Telling time in Spanish

Learning how to tell time in Spanish is not a difficult task. All you need to do is to learn some basic rules for telling the time of day in Spanish that we listed out below.

How to ask for the time in Spanish?

  • ¿Qué hora es? = What time is it?

¿Qué hora es? Should be used when asking for the time in Spanish. It is equivalent to “what time is it” or “what is the time” in English. Rememer to ask for the time in singular.

How to tell time in Spanish?

Here we will give you some key points that you need to keep in mind when telling, saying or writing time in Spanish.

1. Ser = to be

This is the only verb that you need to know when tell the time. Its singular form is es la (it is) and plural form is son las (they are).


  • “es la” is only used when the hour is one o’clock
  • Use “son las” for all other hours

Formula: es la/son las + number = it’s…o’clock


Son las dos - It's two o'clock
Es la una - It's one o'clock
Son las cinco - It's five o'clock
Son las once - It's eleven o'clock

2. Telling the time using hours and minutes

Tell the first half hour

Formula: Son las + hour + y + number of minutes


Son las siete y seis - It's 7:06
Son las once y diez - It's 11:10

Tell the second half hour

Formula: Son las + the next hour + menos + the amount of minutes remaining until the following hour


Son las once menos veinte - It's 10:40
Es la una menos veinticinco - It's 12:35

3. How to say half and quarter in Spanish?

If you want to indicate that it’s the half hour, then, don’t use “treinta” which means “thirty” in Spanish. Say “media” (half) instead.

Formula: Son las + hour + y media

For example:

Son las tres y media – It’s 3:30

“Cuarto” is used to say “a quarter” instead of “quince” (fifteen).

Formula: Son las + the next hour + menos cuarto

For example:

Son las tres menos cuarto - It's 2:45

Telling time in Spanish

Telling time in Spanish

4. How to say it’s noon or midnight in Spanish

  • Es mediodía - It's noon
  • Es medianoche - It's midnight

5. How to say AM or PM in Spanish?

In Spanish, “manana” is used for morning, “tarde” for afternoon, and “noche” is used for night or evening. Remember to add “de la” before these words to indicate that it’s in the morning/evening/afternoon and it’s specific time. For no specific time, use “por la” instead.


Es la una de la mañana - It's one o'clock in the morning
Son las seis de la noche - It's six o'clock in the evening
Son las cinco de la tarde - It's five o'clock in the afternoon

6. Common words and phrases when telling time in Spanish

  • a tiempo - on time
  • en punto - exactly
  • tarde - late
  • temprano – early
  • ayer - yesterday
  • anoche - last night
  • mañana por la mañana - tomorrow morning
  • el lunes que viene - next Monday
  • la semana que viene - next week
  • el año que viene - next year

You may want to see: Days of the week and months of the year in Spanish.


Son las cinco más o menos - It's about five o'clock
Es la una en punto - It's exactly one o'clock

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