Help, I don't know when to use im, am or um!

Im, am, um – three little words that can cause so much trouble.

I often hear students use the wrong word when they need to use one of the prepositions in (in+dem=im), an (an+dem=am) and um (um+dem=um) when they are used for time expressions. So I made this infographic which I hope will help a bit.


To recap:

We use “im” when we talk about seasons or months.

  • Mein Geburtstag ist im Sommer.
  • Mein Geburtstag ist im Juli.

We use “am” when we talk about days and times of the day.

  • Ich bin am 24. Juli geboren.
  • Ich bin am Donnerstag geboren.
  • Ich bin am Morgen geboren.

We use “um” when we talk about the exact time.

  • Ich bin um 8 Uhr geboren.

When we talk about years we don’t need a preposition, so ‘In 2006 I started Angelika’s German’ would just be ‘2006 began ich Angelika’s German.’  Only if we talk about ancient, important years we use ‘im Jahre’, for example ‘Goethe starb im Jahre 1852’.

So, I could complete all my birthday sentences by telling you in which year I was born, but that’s so long ago I would have to start with ‘Im Jahre …’ which I won’t 😉

Can you tell me when you were born?

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6 Responses to Help, I don’t know when to use im, am or um!

  1. Hasan al imam says:

    Ich bin am 8 januar 1982 geboren

  2. The Blocked Dwarf says:

    Baujahr ’68 -tüv ist fällig!

    • Baujahr ’68 ist noch jung und fährt noch lange. Was älter ist, fährt auch gut, muss aber manchmal in die Werkstatt oder braucht ein bisschen mehr Benzin oder Öl 😉

      • The Blocked Dwarf says:

        A ’68 British build car will have gone to that Schrottplatz in the sky a couple of decades ago. Ein Auto, Baujahr’68, aus deutscher Herstellung dagegen haelt bis Sankt Nimmerleins (A small Austrian town perchance?)

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