How to Tell Time in Spanish

How to tell time in Spanish
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Hello, there! Today we will study how to Tell Time in Spanish. But, what time means? As you know, time is a relative concept. Today we will focus on Time-related to the hour. So, let’s get started!

How to ask for the time?

You will need this every time you loose your cellphone or if you want to start a conversation. The question in Spanish is: ¿Qué hora es? Repeat after me: ¿Qué-hora-es?. Literally, this means: What time is it?

Now that you know that, let’s see how to answer.

How to Tell Time in Spanish

Let’s see the vocabulary in this table:

Es la una It’s one o’clock
Son las dos It’s two o’clock
Son las tres It’s three o’clock
Son las cuatro It’s four o’clock
Son las cinco It’s five o’clock
Son las seisIt’s six o’clock
Son las sieteIt’s seven o’clock
Son las ochoIt’s eight o’clock
Son las nueveIt’s nine o’clock
Son las diezIt’s ten o’clock
Son las onceIt’s eleven o’clock
Son las doceIt’s twelve o’clock
How to tell time in Spanish

The big difference between the way to say time in English and in Spanish is the order of the numbers. For example, to tell this time: 5.45, you would say ‘it’s a quarter to six’ in English. In Spanish, you have to say ‘Son las seis menos cuarto’. So, literally, you are saying: It’s six minus a quarter.

Vocabulary for telling the time

Now let’s see how to say what comes after, if we are not at o’clock time:

Son las dos y cincoIt’s two five
Son las dos y diezIt’s two ten
Son las dos y cuarto or Son las dos y quinceIt’s a quarter past two / It’s two fifteen
Son las dos y veinteIt’s two twenty
Son las dos y veinticincoIt’s two twenty-five
Son las dos y media or Son las dos y treintaIt’s half past two or It’s two-thirty
Son las tres menos cuarto or Son las dos y treinta y cincoIt’s a quarter to three or It’s two thirty-five
Son las tres menos veinte or Son las dos y cuarentaIt’s twenty to three or It’s two-forty
Son las tres menos cuarto or Son las dos y cuarenta y cincoIt’s a quarter to three or It’s two forty-five
Son las tres menos diez or Son las dos y cincuentaIt’s ten to three or It’s two-fifty
Son las tres menos cinco or Son las dos y cincuenta y cincoIt’s five to three or It’s two fifty-five
How to tell time in Spanish

One important thing about telling the time is that every time you answer, you have to use the ver “Ser” in plural and 3rd person, so, ‘son’ and then the feminine plural article ‘las’. That’s because the hour is a feminine noun and the hours are plural except when we are talking about ‘1’. For example:

-¿Qué hora es?

-Son las 3 y media (It’s 3.30)


-¿Qué hora es?

-Es la una y media (It’s 1.30)

And what about am and pm?

Be aware that in Latin America we use the 24-hour system. So it’s very probable that if you receive a message in Spanish for an appointment you see something like La clase empieza a las 16:30 (The class starts at 4.30 pm).

Also, notice that we use the word ‘y’ (and) to express time, for example, Son las 2 y media (It’s half past two). Or: Es la una y diez (It’s one ten).

Okay, that was all for today. Remember you can have a trial class, just contact us today and schedule it! See you soon!

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