Grammar Guide
Vocabulary
Telling Time in Spanish

Telling Time in Spanish

Quick Answer

It's easy to decir la hora  (to tell time) in Spanish as long as you know your cardinal numbers and ser conjugations.

Telling Time with Ser

There are several useful formulas you can learn to help you tell the time with ser in Spanish.

One O'Clock

You can use these formulas for talking about la una  (one o'clock), the only hour used with the third person singular form of ser. The following can all be used to say It's ___ o'clock or It's (hour) (minute).

  • es + la + una (+ number of minutes)
  • es + la + una (+ y + number of minutes)
  • es + la + una (+ con + number of minutes)
Es la una treinta.
It's one thirty.
 
Es la una y veinte.
It's one twenty.
 
Es la una con cuarenta.
It's one forty.
 

This formula can be used to say It's (# of minutes) until/'til (a certain hour).

  • es + la + una + menos + number of minutes
Es la una menos diez.
It's ten 'til one.
 

From Two to Twelve

Use these formulas for talking about the hours from two to twelve, which are used with the third person plural form of ser. The following can all be used to say It's ___ o'clock or It's (hour) (minute).

  • son + las + number from two to twelve (+ number of minutes)
  • son + las + number from two to twelve (+ y + number of minutes)
  • son + las + number from two to twelve (+ con + number of minutes)
Son las tres diez.
It is three ten.
 
Son las nueve y veintinueve.
It is nine twenty-nine.
 
Son las diez con diez.
It is ten ten.
 

This formula can be used to say It's (# of minutes) until/'til (a certain hour).

  • son + las + number from two to twelve + menos + number of minutes
Son las once menos cinco.
It's five to eleven.
 

Media y Cuarto

  • To indicate that it's half past the hour in Spanish, use the phrase y media .
  • To indicate that it's a quarter past the hour, use the phrase y cuarto .
  • To indicate that it's a quarter 'til the hour, use the phrase menos cuarto .
Son las diez y media.
It's ten thirty.
 
Es la una y cuarto.
It is one fifteen. / It is a quarter after one.
 
Son las cinco menos cuarto.
It's a quarter 'til five.
 

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.

For example:

Es un cuarto para las cinco. 
It's a quarter 'til five.

 

Son un cuarto para las cinco. 
It's a quarter 'til five.

 

Other Useful Time Expressions

Here are a list of useful expressions and phrases you can use when telling time in Spanish.

SpanishEnglish
de la madrugada
 
in the (early) morning or in the wee hours
de la mañana
 
in the morning
de la tarde
 
in the afternoon
de la noche
 
in the evening or at night
a. m.
 
a.m.
p. m.
 
p.m.
en punto
 
on the dot
más o menos
 
around
medianoche
 
midnight
mediodía
 
noon
Son las dos de la madrugada. ¡Ya duérmete!
It's two in the morning. Go to sleep!
 
¿Qué hora es? - Es la una de la tarde.
What time is it? - It's one in the afternoon.
 
¿Me podría decir la hora? - Son las siete p. m.
Could you tell me the time? - It's seven p.m.
 
Son las cuatro y diez en punto.
It's four ten on the dot.
 
Son las nueve más o menos.
It's around nine o’clock.
 
¿Es medianoche o mediodía? - ¿Qué? ¿Que no ves la luna?
Is it midnight or noon? - What? Don't you see the moon?
 

Want to learn more about telling time in Spanish? Check out our article on time expressions with hacer.

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