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how do you tell time?


how do you tell time in spanish? its soo confusing.. and i have a test tomorrow on it.. im screwed..

how do you say..for example..

1:15 pm..?

but its still so confusing.. telling time in spansih is rele hard.. helppp anyone.. thank you smile

updated SEP 7, 2009
posted by xxdekixx

2 Answers


To tell the time you need to know the following:

Your Numbers from 1 - 12 for your hour (feminine)

1-la una; 2-las dos; 3-las tres; 4-las cuatro; 5-las cinco; 6-las seis; 7-las siete;8-las ocho;9-las nueve; 10-las diez; 11-las once; 12-las doce

**Your Numbers 1-59 for your minutes (I will assume that you already know how to write these, but I will list the numbers by tens up to fifty just in case)

10-diez; 20-veinte; 30-treinta; 40-cuarenta; 50-cincuenta

The words for quarter, half, and, and before

quarter-cuarto; half-media; and-y; before-menos

The words for it is-ser

If the hour is 1 then you will use es

If the hour is between 2 and 12 then you will use son

Now putting it all together, see if you can follow these examples, paying attention to how the sentences are constructed.

1:00-Es la una

2:00-Son las dos

3:00-Son las tres

4:00-Son las cuatro

5:00-Son las cinco


Did you notice that if the hour was 1 then you use es la, but in every other instance when the hour is not 1 then you use son las.

Now to add minutes to the hour then just use the word y

1:05-Es la una y cinco

1:10-Es la una y diez

1:20-Es la una y veinte

2:06-Son las dos y seis

3:40-Son las tres y cuarenta

12:18-Son las doce y dieciocho

Now when you are telling time in English, you might use the phrases half past or quarter past or a quarter 'till. In Spanish, these are represented by y media; y cuarto; and menos cuarto


11:15-son las once y cuarto

3:15-son las tres y cuarto

6:15-son las seis y cuarto

1:15-Es la una y cuarto


10:30-Son las diez y media

2:30-Son las dos y media

1:30-Es la una y media


10:45-Son las once menos cuarto

4:45-Son las cinco menos cuarto

2:45-Son las tres menos cuarto

Just as in English, this menos pattern can be used for any time that occurs during the second half of the hour (ex: 10 till, 20 till etc)

5:40-Son las seis menos veinte (twenty till)

9:50-Son las diez menos diez (ten till)

11:55-Son las doce menos cinco (five till)

Just follow this pattern and you should be OK. Practice writing out times in Spanish over and over and it should become easy for you before too long.

I hope that this helped and good luck on your test tomorrow grin

updated SEP 7, 2009
edited by Izanoni1
posted by Izanoni1
you're a life saver.. haha thank u - xxdekixx, SEP 7, 2009
No hay de que. ¡Buenas suertes! - Izanoni1, SEP 7, 2009

Hello, xxdekixx,

Check out this video lesson: time video There is also a very clear explanation here: telling time

Hope that helps!

updated SEP 7, 2009
posted by Valerie
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