I remember being totally confused when I was first taught “halb acht” in my first German course. I thought my German teacher was making a joke. It seemed like a funny way to say it. :lol:
I got even more confused when my teacher tried to explain that the German expression was different from the English expression “half eight”. Then I was convinced she was pulling my leg. :lol:
Shortly after finally having mastered the German expression, I got new neighbors. They were British. That’s when the real trouble started. We had never-ending mix-ups whenever it came to talking a time that was thirty minutes past any hour. :lol:
Usage of “of” and “after” is really interesting and unexpected for me. By the way, if I’m not mistaken there is also an expression “it’s five minutes to…” in a sense of “It’s high time or there is no time”
Correct me if I’m mistaken
That just sounds like a statement meaning that there is only 5 minutes’ time remaining for something.
Let’s say you’re taking a timed test and the test is scheduled to end at 12:00. At 11:55 the teacher/tester might say “It’s five minutes to” simply as a signal that the test will end in 5 minutes.
I have been confused all my life by what “five of” means. My mother used to say it all the time, and I was never sure whether she meant “five to” or “five after”.
“half eight”: When visiting my almost-native-sounding Czech girl in England, I gave up and started making her tell me the time in Czech, so I wouldn’t be confused by “half five” and think it meant 4:30.
Amy, if you thought the German halb acht was bad, think of a language where they say things like “after ten minutes half eight” to mean 8:20. Anyway, I always took halb acht as meaning that eight o’clock is half full. It helped me to think of each hour as a container that could be filled halfway. Of course, that didn’t stop me from showing up an hour late a lot.