How to Tell Time in Spanish


If you are learning Spanish or want to travel to Spain, understanding the way to tell the time in Spanish is important. It is because telling time will be beneficial when you make an appointment with friends, get to attend a particular event, and any other activities which need a specific time. 

Learning the way to tell the time in Spanish might be a little bit complicated. But don’t worry, here are formulas for telling time in Spanish which make it easier to learn. Need to learn more technical aspect of Spanish than just telling the time? See this review on Fluenz Spanish at

Before that, it is important to note that Spanish doesn’t have similar equivalents for “a.m.” and “p.m.” Instead, Spanish uses the term “de la mañana” for a.m., the term “de la tarde” for noon until 6 p.m., and the term “de la noche” from 6 p.m. until midnight. However, the time is usually described on a 24-hour clock. For example, 4 p.m. will be 16:00 h. 

The formulas

In Spanish, “¿Qué hora es?” means “What time is it?”, so you can use that phrase when you want to ask what time in Spanish. 

Answering the question of what time in Spanish is different, it depends on the time. When it is one o’clock, noon, and midnight, you have to use singular conjugation. Here are the examples:

Es la una—It’s one o’clock

Es mediodía—It’s noon

Es medianoche—It’s midnight

However, if you want to tell the time for two o’clock and after, you have to use the plural verb. Here are the examples:

Son las dos—It’s two o’clock.

Son las tres y media/y treinta—It’s 3:30

Son las cinco menos cuarto/menos quince—It’s 4:45

Son las cinco y diez—It’s 5:10

Son las siete de la mañanaIt’s 7 a.m.

Son las tres de la tardeIt’s 3 p.m.

Son las doce de la noche—It’s midnight

Adding minutes

Simply, you have to add “y” when you want to tell the time between the hour and half past plus the number of minutes. For example, 2:15 is “Son las dos y quince”

You might also need to know other numbers such as “cinco (five),” “diez (ten),” “quince (fifteen),” “veinte (twenty),” “veinticinco (twenty-five),” and “treinta (thirty).” After that, you might also need to know how to tell time for after half past hour in Spanish. 

For instance, the basic number of minutes for after half-past hour are “treinta y cinco(thirty-five),” “cuarenta (forty),” “cuarenta y cinco (forty-five),” “cincuenta (fifty),” and “cincuenta y cinco (fifty-five)”. 

Besides, you probably need to know the rest of the number from 1-60, but it is enough to just memorize those common number of minutes.


To make you more understand how to use it in a conversation, these are examples of telling time conversation in Spanish.

  1. Son las dos de la madrugada. ¡Ya duérmete!

It’s two in the morning. Go to sleep!


  1. ¿Me podría decir la hora? – Son las siete p. m.

Could you tell me the time? – It’s seven p.m.


  1. Son las cuatro y diez en punto.

It’s four ten on the dot.


  1. Son las nueve más o menos.

It’s around nine o’clock.

Well, that’s all about the explanation of how to tell the time in Spanish. Good luck!

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