Take the 2-minute tour ×
German Language Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for speakers of German wanting to discuss the finer points of the language and translation. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I often hear "dann treffen wir uns gegen 8 Uhr irgendwo". How precise is this? Is it ±5 min or ±10 min or does it depend on the situation?

Are there other words which means "approximately at eight", but are either less precise or more precise?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

up vote 9 down vote accepted

It depends on the persons and situation.

In my opinion it is around ±5 min or ±10 min and it sounds to me if a group is meeting before 8 (maybe somewhere in the city or at an event) and the other person will join them later but without any fixed time

share|improve this answer
    
More precise: genau um 8. Less precise: irgendwann um 8, um 8 Uhr herum, ab 8 –  therealmarv Aug 9 '11 at 11:32
7  
Note: the question if "gegen 8 Uhr" is always before 8 o'clock has been heavily discussed on various sites. Some argue that it's always before 8, others say it can be before or after 8. –  Joachim Sauer Aug 9 '11 at 11:34
1  
I'm not so sure about the "always before" meaning. Although IMO the period which is accepted "after" a certain point of time is certainly shorter: You don't want to let people wait for you. As a rule of thumb: -10/+5 minutes. –  0x6d64 Aug 9 '11 at 12:35
    
@0x6d4: that's exactly my point: there is no generally accepted interpretation. Some people are very sure that it's "always before" while others say "it's -10/+5" (or something similar) and a few say "it's ±10". –  Joachim Sauer Aug 9 '11 at 12:49
    
normally you divide the hour in 4 quarter so i assume maximal ±5 min as ok, 10 min is too close to 8h15min ... whats the point of saying "gegen 8 Uhr" at all when youre are not allowed to come later than 8? –  Hauser Aug 10 '11 at 1:36

It means around, about or towards the time. It's a rough time with some minutes tolerance, not important after the mentioned time or before it. (as therealmarv has answered) it depends on the person.

EDIT

Other words which means "approximately at eight" (less to more precise*):

  • so gegen acht Uhr
  • ungefähr um acht Uhr
  • gegen acht Uhr
  • etwa um acht Uhr
  • um acht Uhr oder so

If you mean the precise time you would say:

  • um acht Uhr
  • um genau acht/ genau um acht
  • um Punkt acht Uhr

* : it's hard for the first five or so entries in the list to determine which one is more precise. At least colloquially, they can all mean the same.

share|improve this answer
1  
+1 Gigili, this is nice addition to the previous answer, but I still accept the other one since it answers the question more directly. –  Stovner Aug 11 '11 at 8:52

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.