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When I am using Google translate on "I am almost 18", I get:

Ich bin fast 18.
Ich bin beinahe 18.

Are this sentences correct? What is most used? Are there any other popular forms?

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up vote 12 down vote accepted

Yes, those sentences are correct. Most used is the first sentence

Ich bin fast 18.

The other sentence sounds somewhat awkward. Beinahe has - imho - a connotation that means that there had almost something happened.

Beinahe hätte ich den Zug verpasst. (I almost missed the train.)

So, I'd recommend not to use beinahe.

A typical alternative is

Ich werde bald 18.

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Ich werde bald 18 (I'll be 18 soon) is good. However, I don't agree with your caveat against using beinahe. Translations never map perfectly, but if fast = almost then you can say that beinahe = nearly. You can say I am nearly 18 and likewise you can say Ich bin beinahe 18. I see it as a distinction without a difference. – Eugene Seidel Apr 6 '12 at 20:26
@EugeneSeidel Of course you can say beinahe 18, haven't said, that is does not work. But it's not that common. And luckily, Google back me up. In English I think nearly and almost are interchangeably, in German ... in theory absolutely, in practice rarely. In the end, it's just a personal opinion, and therefore imho – Em1 Apr 6 '12 at 20:47
Und ganz nebenbei habe ich Ich bin beinahe 18 noch NIE von einem Muttersprachler gehört. Vllt ist das auch regional bedingt, und woanders wird das eher gesagt. – Em1 Apr 6 '12 at 20:51
I believe we had this discussion before ("am/im Flughafen"). The only criterion for me is my ear and I confess that I care f*ck all for what Google says :) So, I imagine a 17 year-old person telling me Ich bin beinahe 18. Does it sound odd to my ears? No. Good enough for me then :) – Eugene Seidel Apr 6 '12 at 21:52
@EugeneSeidel from own experience as now 18 yr. old. nope. I did not use "beinahe" in combination with my age. in general, if asked about my age i only replied "fast 18" or "bald 18" – Vogel612 Jun 25 '13 at 10:07

Yes, both are correct. A somewhat more verbose, but also correct variant, would be to say

Ich bin fast/beinahe 18 Jahre alt.

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Adding a third alternative:

Ich bin so gut wie 18 [Jahre alt]

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IMO this would be possible, but not very common. – 0x6d64 Apr 8 '12 at 8:24
@0x6d64 Depending on context, this can be perfect. – user6191 Aug 14 '14 at 17:42

Um noch eine weitere Variante hinzuzufügen:

Ich werde in Kürze 18.

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Wenn wir schon Varianten sammeln, hier meine:

Ich bin bald 18

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Ich bin beinahe 18

would tend to mean that you barely missed being 18. For example, you wanted to watch an age limited movie in the cinema, but they didn't let you in because you are not quite 18 but only almost 18.

Ich bin fast 18

would tend to mean you are approaching 18 and will hit the goal soon. Like you didn't watch a movie because it is for kids and you are almost 18.

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Among children,

Ich bin schon 7 einhalb.

is often used.

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