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If I want to say that something happened last Friday, I’m not sure if I should use am or not.

For example:

Der Brief, den ich [am] letzten Freitag bekommen habe, …

F: Wann hast du meinen Brief bekommen?
A1: am Freitag (habe ich deinen Brief bekommen)
A2: letzten Freitag (habe ich deinen Brief bekommen)
A3: am letzten Freitag (habe ich deinen Brief bekommen)

From what I’m seeing online, it seems like the variant with am is used whenever something happened on a given day (even though we wouldn’t say that something happened on last Friday; the preposition would be omitted in this case).

I’m a bit confused, so any help would be appreciated.

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    Welcome to German Language Stack Exchange. Feel free to take a tour of the site. Visit the help center for questions about it you may still have. – Jan Dec 9 '15 at 10:11
  • @Wrzlprmft Re: your edit, is German preferred in the site? i.e. editing Q to F in a question which is written in English? Thanks for the clarification! – user19407 Dec 9 '15 at 10:25
  • @user19407: You are free to use either German or English. As for my edit: I considered F more fitting as it is inside a block quoting German examples. However, looking at it again, I would say that this is only a matter of taste. Don’t worry about it. – Wrzlprmft Dec 9 '15 at 10:28
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    Well A2 is wrong, it should be "letzten Freitag" not "letzter" and i'd recommend to write it "Am letzten Freitag" as this would sound more like a written answer the way you wrote it would sound more like a slang! – Medi1Saif Dec 9 '15 at 10:39
  • @Medi1Saif thanks. I've corrected the question. – user19407 Jan 5 '16 at 15:33
3

F: Wann hast du meinen Brief bekommen? A1: am Freitag (habe ich deinen Brief bekommen)

This is the most used form. "When did you get my letter? On Friday."

A2: letzer Freitag (habe ich deinen Brief bekommen)

This is also fine, except for the spelling error, it should be "Letzen Freitag". Translates to "When did you get my letter? Last Friday."

A3: (ich habe deinen Brief) am letzten Freitag (bekommen)

This is incorrect in this context. "Am letzten Freitag" ("On the last Friday") is usually used in conjunction with an event that changed something, such as "Am letzten Freitag vor den Ferien" or "Am letzten Freitag vom dem Krieg". Same as in English: "When did you get my letter? On the last Friday before the holidays / before the war." Or as in "Am letzten Freitag im April" - "On the last Friday of April". The emphasis is on it being the last day of something.

  • Doesn’t exactly add much to the existing answer. – Jan Dec 15 '15 at 21:18
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    @Jan it's certainly clearer to me! :) – user19407 Jan 5 '16 at 15:44
2

I will try to do a short analysis:

A1: am Freitag (habe ich deinen Brief bekommen)

Am is used here to point out or emphasize that the letter was received on that very day (Friday).

So the most complete and correct answer would be (Thanks to @user-unknown for the helpful comment)

A1: Am Freitag habe ich deinen Brief bekommen.

Where one also could put "deinen" in capital letters ("Deinen").


A2: letzer Freitag (habe ich deinen Brief bekommen)

here letzter is incorrect and even if we corrected it by saying letzten Freitag, it would still be wrong. Yes, it would be an acceptable answer in a conversation (which is why I mentioned it being slang in my comment above), but as a written answer it incorrect.

So you need to point it was on last Friday, which lead us to an other Version of A3: Am letzten Freitag.

The most complete and correct answer here would be:

A2: Am letzten Freitag habe ich deinen Brief bekommen.


A3: (ich habe deinen Brief) am letzten Freitag (bekommen)

The most complete and correct answer here would be:

A3: Ich habe deinen Brief am letzten Freitag bekommen.

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    Alle 3 sind, ohne den Text in Klammern, keine vollständigen Sätze und somit gleich falsch, in mündlicher Rede aber auch alle drei gleich richtig (also: Letzten Freitag, natürlich, nicht Letzter Freitag), und am Satzanfang vielleicht groß? – user unknown Dec 10 '15 at 6:00
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    @userunknown thanks, but why are fragments (without the text in parenthesis) as such incorrect? Comments about declension and capitalization noted; try not to focus on that as they're not really at the heart of the question. – user19407 Jan 5 '16 at 15:40
  • I'm not sure I understand. You seem to be saying that each of the 3 versions is "the most complete and correct answer" (?) – user19407 Jan 5 '16 at 15:42
  • @user19407: Wenn es ganze Sätze sein sollen, dann schreib sei groß und geb ihnen ein Satzzeichen am Ende. Wenn es nur Fragmente sind - wie soll man beurteilen, ob sie richtig sind oder falsch? Das hängt ja dann von den Ergänzungen ab, die man dazuerfinden muss. – user unknown Jan 5 '16 at 21:13
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Letzten Freitag and am letzten Freitag are synonymous.

As the context makes it clear that it can only be the past Friday, not the coming Friday, am Freitag is correct as well.

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