When dealing with fractions in German we normally say "drei-viertel" or "3/4". Another example would be "sieben-zwanzigstel = 7/20". But is there another way of saying it? In English another way of saying "three-fourths" is "three over four". Would an equivalent "3 durch 4 oder 18 durch 31" be appropriate and acceptable?

Is there another way?

  • This is a tricky subject seeing as the everyday way to say it in German may be as stated in some answers, but the influence of English words in both tech and math in Germany is gradually getting stronger. You run the risk of finding the right German word and then when using it, have Germans go "Whut?" or some German equivalent of that. So as much as this question is about translation and meaning, for practical purposes you might be better advised to just stick to English. Any German with a more than halfway refined understanding of mathematics, will understand you perfectly well.
    – Berend
    May 15 at 20:09

Besides using percentage values, there is no other common way. However, note that your spelling is incorrect. The correct spelling of your examples is "drei Viertel", and "sieben Zwanzigstel".

Also, beware that in German, n über k, which is the literal translation of n over k, is referring to the binomial coefficient, not to the fraction.

  • Aha that makes sense. Thank you for your help!
    – Ski Mask
    Jan 28 at 9:14

In my experience, saying "3 durch 4" or "3 von 4" is appropriate, though colloquial. It'd probably not be used frequently in e.g. a mathematical lecture, but I've heard this often in colloquial speech.

You can't go wrong with "drei Viertel", though, so if in doubt, I'd advise you to stick to this.

  • 1
    I think the choice depends on the numbers. When the spoken numbers are short and when there is no ambiguity I would use the form like "drei Viertel". When the spoken numbers get longer, especially the denominator, I would prefer "A durch B". Examples 3/1000 "drei Tausendstel" vs. 3/2857 "3 durch 2857". Some numbers can create an ambiguity when spoken, e.g. 3/10000 "drei Zehntausendstel" vs. "dreizehn Tausendstel" 13/1000. In such a case, either the pause between the words should be emphasized or the unambiguous form "3 durch 10000" or "13 durch 1000" can be used.
    – Bodo
    Jan 27 at 17:06
  • @Bodo That's exactly what I had in mind because the common way of saying fractions works for small values but if you are talking about larger values such as 123/3456 then saying it in the more common way.
    – Ski Mask
    Jan 28 at 9:16

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