Telling the time in Spanish

In this lesson, we will focus on how to express 12-hour clock times, and how to say half past, quarter to/past ...

How to ask what time it is

¿Qué hora es?
What time is it?

Look at these examples to learn how to say:

  • it is  [time] o'clock:

 

Es la una en punto.
It is one o'clock.

 

Son las dos en punto.
It is two o'clock.

 

Son las tres en punto.
It is three o'clock.

Note how for one o'clock we use "es" (it is...) but for numbers other than "one" we use "son" (it is...).

We also say "es" for midnight and noon:

 

Es mediodía.
It is noon.

 

Es medianoche.
It is midnight.

  • it is half past [hour] 

Es la una y media.
It is half past one.

Son las dos y media.
It is half past two.

Note for "half past [hour]" you add "y media".

  • it is quarter past / quarter to [hour]

Es la una y cuarto.
It is a quarter past one.

Son las diez y cuarto.
It is a quarter past ten.

Es la una menos cuarto.
It is a quarter to one.

Son las once menos cuarto.
It is a quarter to eleven.

To express quarter past and quarter to, you add "y cuarto" (past) or "menos cuarto" (literally minus quarter) after the hour.

  • it is [minutes] past [hour]

Es la una y diez.
It is ten past one.

Son las doce y veinticinco.
It is twenty-five past twelve.

To express [minutes] past [hour], add "y [number of minutes]" after the hour.

  • it is [minutes] to [hour]

Es la una menos veinte.
It is twenty to one.

Son las siete menos cinco.
It is five to seven.

To express [minutes] to [hour], add "menos [number of minutes]" after the hour.

Important

In all the examples above see how we also use "la" for one and "las" for any other number.

It'd be incorrect to say:

"Es las una y media." 

"Son la cinco y cuarto."

Remember:

en punto (o'clock)

y cuarto (quarter past)

menos cuarto (quarter to)

y media (half past)

y [minutos] (minutes past)

menos [minutos] (minutes to)

 See also Using A + la/las + [time] to express at what time something takes place

Learn more about these related Spanish grammar topics

Idioms about Time

Examples and resources

Son las dos en punto.
It is two o'clock.


Son las once menos cuarto.
It is a quarter to eleven.


Son las dos y media.
It is half past two.


Es mediodía.
It is noon.


Es la una en punto.
It is one o'clock.


Es la una menos cuarto.
It is a quarter to one.


Es la una y media.
It is half past one.


Son las siete menos cinco.
It is five to seven.


Es la una en punto.
It is one o'clock.


Son las diez y cuarto.
It is a quarter past ten.


Es medianoche.
It is midnight.


Es la una menos veinte.
It is twenty to one.


¿Qué hora es?
What time is it?


Es la una y cuarto.
It is a quarter past one.


Son las doce y veinticinco.
It is twenty-five past twelve.


Son las tres en punto.
It is three o'clock.


Es la una y diez.
It is ten past one.


Son las cinco y media.
It is half past five.


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