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How to tell time in Spanish

28 Jul, 2017 Popular Articles, Spanish for Beginners
How to tell time in Spanish3 votes. 4.67 / 5

In this lesson, we will learn how to tell time in Spanish. Telling time is an important thing to know how to do and learning how to tell time in Spanish is not a difficult task as you just need to get some basic rules.

How to ask for the time in Spanish?

  • ¿Qué hora es? = What time is it?

"¿Qué hora es?" 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 show you some main rules 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

es la/son las + number = it’s…o’clock

For example:

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

See: Numbers in Spanish 1 - 100

2. Telling the time using hours and minutes

Tell the first half hour

Son las + hour + y + number of minutes

For example:

Son las siete y seis - It's 7:06

Son las once y diez - It's 11:10

Tell the second half hour

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

For example:

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, use “media” (half) instead of “treinta” which means “thirty” in Spanish.

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).

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.

For example:

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

See also: Days of the week and months of the year in Spanish.

For example:

Son las cinco más o menos - It's about five o'clock

Es la una en punto - It's exactly one o'clock

Watch the video below for further guide and information:

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