Home Language Learning Find out how to Inform the Time in Spanish (Full Information)

Find out how to Inform the Time in Spanish (Full Information)

Find out how to Inform the Time in Spanish (Full Information)


Ever marvel easy methods to inform the time in Spanish? That is tremendous vital as a result of Spanish-speaking cultures usually function on very totally different schedules than the remainder of the world – suppose taking a protracted siesta over lunch break and dinner beginning at 9 or 10 pm!

So make no assumptions about time in Spanish-speaking international locations. Earlier than you do something, ensure you clearly perceive what time issues happent. Fortunately, I’m right here that can assist you as each your language and cultural information.

On this article, I’ll educate you the next phrases and extra:

  • ¿Qué hora es? (“What time is it?”)
  • Es/Son… (“It’s … o’clock.”)
  • Es la una y media. (“It’s 1:30.”)
  • Son las diez de la mañana. (“It’s 10:00 am.”)
  • Son las ocho de la noche. (“It’s 8:00 pm.”)
  • Como a la una. (“I eat at 1:00.”)
  • ¿A qué hora te acuestas? (“What time do you go to mattress?”)

And only a fast bit about me earlier than we get caught in: I’m a globe-trotting American who has spent most of my grownup life abroad. I’m a language instructor and author, and I’ve spent over 5 years learning Spanish.

Let’s get began!

The Fundamentals of Telling Time in Spanish: What to Know First

First, let’s do some prep so we will say the time in Spanish like a professional.

If you understand how to rely from 1 to 59, you’ll be capable to grasp easy methods to say the time in Spanish. (And in case you haven’t completed so but, try our article all about counting in Spanish!) However in case you’re not fairly there but, you’ll be able to say rather a lot by simply studying 1 via 12 for now.

We may even be utilizing the verb “to be” (ser) in Spanish. We have now extra particulars about it in our article about Spanish irregular verbs, however what it’s essential to know is that this: within the current tense, we’ll use es (“[it] is”) and son (“[they] are”). Why? I’ll clarify that subsequent!

Find out how to Ask and Reply “What Time Is It?” in Spanish

The most typical technique to ask for the time in Spanish is by asking ¿Qué hora es?, which suggests, “What time is it?” Easy! Now let’s take a look at easy methods to reply this query.

Find out how to Reply ¿Qué Hora Es?: “What Time Is It?”

Now, to reply “What time is it” in Spanish, we are going to begin our sentence with both es or son. How have you learnt which one to make use of?

Straightforward! If it’s within the one o’clock vary, you utilize the singular es. If it’s two o’clock or later, you utilize the plural son.

Then we add la (within the case of “one o’clock”) or las (for “two o’clock or later) plus the quantity.

So in different phrases:

  • “It’s one o’clock” = Es la una.
  • “It’s two o’clock” = Son las dos.
  • “It’s three o’clock” = Son las tres.
  • “It’s 4 o’clock” = Son las cuatro.
  • “It’s 5 o’clock” = Son las cinco.
  • “It’s six o’clock” = Son las seis.
  • “It’s seven o’clock” = Son las siete.
  • “It’s eight o’clock” = Son las ocho.
  • “It’s 9 o’clock” = Son las nueve.
  • “It’s ten o’clock” = Son las diez.
  • “It’s eleven o’clock” = Son las as soon as.
  • “It’s twelve o’clock” = Son las doce.

Now, Spanish doesn’t have an “am” and “pm” system. As an alternative, it specifies the time of day with the next 4 phrases:

  • de la mañana = “within the morning.” This technically is for any time earlier than midday, however is usually used for any time earlier than lunch (which may be a bit later).
  • de la tarde = “within the afternoon.” Use this for occasions within the afternoon however earlier than dusk, roughly between 12:00 pm to six:00 pm.
  • de la noche = “at evening.” Use this for many occasions within the night or evening, roughly between 6:00 pm to 12:00 am. (Word that what constitutes noche vs. tarde could differ throughout areas and cultural contexts.)
  • de la madrugada = “in the course of the evening.” We don’t have this precise expression in English, but it surely’s for the small hours very late at evening or very early within the morning. (Helpful in case you go partying or clubbing, or else if you wish to yell at somebody for calling you at 2:00 am!)

So for instance, to say “It’s ten o’clock am,” you’d say Son las diez de la mañana. Alternatively, to say “It’s eight o’clock pm,” you’d say Son las ocho de la noche. And in case your ex calls you to let you know they miss you at one am? ¡Es la una de la madrugada!

By the way in which, Spanish additionally has phrases for “midday” or “noon” (mediodía) and “midnight” (medianoche).

Word that generally Spanish makes use of the 24-hour clock – or in case you’re American like me, you would possibly know this as “navy time.” So occasionally, you’ll hear or see issues like “13 o’clock.” This follows the identical sample because the above. We’ll put a pin on this for now however don’t fear. I’ll go into extra element about this in only a bit.

Particular Instances and Time Expressions in Spanish

Okay, so we’ve lined the essential hours, however how do you say particular occasions in Spanish? In spite of everything, time isn’t at all times spot on the hour!

That is straightforward! To point minutes, simply add y and the variety of minutes.
For instance, 6:05 could be las seis y cinco. 12:36 could be las doce y treinta y seis.

Word that some folks could change y (“and”) with con (“with”) or fully omit this phrase! So 9:10 may very well be las nueve y diez or las nueve con diez, or las nueve diez. This will likely rely on the dialect of Spanish being spoken or private desire. However utilizing y is essentially the most broadly understood and used model of this sentence.

Now, when the time hits 15-minute increments, issues usually change a bit:

  • If it’s a “quarter previous” the hour (in different phrases, quarter-hour previous), use the phrase y cuarto. This implies “and 1 / 4.” So 4:15 could be las cuatro y cuarto. (I do know, it’s a little bit of a tongue tornado!)
  • If it’s “half previous” the hour (in different phrases, half-hour previous) use the phrase y media. This implies “and half.” So 1:30 could be la una y media.
  • If it’s “quarter until” the following hour (in different phrases, 45 minutes previous), use the upcoming hour and add menos cuarto (“minus 1 / 4”). So 6:45 could be las siete menos cuarto (7:00 minus 1 / 4).

Now, it’s potential to make use of the time y quince (:15), y treinta (:30), and y cuarenta y cinco (__:45). Utilizing y media is particularly widespread, however which system you utilize could rely on private and regional references, identical to as in English.

Additionally, you need to use menos flexibly with different expressions, too. For instance, for 9:55, you’ll be able to say las diez menos cinco.

By the way in which, listed here are a pair extra helpful phrases to be extra particular in regards to the time:

  • en punto = “precisely,” “on the dot,” or “sharp” (Son las tres en punto = “It’s 3:00 precisely.”)
  • más o menos = “roughly,” “about” (Es la una y cuarto, más o menos = “It’s about 1:15.”)
  • y pico = “simply after” or “simply previous” (Son las as soon as y pico = “It’s simply after 11:00.”) Word this can be a very colloquial phrase.

Saying When Issues Occur in Spanish

Okay, so we’ve lined easy methods to learn the clock. And so what about whenever you wish to discuss what time sure issues occur? For instance, how do you say, “I eat at 1:00”?

On this case, simply add a (“at”) and the time with the article la or las. So on this sentence, you’d say, Como a la una.

Right here’s an instance of a giant lunch you would possibly eat in Spain!

This goes for questions as nicely. To ask, “What time do you go to mattress?”, you’d use ¿A qué hora te acuestas? (casual) or ¿A qué hora se acuesta? (formal). This interprets actually into “At what time do you go to mattress?”

Now, to speak about whether or not one thing occurs within the am or pm, we will use the identical 4 phrases above. However you’ll usually hear Spanish audio system change de with por. Why? Let me clarify.

For instance, in case you’re on the evening shift, to say, “We work at 3:00 am,” you may say both Trabajamos a las tres de la madrugada or Trabajamos a las tres por la madrugada. There may be only a delicate distinction in which means. de emphasizes the precise time, whereas por implies a period. So the previous sentence is precise in regards to the time (in all probability implying that work begins at 3:00 am), whereas the latter emphasizes the period extending into 3:00 am.

Why, When, and Find out how to Use the 24-Hour Clock in Spanish

As I discussed, generally Spanish makes use of the 24-hour clock, and that is extra usually used whenever you write time in Spanish. You’ll see this in written or formal Spanish, akin to in official paperwork, schedules, and timetables.

For instance, Spanish would possibly use this methodology when making bulletins on public transportation or declaring occasion occasions. This will likely really feel overseas to our readers from the USA however maybe extra acquainted to any British or European readers.

In fact in spoken Spanish, we’ll use the 12-hour clock mostly. However it’s nonetheless potential to say the time utilizing the 24-hour system. Due to this fact, it will go somewhat one thing like this:

  • “It’s 13 o’clock” = Son las trece. (13:00 = 1:00 pm)
  • “It’s fourteen o’clock” = Son las catorce. (14:00 = 2:00 pm)
  • “It’s fifteen o’clock” = Son las quince. (15:00 = 3:00 pm)
  • “It’s sixteen o’clock” = Son las dieciséis. (16:00 = 4:00 pm)
  • “It’s seventeen o’clock” = Son las diecisiete. (17:00 = 5:00 pm)
  • “It’s eighteen o’clock” = Son las dieciocho. (18:00 = 6:00 pm)
  • “It’s nineteen o’clock” = Son las diecinueve. (19:00 = 7:00 pm)
  • “It’s twenty o’clock” = Son las veinte. (20:00 = 8:00 pm)
  • “It’s twenty-one o’clock” = Son las veintiuno. (21:00 = 9:00 pm)
  • “It’s twenty-two o’clock” = Son las veintidós. (22:00 = 10:00 pm)
  • “It’s twenty-three o’clock” = Son las veintitrés. (23:00 = 11:00 pm)
  • “It’s twenty-four o’clock” = Son las veinticuatro. (24:00 = 12:00 am)

For instance, whenever you take a look at the timetable to e-book a practice from Madrid to Toledo (a beautiful day journey, by the way in which!) on Renfe, you’ll discover they use the 24-hour clock!

So whenever you purchase your Spanish practice ticket, ensure you’re cautious. If not, you would possibly by chance find yourself on the station pondering you allow at 3:00 as a substitute of 13:00!

Understanding Ser and the Grammar in Spanish Time

There are two issues value noticing about ser when utilizing telling time in Spanish. And understanding these grammar factors will push your Spanish comprehension as much as the following stage!

First, understand that whenever you ask, “What time is it?” you don’t use the plural type of the verb ser. That is true even when you understand it’s two o’clock or later. It is because ¿Qué hora es? actually means “What hour is it?” (It will sound foolish to ask “What hours are they?” even in English!)

Second, in case you’re on the stage the place you’re studying in regards to the variations between ser and estar, you could be questioning why we don’t use estar. “Wait a minute, isn’t ser used for everlasting issues, and estar for non permanent issues? Why don’t we use estar for the reason that time adjustments continuously?”

It’s an awesome query! Though Spanish doesn’t normally use estar with everlasting states, time is the exception. Presumably, Spanish audio system view time as a everlasting and steady state. In any case, it’s a linguistic conference that has been in place for a very long time.

However don’t fear an excessive amount of about this. We have now an awesome acronym (DOCTOR, anybody?) that can assist you bear in mind this in our article all about when to make use of ser and estar! In the event you’re prepared for it, undoubtedly test it out!

Spanish Time and Cultural Variations

Hispanic tradition is legendary for its notion of time in comparison with many Anglophone cultures! Listed below are a couple of key variations, though there may be some variance relying on whether or not you’re in an city or rural space.

Punctuality is Considerably Relaxed

Within the US and UK for instance, punctuality is valued. Being on time reveals respect for the opposite particular person’s time. Nonetheless, in lots of Spanish-speaking cultures, this doesn’t at all times maintain true. Being “on time” is extra versatile. The thought of sticking to deliberate schedules for utmost administration effectivity isn’t as engaging. It’s not unusual for occasions and conferences to begin later than the scheduled time.

However watch out – that is normally true when individuals are assembly one another. If in case you have a practice to catch, ensure you’re on time!

Meal Instances Begin Later

In lots of Spanish-speaking international locations, meals – particularly dinner – usually begin later than within the US and UK. It’s not unusual for dinner to begin wherever between 8:00 to 10:00 pm in Hispanic tradition! Nonetheless, lunch is normally the most important meal in these cultures, so dinner is way lighter than in lots of English-speaking international locations.

I simply met somebody from Argentina who advised me she doesn’t ship her youngsters to mattress till midnight – in all probability as a result of they don’t eat dinner till 10:00 pm!

Lunch can be usually comparatively late, usually beginning between 1:00 to three:00 pm. That is additionally related to siesta tradition, during which companies would possibly shut for a couple of hours after lunch. Staff usually take lengthy lunches (in comparison with the 30 or 60 minutes widespread in US tradition).

This may be seen as a blessing or a curse. Whereas taking a few hours to digest a protracted lunch may be nice for some folks, a Spanish pal I met in Spain felt burdened by this. Since most companies had been additionally closed right now, he couldn’t do any errands, and since lunches ran late, the top of working hours did too!

Telling Spanish Time Like a Professional!

Now that you understand all of the ins and outs of telling time in Spanish, you’ll by no means get confused once more! With only a few widespread phrases, you’ll be able to discuss all kinds of occasions and make all kinds of plans. So have enjoyable, and hasta luego (goodbye)!

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Kelsey Lechner

Translator, instructor, interpreter

Kelsey is a author, translator, and educator. She is an avid lover of dance, canines, and tea. LinkedIn | Contently

Speaks: English, Japanese, Spanish, Mandarin Chinese language, Swahili, Bengali

View all posts by Kelsey Lechner



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