What is this time? (Analog Timing)

Der Bus kommt um fünf vor drei Viertel .

1 Answer 1


This means 5 minutes before a quarter to something, which boils down to:

xx:40 Uhr

The hour was already missing from your question. Only in some regions times are given with dreiviertel, and more typically no further modification takes place for those. If modification would be necessary the time specification would change to

20 [Minuten] vor [insert hour]

  • 1
    Swabian native here, where n:45 is Dreiviertel (n+1): The last example wouldn’t be “20 vor”, but “10 nach halb(er)”.
    – Stephie
    Mar 8, 2022 at 0:07
  • Could we just say "Der Bus kommt um vierzig", which requires no math and is shorter? Mar 10, 2022 at 3:26
  • @Alan Evangelista: counterquestion: could the french just invent a word for "ninety" instead of saying "four times twenty plus ten"? Language is thing developing constantly and most of its "rules" are basically ex post justifications of what everybody is agreeing to use in advance. The result of such a process is regularly a hodgepodge rather than a well-defined set of rules.
    – bakunin
    Mar 22, 2022 at 21:16

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