Telling Time in Spanish

There are many ways of telling time in Spanish. On notecards, you can draw clocks and practice. If you dedicate a few days to it, you'll have it down in no time! (No pun intended!)

Asking About The Time

When you want to ask about the time, you ask:

¿Que hora es? - Kay or-ah es (What time is it?)

Ex. ¿Que hora es?
Es muy temprano. (It's very early)

Ex. ¿Que hora es? Son las diez y media. (It's 10:30.)

NOTICE: When telling time, you will always use 'Son las' as the Spanish consider time to be plural and feminine. The verb 'son' comes from the verb 'ser', which is the plural form of the verb 'to be'. The only time you use a singular, feminine time description is when you are talking about anything in the one o'clock hour. It would look like the following:

Ex. ¿Que hora es?
Es la una. (It's one o'clock.)
*Notice the singular verb 'es', which also comes from the verb 'ser' (to be).

Ex. ¿Que hora es?
Es la una y media. (It's one thirty.)
*Notice the use of 'y media' to mean 'half-past'.

Ex. ¿Que hora es?
Es la una y cuarto de la manana. (It's one-fifteen in the morning.)
*Notice the use of 'y cuarto' to say mean 'a quarter after'.

 

What Time Does It Begin?

When you want to ask at what time something begins or ends, you ask:

¿A que hora .? - Ah kay or-ah (At what time . ? or What time do/does . ?)

Ex. ¿A que hora comemos? Tengo hambre! - tayn-go am-bray
What time do we eat? I'm hungry!

Ex. ¿A que hora llega tu vuelo?
What time does your flight arrive?

A.m or P.m?

To make reference to the morning, afternoon, or night, you use the following:

Ex. El llega a diez y media de la manana. (He arrives at 10:30 in the morning.)
. de la manana (in the morning)

Ex. Ella llega a las dos y tres cuartos de la tarde. (She arrives at 2.45 in the afternoon.)
. 'y tres cuartos' (forty five mintues after) . de la tarde (in the afternoon)

Ex. Nosotros llegamos a las tres menos cinco minutos de la noche.
. 'menos cinco minutos' (five minutes until literally: minus five minutes)
. de la noche (in the evening/at night)

4) Often times, in Europe, schedules are given on the 24-hour time system. Time would be expressed as such:

Ex. El tren llega a las dieceocho con veinte minutos.
The train arrives at 18:20.