Asking and Telling the Time in Spanish: The Ultimate Guide
Learn How to Say the Time and Ask for the Time in Spanish
Never be late again with our step-by-step guide
Making arrangements with other people can sometimes be tricky, especially if you have to do it in another language. No more stressing, we’ve got you!
With this blogpost, you will be able to tell others to be on time and make sure you know when you have to be somewhere. Get ready to tell the time in Spanish and fill your agenda with some fun plans!
1. How to Ask for the Time in Spanish
Are you a person who is always running late? Or are you always early? Nothing is more frustrating than having to wait for someone without an explanation.
You could use:
And if you really can’t make it, you can say
Do you want to learn to say the time in a more specific way?
Let’s start with the part you will probably need the most: asking for the time in Spanish. You can use the following expressions to ask for the time:
Even though tiempo means time (and, confusingly, "weather"), you never use the word "tiempo" to ask what the time is.
2. How to Tell the Time in Spanish
Now that you know how to ask for the time in Spanish, let’s take a look at how to say the time, or in Spanish “cómo se dice la hora”.
In Spanish, you use the verb ser to talk about time. Do you need to freshen up your knowledge about ser and estar or about numbers in Spanish? Take a look at our blogposts:
Check our ultimate guide to Spanish toughest verbs – Ser and Estar. Explained in detail by levels and made easy by our Spanish teachers.
Unravel the clutter of endless confusing Numbers in Spanish with this complete guide on how to make sense of the cardinal and ordinal Spanish numbers.
On the Hour
In general, you use the third person plural, son, except for one o’clock, where you use es.
In Spanish you use the feminine article la before the hour (derived from la hora). As you can see, for la una we use la, while for all other numbers las.
One o'clock is an exception is Spanish: You say Es la una.
Another option is to use the 24-hour clock and say Son las dieciséis, for example, although this is less common. To help you out, we have an overview of the numbers until 24:
Numbers from 0 to 10:
Numbers from 11 to 24:
Quarter Past, Quarter to and Half Past
Now you know how to say the time on the hour, but what if it’s half past 2? Or a quarter to 4?
- If it’s half past the hour in Spanish, use the phrase y media.
- If it’s a quarter past the hour, use the phrase y cuarto.
- If it’s a quarter until the hour, use the phrase menos cuarto.
Time + Minutes
If you want to be even more specific, you can use the next formula until half past the hour:
es/son + las + hour + y + number of minutes
es/son + las + hour + con + number of minutes
For everything after half past the hour, you can use the formula:
es/son + las + hour + menos + number of minutes
Here are are a few examples:
In Latin America, you can also use the phrases cuarto para or un cuarto para to say a quarter 'til. Note that both the present tense third-person singular (es) and plural (son) of ser are commonly used with this phrase.
✏️ Test Your Knowledge
3. Time Expressions in Spanish
Of course, there are other ways to express the time without mentioning the hour. Here is some vocabulary you could use to talk about the different times of the day:
the middle of the night
To make it even easier for you, we have prepared an overview of the most common time expressions:
El fin de semana
El proximo viernes
El viernes que viene
Hasta el lunes
Antes del miércoles
Después del miércoles
Desde el domingo
Todo el día
Todos los días
El sábado por la mañana
Mañana por la tarde
Mañana por la tarde
Mañana por la noche
The day after tomorrow
En dos/tres/cuatro/etc. días
In two/three/four/etc. days
Do you want to learn more? Take a look at our blogpost about the Days of the Week, Months and Seasons in Spanish.
Finally, there are also a few sayings and other expressions about the time in Spanish:
Now you have everything you need to make plans in Spanish. Never be late again!
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