., and also with quarter, three-quarters, one-fifth, etc.

My guess is: zwei und eine halbe Wochen?

  1. "three days ago/later" -- also other combinations with different units, e.g., minutes, hours, etc.

My guess is: drei Tage vor/später?

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again, these are two questions rolled into one. "Any other similar combinations" is not really what this forum is about. If you cannot find a translation for a phrase in your dictionary, then please feel free to ask here, but don't ask open ended questions like that. This is like "What is the German word for 'a' and also any other word in the dictionary?" – teylyn Jun 8 '11 at 11:29
I'll be happy to answer these questions once they're their own questions. They don't really have anything to do with one another. – fzwo Jun 8 '11 at 11:33
@teylyn: Although this is indeed two questions (both denoted "1"), I don't see any problem with asking for "similar/other combinations" here. "Three days ago" isn't translated very different from "five hours ago". – Tim Jun 8 '11 at 11:33
apparently I'm not the only one with this sentiment. – teylyn Jun 8 '11 at 11:38
@teylyn: I recommend not using the term "forum" at all. That's part of the "problem". – Jürgen A. Erhard Jun 14 '11 at 10:04
up vote 9 down vote accepted

1.) "Two and a half weeks"

That's "Zweieinhalb Wochen" in German. Works as well with hours, days, etc.


Eineinhalb (= 1 1/2)

Zweieinhalb (= 2 1/2)

Dreieinhalb (= 3 1/2)

Viereinhalb (= 4 1/2)


also possible with "quarter", then it would be:

Eineinviertel (= 1 1/4)

Zweieinviertel (= 2 1/4)

2.) "three days ago/later"


  • drei Tage zuvor/davor ("before/ago")
  • drei Tage früher ("earlier"
  • vor drei Tagen ("ago")


  • drei Tage danach ("after")
  • drei Tage später ("later")
  • in drei Tagen ("in three day's time")

Seriously, you should get a better dictionary. ;-)

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There is also 'anderthalb' but I don't understand why it's used. Perhaps this will help - – paul Jun 8 '11 at 12:27
True, "anderthalb" is even more common, I think, although it sounds more colloquial to my ear. :) – ladybug Jun 8 '11 at 12:33

1) Zwei-einhalb Wochen

2) vor/in drei Tagen

I general, this question is much too broad for an all-encompassing answer. I doubt that anyone will provide all possible combinations with "hours, days, months, years, etc., and also with quarter, three-quarters, one-fifth, etc." and "different units, e.g., minutes, hours, etc."

At some point you'll have to do your own homework and understand how it works in German in principle.

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Just to clarify, it's zweieinhalb, without the hyphen. – fzwo Jun 8 '11 at 11:37

Your first examples translates to

Zweieinhalb Wochen.

It applies also to hours, days and any other time units. For other ratios we say

Zweieinfünftel Tage oder dreieinviertel Monate.


Es ist drei viertel fünf.

Refer to canoonet

Your second example would be translated to:

Drei Tage später/früher.

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"Three days ago" is not "drei Tage früher", is it? Moreover, note that "es ist drei viertel fünf" will only be understood in certain (large) parts of Germany. – Hendrik Vogt Jun 8 '11 at 11:37
Yes, "Three days ago" can definitely be translated to "Drei Tage früher". You'll see that in English movies translated to German frequently. – Deve Jun 8 '11 at 12:05
OK, but this is when the full phrase is "Three days ago", isn't it? I was thinking of something like "I bought a new bike three days ago." – Hendrik Vogt Jun 8 '11 at 12:17
Sure, but both translations are correct. You're right that depending on the context one or the other has to be chosen. The original poster just asked for a translation of three days ago. I admit that my answer isn't complete but as others have also stated in their comments, the question seems to be too open as to give one compact answer. – Deve Jun 8 '11 at 12:23

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