My son asks me and I've realized that I have no idea - I've never managed to use this layer of vocabulary since I've never been taught in German school.

So, when it comes to fractions there's a clear pattern of naming for degrees of ten, that is: ein Zehntel, ein Hundertstel, ein Tausendstel etc.

However, when it comes to less trivial fractions I have no idea how it's to be correctly said in German. For instance, how exactly I'm supposed to say 1/102? Ein hundertundzweitens or what?

1 Answer 1


Usually you will add the suffix


-stel if the number ends with 'g' or 'd' (zwanzig, dreißig, tausend, etc.)

-el if the number ends with 't' (acht, dreihundertacht, etc.)

but no rule without exceptions

1/1 ein Eintel / ein Ganzes1 (not ein einstel - for the sake of completeness)

1/2 ein Halb (not ein Zweitel)

1/3 ein Drittel (not ein Dreitel)

1/4 ein Viertel (the pattern starts here)

1/5 ein Fünftel

1/6 ein Sechstel

1/7 ein Siebtel (in some regions: ein Siebentel2)

1/8 ein Achtel (not ein Achttel)

1/9 ein Neuntel

1/10 ein Zehntel

etc (I don't think there are any more exceptions3 )

It is the same for larger numbers. Get the number in German and add a "-tel", "el" or "-stel"

102 - einhundertundzwei / einhundertzwei -> 102 - ein Einhundertundzweitel / ein Einhundertzweitel

120 - einhundertzwanzig -> 1/120 - ein Einhundertzwanzigstel

408 - vierhundertacht -> ein Vierhundertachtel

1234 - eintausendzweihundertvierunddreißig -> 1/1234 - ein Eintausendzweihundertvierunddreißigstel

217 - zweihundertsiebzehn - 1/217 - ein Zweihundertsiebzehntel

If you are unsure how to write a number in German take a look at this tool

Edit: In addition

1 As @fNek said in the comments 1/1 is referred to as "ein Ganzes" (pl. "Ganze", lit. "whole thing"), while 4/1 (vier Eintel) is called "vier Ganze", 5/1 (fünf Eintel) "fünf Ganze" etc.

2 As @VolkerLandgraf mentioned in the comments there are some regions in the German-speaking area in which "siebentel" is used. Mostly in middle eastern Germany and eastern/south eastern Austria. Take a look at this website for more details. Nevertheless "siebtel" is the dominant term.

3 When referring to denominators that are greater than 100 and the last two digits are 01, 03 or 07 the single-digit 'rules' are often used.

1/101 - ein Einhunderteintel

1/103 - ein Einhundertdrittel

1/107 - ein Einhundertsiebtel

  • 3
    In the 19th century Dritteil was used instead of Drittel, for an example see here.
    – guidot
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 11:22
  • 2
    "Eintel" is also often referred to as "Ganzes" (pl. "Ganze", lit. "whole thing")
    – elaforma
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 20:05
  • 1
    @user2705196 I was off by 1 ^^ . Thanks, I added the 1/102. It sounds odd, but well ... that's the way it is. Einhundertundzweitel / Einhundertzweitel
    – mtwde
    Commented Mar 27, 2020 at 23:51
  • 1
    Pupils use it all the time, because "aufleiten" is the logical opposite to "ableiten". Anyway, I can live with your recent edit. +1 Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 9:01
  • 1
    I’ll point out that in the context of mathematics (for example in a maths class at school) I would prefer Eintel over Ganzes. This does not apply to everyday life.
    – Jan
    Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 11:09

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