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How to Tell Time In Spanish

"¿Cómo decir la hora en español?", this is a question that many language learners may ask when studying Spanish. In this article, we will discuss how to tell time in Spanish", its meaning in Spanish, and how to translate it into Spanish. We will also cover some regional differences and provide some useful Spanish phrases for telling time.

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What is "How to Tell Time" in Spanish?

"How to tell time" in Spanish translates to "cómo decir la hora" (IPA: /ˈkomo ðeˈθiɾ la ˈoɾa/) or "cómo indicar la hora" (IPA: /ˈkomo indiˈkaɾ la ˈoɾa/). The former translates to "how to say the time" while the latter translates to "how to indicate the time". Both phrases are commonly used in Spanish to refer to the act of telling time.

How to Tell Time in Spanish

Telling time in Spanish follows a similar pattern to English, but there are some differences. In Spanish, you use the 12-hour clock, just like in English, but the structure of the sentence is different. In English, we say "it is 2:30", but in Spanish, you would say "son las dos y media", which translates to "it is two and a half".

The basics of telling time in Spanish involve the following:

  • Use the verb "ser" to indicate the time of day, such as es la una (It is one o'clock.)
  • Use the plural form of "ser", which is "son", to indicate times after one o'clock, such as son las dos (It is two o'clock.)
  • Use the word "y" to indicate minutes past the hour, such as son las tres y diez (It is ten past three.)
  • Use the word "menos" to indicate minutes before the hour, such as son las cuatro menos cuarto (It is a quarter to four.)

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Regional Differences

It is important to note that there are some regional differences when it comes to telling time in Spanish. For example, in some countries, it is common to use y cuarto to indicate quarter past the hour, while in others, y quince is used instead. Similarly, some Spanish speakers may use en punto to indicate when it is exactly on the hour, while others may simply say the hour without any additional phrases.

Useful Spanish Phrases for Telling Time

Here are some useful Spanish phrases for telling time:

  • ¿Qué hora es?

(What time is it?)

  • Son las...


  • Es la una en punto

(It's one o'clock.)

  • Y media

(And half past.)

  • Menos cuarto

(Quarter to.)

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How to Tell Time in Spanish: Sample Sentences

Here are five sample sentences you can use to tell time in Spanish:

  • Necesito saber la hora.

(I need to know the time.)

  • ¿Puedes decirme qué hora es?

(Can you tell me what time it is?)

  • Son las seis en punto.

(It's six o'clock sharp.)

  • Es la una y media de la tarde.

(It's one-thirty in the afternoon.)

  • Faltan cinco para las tres.

(It's five minutes to three.)


Learning how to tell time in Spanish is an important part of mastering the language. With the help of the phrases and tips provided in this article, you can easily learn how to indicate the time of day in Spanish. Remember to take note of regional differences, and practice regularly to improve your Spanish language skills. ¡Buena suerte! 

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