Telling the Time

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To tell the time in Spanish you state: “Son las” + the hour and minutes. For example:

It is 3:00 = Son las tres.

It is 9:05 = Son las nueve y cinco.

The only exception to this is when you state the time when it is 1:00. In this case you use “Es la…”. For example:

It is 1:00. = Es la una.

It is 1:24. = Es la una y veinticuatro.

To state the half hour you can use “media” instead of saying the actual number of minutes. For example:

It is 2:30. = Son las dos y media.

To state quarter past the hour you could use “cuarto” instead of stating the number. For example:

It is 3:15. = Son las tres y cuarto.

When it is after the half hour Spanish speakers will go to the next hour and subtract to state the time. For example:

It is 4:35. = Son las cinco menos veinticinco.

It is 10:40. = Son las once menos veinte.

The following terms can be used with telling the time in Spanish to specify what time of day it is:

de la mañana = in the morning
de la tarde = in the afternoon
de la noche = in the night

It is 9:12 AM. = Son las nueve y doce de la mañana.

It is 9:12 PM. = Son las nueve y doce de la noche.

To state at what time a specific event happens you would say “Es a las ….” as opposed to “Son las…”

¿Qué hora es? = What time is it?

(possible response) Son las tres y media.

A qué hora es la clase? = What time is the class?

(possible response) Es a las tres y media.



Other exercises in this lesson

  • Telling the Time Sentence Building Activity
  • Telling Time Quiz
  • Listening Activity Script for Telling Time
  • Telling Time Listening Activity
  • Telling Time Conversation Activity
  • Telling the Tiime Matching Exercise
  • Telling Time Fill in the Blanks