Lesson Topics

Telling Time

Notes:

  1. The written lesson is below.
  2. Links to quizzes, tests, etc. are to the left.

The verb ser is used to express the time of day. Use es when referring to "one o'clock" and use son when referring to all other hours.

Es la una.
It's one o'clock.

Son las dos.
It's two o'clock.



The feminine article (la, las) is used before the hour because it refers to "la hora."

Es la una.
It's one o'clock.

Son las dos.
It's two o'clock.



Minutes can be added to the hour using the word y (and).

Es la una y cinco.
It's five minutes past one.

Son las tres y doce.
It's twelve minutes past three.



Minutes can be subtracted from the hour using the word menos (less).

Es la una menos cinco.
It's five minutes till one.

Son las tres menos doce.
It's twelve minutes till three.



You can also use the words media (half) and cuarto (quarter).

Es la una y media.
It's half past one.

Son las dos y cuarto.
It's quarter past two.

Son las tres menos cuarto.
It's quarter till three.



To say something occurs at a specific time, use the formula a + la(s) + time.

La fiesta empieza a las nueve.
The party begins at nine o'clock.

El banco abre a las ocho y media.
The bank opens at half past eight.



To differentiate between a.m. and p.m. use the expressions de la mañana, de la tarde and de la noche.

Son las dos de la tarde.
It's two in the afternoon.

Son las dos de la mañana.
It's two in the morning.

Son las diez de la noche.
It's ten in the evening.



When no specific time is mentioned, use the expressions por la mañana, por la tarde, por la noche.

Siempre leo el periódico por las mañanas.
I always read the newspaper in the morning.



Here are a number of useful time expressions:

por la mañana
in the morning (no specific time)
de la mañana
in the morning (specific time)
por la tarde
in the afternoon (no specific time)
de la tarde
in the afternoon (specific time)
por la noche
in the evening or night (no specific time)
de la noche
in the evening or night (specific time)
la mañana
morning
el mañana
morrow, future
mañana por la mañana
tomorrow morning
pasado mañana
the day after tomorrow
ayer
yesterday
anoche
last night
la noche anterior, anteanoche
the night before last
el lunes que viene
next Monday
la semana que viene
next week
el año que viene
next year
el lunes pasado
last Monday
la semana pasada
last week
el año pasado
last year
al mediodía
at noon
a la medianoche
at midnight
alrededor de
around
de día
days
durante el día
during the day
a tiempo
on time
en punto
exactly, on-the-dot
tarde
late
temprano
early

Items of Interest