How to Tell the Time in Spanish

Do you want to know what time it is? Asking the time is simple in Spanish. All you need to ask is:

¿Qué hora es?

Download
¿Qué hora es?
What time is it?

Literally, this question means: What hour is it? But we translate it as: What time is it?

If you wish to ask a stranger for the time in a more polite way, you could say

¿Me puede decir la hora, por favor?
 

Download
¿Me puede decir la hora, por favor?
Can you please tell me the time?

This question means, Can you please tell me the time?

You already have all the vocabulary you need to understand the answer. All you need are the verb ser and the numbers.

The sentence structure for telling the time is similar to English.

What time is it? - It is twelve thirty.
¿Qué hora es? - Son las doce y media.

Download
Son las doce y media.
It is twelve thirty.

In most cases, you will start the answer with Son las….

Por ejemplo:

1. ¿Qué hora es? (9:25)– (Son las nueve y veinticinco.)

Download
Son las nueve y veinticinco.
It is 9:25

2. ¿Me puede decir la hora, por favor? (3:32) –(Son las tres y treinta y dos.)

Download
Son las tres y treinta y dos.
It is 3:32

Exception at One O’Clock

Nevertheless, there is an exception. If it is only one o’clock, you will start the answer with Es la….

¿Qué hora es? (1:00) – Es la una.

Download
Es la una.
It is 1:00

That is because the verb ser must agree with the quantity of the subject, hours.

Do you know why the feminine “la” and “las” are used?
Hint: what gender is “hora”?

International Variations

In some parts of the Spanish-speaking world, you hear the question, “¿Qué hora es?” asked as “¿Qué hora son?” Your answer will always begin “Son las…”, regardless of whether the hour that follows is singular or multiple. Por ejemplo … “¿Qué hora son?” “Son las una."

Talking about Quarter Hours and Thirty Minutes

As in English, you can also tell the time in 15- or 30-minute chunks.

15 min/quarter = cuarto
30 min/half = media

Por ejemplo:

1. ¿Qué hora es? (2:15) – Son las dos y cuarto.
It’s a quarter past two.

Download
Son las dos y cuarto.
It’s a quarter past two.

2. ¿Qué hora es? (1:30) – Es la una y media.

Download
Es la una y media
It’s half past one.

It’s half past one.

You can also tell how much time remains until striking the hour. For example,

a quarter to… = cuarto para las…

Por ejemplo:

1. ¿Qué hora es? (3:45) – Es cuarto para las cuatro.

Download
Es cuarto para las cuatro.
It's a quarter to four.

2. ¿Qué hora es? (2:55) – Son cinco para las tres.

Download
Son cinco para las tres.
It's five to three.

Is it Morning or Night?

You can indicate morning or afternoon by using am and pm just as you would in English.

Alternatively, you may say
de la mañana - (in the morning)
de la tarde - (in the afternoon), or
de la noche - (for in the evening)

Download
de la mañana
in the morning
Download
de la tarde
in the afternoon
Download
de la noche
in the evening

Por ejemplo:

1. ¿Qué hora es? (10:23am)
– Son las diez y veintitrés de la mañana

Download
Son las diez y veintitrés de la mañana
It is 10:23am

2. ¿Qué hora es? (6:05pm) – Son las seis y cinco de la tarde

Download
Son las seis y cinco de la tarde
It is 6:05pm

3. ¿Qué hora es? (11:45pm) – Es cuarto para las doce de la noche

Download
Es cuarto para las doce de la noche
It is 11:45pm

Asking at What Time Something will Occur

When you need to ask the time that a meeting or certain activity is going to take place, you can use the phrase:

¿A qué hora…?

This means, At what time…?

Download
¿A qué hora...?
At what time...?

Por ejemplo:

1. ¿A qué hora te levantaste hoy?
- At what time did you get up today?

2. ¿A qué hora nos juntamos esta noche?
- At what time should we meet tonight?

In the next section we’ll work on Spanish Verbs in the Present Tense and Conjugation

Testing!

Test yourself with the Rocket Spanish testing tools! Improve your knowledge of Spanish and earn points for your badges along the way!

Note that the tests below are listed from easiest to hardest. Also, when a test is successfully rated the rating icon will at the top right of this page will show that rating.

Hola, my name’s Mauricio Evlampieff, I’m the host of Rocket Spanish.

I come from the beautiful country of Chile, which means Spanish is my native language. But I know how hard it can be to learn a new language, because I’ve been there.

Together with my English speaking colleague, Amy, I want to help you to speak and understand Spanish while cutting your learning time in half with my Rocket Spanish online course.

I've travelled the world over, and have found that languages are a great way to meet people and discover new things. I really want to make your Spanish learning experience rewarding and fun!

Speak Spanish...
  • With over 30 fully downloadable Interactive Audio Lessons. Based on actual everyday Spanish conversations, these lessons average over 25 minutes each, giving you more than 12 hours of real Spanish conversation!

Try one for yourself today! Here is the very first Interactive Audio Lesson from Rocket Spanish

Listen to the FULL Audio

Understand Spanish...

There are just 3 steps to dramatically improving your understanding of Spanish!

  • Learn to understand exactly how Spanish works by exploring over 30 Language & Culture Lessons
  • Train your ear with Hear It Say It !, the self-testing tool that perfects your pronunciation by harnessing the power of our Rocket Record voice comparison technology.
  • Put yourself on the spot by testing how accurately you can translate randomly selected phrases using Rocket Record and the Know It! self-testing tool.
Cut your learning time in half...
  • By checking out our Advanced Learning Techniques; making the most of My Forum, our 24/7 online learners space, and making learning fun with the Language Master Games.
  • Plus you can see just how quickly you language skills are growing with My Level, our self-testing tool.

And that’s not all!

So, if you’re ready to speak and understand Spanish while cutting your learning time in half, then Rocket Spanish is just what you need...!

Like This Resource? Please Share!

Like Our Site? Follow Us!

Click here to
improve your Spanish,
get a free trial, a
free report and more...
Rocket Spanish Host - Mauricio Evlampieff
PC Mag PC mag editor rating

“Rocket Languages is our Editors’ Choice for language-learning.”

Bessie Awards

More Learn Spanish resources

Rocket Spanish Premium

This beginner level course for new learners contains some amazing features that will really get your Spanish language skills moving.

Click Here to Learn More


Click here to take a tour of Rocket Spanish Premium


Rocket Spanish Premium Plus

-Intermediate Course

This course is perfect if you have some Spanish skills already and you're ready to step up to the next level

Click Here to Learn More


Rocket Spanish Platinum

-Advanced Course

If you're ready to become a fluent, natural, confident Spanish speaker then this advanced level course is for you.

Click Here to Learn More


Learn Spanish Forum

This Spanish language forum is where you go to get feedback and to connect with other learners. Interacting with teachers and peers will really help develop your understanding!

Click Here to Learn More


Learn Spanish Blog

Rocket Languages
Reviews

How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?

How likely are you to buy again?

Are you happy with the price?

Would you recommend to a friend?

How was the Customer Service?


Jeff Rothert - Washington, USA - Rocket Spanish

"...the program helped me to learn more Spanish than ever before."

Read More

Jeff Rothert

Washington, USA

"...the program helped me to learn more Spanish than ever before."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

I just wanted to say the program helped me to learn more Spanish than ever before. I printed out a lot of the lessons and studied them and most of the things I learned I have retained. I have made some new friends who speak Spanish and they have been wonderful to me.

I would recommend the course because it helps create conversational opportunities with native Spanish speakers. I plan to continue to study. Gracias!


Bill H - Virginia, USA - Rocket Spanish

"...great for learning context and usage of many different Spanish words, phrases and situations. It is easy to use and it allows progress at the learner's own speed. Certainly worth the money."

Read More

Bill H

Virginia, USA

"...great for learning context and usage of many different Spanish words, phrases and situations. It is easy to use and it allows progress at the learner's own speed. Certainly worth the money."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

This course is great for learning context and usage of many different Spanish words, phrases and situations. It is easy to use and it allows progress at the learner's own speed. Certainly worth the money.


Imani - United States - Rocket Spanish

"I started the French course right after the new 2013 edition and have absolutely fell in love with the interface."

Read More

Imani

United States

"I started the French course right after the new 2013 edition and have absolutely fell in love with the interface."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

I have been using Rocket Languages to learn Spanish but decided I wanted to delve into another language. I started the French course right after the new 2013 edition and have absolutely fell in love with the interface. It has made learning another language very easy and I am definitely looking forward to learning more languages once I complete my Spanish and French courses.


David Doty - Ada, USA - Rocket Spanish

"The fact that you can access it without an expiration date makes it much more valuable to me since I will be using it over the years and they do provide updates to the material..."

Read More

David Doty

Ada, USA

"The fact that you can access it without an expiration date makes it much more valuable to me since I will be using it over the years and they do provide updates to the material..."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

I enjoy the product, although I haven't been able to complete as many lessons as I would like. The fact that you can access it without an expiration date makes it much more valuable to me since I will be using it over the years and they do provide updates to the material from time to time so that you can come back to an improved product.


Patricia Smith - Long Beach MS, USA - Rocket Spanish

"...very helpful in getting pronunciation really "tight" and natural-sounding. I do recommend Spanish Rocket for those who are earnest and passionate about speaking Spanish."

Read More

Patricia Smith

Long Beach MS, USA

"...very helpful in getting pronunciation really "tight" and natural-sounding. I do recommend Spanish Rocket for those who are earnest and passionate about speaking Spanish."

Overall
How satisfied are you with your Rocket Languages experience?
How likely are you to buy again?
Are you happy with the price?
Would you recommend to a friend?
How was the Customer Service?

I'm enjoying the process very much... Great course! I especially love the recording feature, it is very helpful in getting pronunciation really "tight" and natural-sounding. I do recommend Spanish Rocket for those who are earnest and passionate about speaking Spanish.


FREE TRIAL