Time Prepositions – An Exercise

Hello everyone,

and welcome to week five of our German Summer Bootcamp and I know what you’re thinking.
“How long is this freaking bootcamp? I want to read about a word again.”
Well, I have good news for you. Today, is actually the penultimate workout session. So you almost made it.
Next time, to wrap things up, we’ll do an exercise for cases again.
And today, we’ll return to time land once again and do a little exercise for

Time Prepositions

So we’ll pratice saying stuff like two days ago, or in three weeks, or since yesterday or on Sunday.
This exercise is actually quite easy in comparison to the word order stuff we did last time. A2 students should be able to do okay.
But also if you’re an advanced learner, I recommenend you give it a shot. I mean… just because you think you know this stuff, doesn’t mean that you do ;).
And there are a few little things hidden that might be new to you. And you can of course do the translations for extra training.
So, is everybody ready?
Great, then let’s jump right in…

As usual, I’ll give you a statement or dialogue in English and you can translate it to German with the main focus being the proper time preposition.
Or, if translation is too difficult, you can click the little “?”, and you’ll get the German version with a gap and you just need to fill in the blank.
The solutions are in the audio and you can show then by clicking the circle O.
And if you want, you can type your version into the textfield so you can compare it with my translation.

Oh and I didn’t say it the last time, but the idea of this type of exericse is actually that you do it several times over a few days. Unless you get all correct, of course.
The first time is to find your weak points. Note down the stuff you didn’t know… on a piece of paper, with a pen, like in the olden days. Yes, generation Y and Z. You too. And yes, millennials, especially you!
So yeah… note down your weak points and then come back to the workout again a day later. Until you can just read the proper solution off the page.

Cool. So now without any further ago…uhm… I mean ado, let’s start. Viel Spaß :)

The exercise will start in five seconds.
Die Übung fängt ____ 5 Sekunden an.
Die Übung fängt in 5 Sekunden an.

The exercise started five seconds ago.
Die Übung hat ____ 5 Sekunden angefangen.
Die Übung hat vor 5 Sekunden angefangen.

The museum will be open again from/starting tomorrow.
Das Museum ist ____ morgen wieder offen.
Das Museum ist ab morgen wieder offen.

The bar is always open until at least 2 am.
Die Bar hat immer ____ mindestens um 2 auf.
Die Bar hat immer bis mindestens um 2 auf.

The bar never closes before two.
Die Bar macht nie ____ um 2 zu.
Die Bar macht nie vor um 2 zu.

Damn, I should have left 10 minutes ago.
Mist, ich hätte ____10 Minuten gehen müssen.
Mist, ich hätte vor 10 Minuten gehen müssen.

I had long hair until a few days ago.
Ich hatte ________ ein paar Tagen lange Haare.
Ich hatte bis vor ein paar Tagen lange Haare.

I’ll move to Berlin in three weeks.
Ich ziehe ____ drei Wochen nach Berlin.
Ich ziehe in drei Wochen nach Berlin.

I haven’t been to the movies in three months.
Ich war ____ drei Monaten nicht im Kino.
Ich war seit drei Monaten nicht im Kino.

Maria has played through Minecraft in three hours.
Maria hat Minecraft ____ drei Stunden durchgespielt.
Maria hat Minecraft in drei Stunden durchgespielt.

I can do it in a day.
Ich kann es ____ einem Tag machen.
Ich kann es an einem Tag machen.

I haven’t showered for a week.
Ich habe ____ einer Woche nicht geduscht.
Ich habe seit einer Woche nicht geduscht.

I showered for an hour.
Ich habe ____ eine Stunde geduscht.
Ich habe eine Stunde geduscht.

I haven’t showered since last Monday.
Ich habe ____ letztem Montag nicht geduscht.
Ich habe seit letztem Montag nicht geduscht.

On Sunday, I’ll go hiking.
____ Sonntag gehe ich wandern.
Am Sonntag gehe ich wandern.

Unicorns hunt at night.
Einhörner jagen ____ der Nacht.
Einhörner jagen in der Nacht.

Maria called an hour ago.
Maria hat ____ einer Stunde angerufen.
Maria hat vor einer Stunde angerufen.

Dear neighbors, please no loud singing bowl meditations after 10 pm.
Liebe Nachbarn, bitte keine Klangschalen-Meditation ____ um 10.
Liebe Nachbarn, bitte keine Klangschalen-Meditation nach um 10.

After a while, the unicorn got bored.
____ einer Weile wurde dem Einhorn langweilig.
Nach einer Weile wurde dem Einhorn langweilig.

Thomas has yoga class on Thursday.
Thomas hat ____ Donnerstag Yoga-Kurs.
Thomas hat am Donnerstag Yoga-Kurs.

Who laughs first loses… starting now!
Wer zuerst lacht, verliert… ____ jetzt.
Wer zuerst lacht, verliert… ab jetzt.

I need to be at home before 10.
Ich muss ____ um 10 zu Hause sein.
Ich muss vor um 10 zu Hause sein.

See you tomorrow.
____ morgen!!
Bis morgen!!

“Mom, why is it dark at night and light at day and not the other way around?”
“That was decided many many years ago by the unicorn elves.”
“Mama, warum ist es ____ der Nacht dunkel und ____ Tag hell und nicht andersrum?”
“Das wurde ____ vielen vielen Jahren von den Einhorn-Elfen so entschieden.”
“Mama, warum ist es in der Nacht dunkel und am Tag hell und nicht andersrum?”
“Das wurde vor vielen vielen Jahren von den Einhorn-Elfen so entschieden.”

A few seconds from now, I’ll be done with this workout.
____ ein paar Sekunden bin ich mit dem Workout fertig.
In ein paar Sekunden bin ich mit dem Workout fertig.

And, how was it? How did you do? Was it difficult or relatively easy? As always, I’m super curious for your feedback and for all your questions. So hop right over to the comment section and let’s talk.
I hope you all had fun and learned something. Have a great week and see you next time for the grand finale of the summer bootcamp. Tschau :)

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3 months ago

thenk you so much

9 months ago

Here are my attempts, for almost all of them I used the correct preposition.

1. Die Übung fängt in 5 Sekunden an
2. Die Übung hat vor 5 Sekunden angefangen
3. Der Museum ist ab morgen wieder offen
4. Die Bar ist immer offen bis zumindest um 2 Uhr
5. Die Bar macht nie vor um 2 Uhr zu
6. Verdammt! Ich sollte vor 10 Minuten weggehen
7. Ich hatte lange Haare bis vor ein paar Tagen
8. Ich ziehe nach Berlin in drei Woche um
9. Ich war seit 3 Monaten nicht im Kino
10. Maria hat Minecraft in 3 Stunden durchgespielt
11. Ich kann das in einen Tag machen
12. Ich habe für eine Woche nicht geduscht / Ich habe seit eine Woche nicht geduscht
13. Ich habe für eine Stunde geduscht
14. Ich habe seit letztem Montag nicht geduscht
15. Am Sonntag, gehe ich wandern
16. Einhörner jagen in der Nacht
17. Maria hat vor einer Stunde angerufen
18. Liebe Nachbarn, bitte meditieren Sie nicht nach um 22 Uhr
19. Nach einer Weile, würde dem Einhorn langweilig
20. Thomas hat am Donnerstag Yoga-Kurs
21. Wer zuerst lacht, verliert, ab jetzt!
22. Ich muss zu Hause sein, vor um 10 Uhr
23. Bis morgen
24. “Mama, warum ist es in der Nacht dunkel und am Tag hell, und nicht das Gegenteil?” – “Das wurde vor vielen vielen Jahren vom Einhorn-Elfen so entscheiden”
25. In ein paar Sekunden, bin ich mit dem Übung fertig

The only one I failed was 11, with “in” instead of “an”; also 12 was ambiguous so I tried both interpretations.
My main pain point is still word order, in that I am still not sure how to arrange the boxes to achieve the desired neutral (or emphasized)… any suggestion for that? Apart from reading a lot, obviously…

9 months ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Yes, that was also my impression comparing my answers to yours.
Definitely not able to rattle these off at normal speed, but mainly because of my restricted vocabulary, not for the grammar structures. Even with these simple examples, I had to refer to the dictionary several times…
As I said, I need to read more, both to improve my vocabulary and to gain a better feeling for the language

Thank you anyway for your advice

2 years ago

Would it be possible to post your boot camps all under one heading in the menu of your site, so they are easy to find? I would like to go back and re-work a few of them, and have had a hard time finding them all with “search”.
Thanks! They are great.

2 years ago

I got Bis Morgen! Sound not working so took ages, aber was zum Teufel ist ein Einhorn-Elf

2 years ago

I did ok I guess, but not as well as I felt I should have done. It’s a little confusing, because for the answer ‘Ich muss vor um 10 zu Hause sein’ I just put ‘Ich muss vor 10 zu Hause sein’ – I didn’t learn that the ‘um’ has to be in the sentence. So if you say ‘It is 10 before 5’ it would just be ‘Es ist 10 vor 5’, no ‘um’ in there. Also, the one about the unicorn hunting, I put ‘nachts’ instead of ‘in der Nacht’ but I think both are acceptable. I am developing a general idea of how to structure a German sentence, but there are still too many words to remember and I can’t put them altogether yet. Not yet but I will keep trying!

2 years ago

Hello, I would like to give a quick thank you for the members that helped me and other people get a membership im really happy to start learning german!

2 years ago

I just wanted to thank Emanuel for this awesome site and for giving me a scholarship (since i am currently unable to afford a membership by myself)! Also, a huge thanks for each and everyone of you guys who paid some more for the site, and know that your money is really helping people like me and promoting free education for everyone!

2 years ago

The results:

As usual, I failed the translations miserably.

Best translation I did was #3 and even it was off:

Das Museum wird ab morgen wieder geöffnet.

Wish it had been more like yours.
I’m NOT going to bore you stiff with the other translations I did, seriously, posting them might launch a ICBM or something – they are THAT off…

As far as the correct fill-in-the-blanks after looking at the translations got all but #5 correct.
#5 wrote bevor instead of vor

Before I peeked at the translations I screwed up the following:

#10 just used drei Stunden lang.
#13 same – used eine Stunde lang.
#16 Einhörner jagen nachts.

But considering the translations I did were completely useless, I’m only counting the victory of filling in the correct preposition in each blank.

Beginning to have a nagging feeling that I’m never gonna manage German. Who cares about choosing the correct preposition when all the words around the prep are WRONG and in the WRONG ORDER?

2 years ago


This summer I participated in the Pride Festival in Hamburg, where they passed out stickers: “I’ll be right back, just feeding my unicorn.” Made me think of you!

Also got one that says: MEHR GLITZER! which I think everyone could use, nicht wahr?

2 years ago

Man kann nur eine Sache sagen, dass Emanuel der beste Lehrer der Welt ist. danke Lehrer

2 years ago

Hi Emanuel. And all people. I did it, almost all my questions were done by other people, so they were already answer.
But “to move in” isnt it “umziehen”? With um? And I thought it was reflexive too.

2 years ago

I am really struggling but I learn a little more with each exercise. Thank you :)

Marko Duic
2 years ago

I thought I was well into B1 but got almost all of these wrong! Thanks so much for this exercise and many others.

John Taylor
John Taylor
2 years ago

Just want to say thank you, I am enjoying this course.
Vielen dank fur ihre Hart arbeite

2 years ago

I could read #11 two ways. – “in a day” could mean tomorrow, or it could mean that the task will take me one day to complete.

2 years ago

Here are my areas of uncertainty.

5. vor 2
11. in einem Tag
12-14. I thought duschen was reflexive.
16. nachts
18. nach 10
22. vor 10
24. nachts und tagsüber

“nach 10 uhr” – 1,600,000 results on google
“nach um 10 uhr” – 14,400 results on google

2 years ago
Reply to  Jake

Oh yeah, and this one:

13. eine Stunde lang

2 years ago
Reply to  German-is-easy

Danke! What’s the difference between duschen and sich duschen?

2 years ago
Reply to  Jake

vor um / nach um / bis um surprised me too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.

Pat McKay
Pat McKay
2 years ago

How about Die Ubung wird in 5 Sekunden anfangen for number 1?

2 years ago

Hallo Emanuel,

Vielen vielen Dank für diesen Workout! Es hat mir sehr geholfen, die deutschen Satzstruktur besser zu verstehen :)

2 years ago

Hi again,
Question 6 gives you the answer when you click on the question mark, question 24 gives you one of the 3 answers…
Apart from that, I got the rest right apart from Q11, which I can’t make sense of! Please explain it to me (Ich kann es an einem Tag machen), why “an”? Question 13 tripped me up, I answered “Ich habe für eine Stunde geduscht” duh!

2 years ago

Quick question re Q14: Why “seit letzten Montag” and not “seit letztem Montag”?
Cheers :-)