Telling the time in Spanish


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Telling the time in Spanish is very similar to English. Have you already learned Spanish numbers? If so, let’s get started on telling the time.











To ask the time:

¿Qué hora es?                                            What time is it?



To tell the time:


    Time                      Spanish                            English

1:00
Es la una (en punto).
It’s one o’clock.
1:10
Es la una y diez.
It’s ten past one.
1:15
Es la una y cuarto.
It’s a quarter past one.
1:30
Es la una y media.
It’s half past one.
1:35
Son las dos menos veinticinco.
It’s twenty-five to two.
1:45
Son las dos menos cuarto.
It’s a quarter to two.
2:00
Son las dos (en punto).
It’s two o’clock.
3:00
Son las tres (en punto).
It’s three o’clock.



Note that:


Like in English, the verb ser(to be) is used. The third plural person (son) is used for all times, save for one (o’clock). In this case, the third singular person (es) is used. Of course, time can be in the past (imperfect) and future.


The definite article is used before the hour (la/las).

4:00 Son las cuatro y diez.                          It’s ten past four.


Contrary to English, the hour comes before the minutes:

5:22 Son las cinco y veintidós.                    It’s twenty-two past five.


Y is used between the hour and minutes, during the first half of an hour:

6:12 Son las seis y doce.                             It’s twelve past six.
  

 Menos is used between the hour and minutes, during the second half of an hour:

6:40 Son las siete menos veinte.                It’s twenty to seven.




Glossary:


De la mañana: in the morning, a.m.

A(l) mediodía: at midday/ noon. This time expression if frequently used between 12:00 and the time of having lunch.

Es mediodía: it’s midday/noon.

De la tarde: in the afternoon/evening, p.m.

De la noche: in the evening, p.m.

De noche: at night.

A medianoche: at midnight.

Es medianoche: it’s midnight.

De madrugada: in the early morning.

Ayer: yesterday.

Anteayer: the day before yesterday.

Mañana: tomorrow.

Pasado mañana: the day after tomorrow.

La semana pasada: last week.

La semana que viene: next week.

En punto: o’clock, exactly.

A tiempo: on time.

Alrededor de: around.




Useful expressions:


Son las cinco de la mañana.                 It’s five in the morning.

Llegamos a mediodía.                         We arrived at midday.

Llámame a las tres de la tarde.          Call me at three in the afternoon.

¿Cuándo salimos?                                At what time are we leaving?

¿Cuánto dura la película?                    How long is the film?

Dos horas, de tres a cinco.                   Two hours, from three to five.

Son casi las siete.                               It’s almost seven.
        


24 hour clock


The 24 hour clock is only used for official schedules and written statements. Cardinal numbers are used for all minutes.


El vuelo sale a las quince (horas) y cuarenta y cinco (minutos).


The flight departures at 15:45.



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