Note that tiempo is the literal Spanish word for time. However, when telling the time, hora is used.
Resources for further reading:
Do you want to know what time it is? Asking the time in Spanish is simple. All you need to ask is:
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¿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?
Can you give me the time, please?
Son las doce y media.
It is twelve thirty.
In most cases, you will start the answer with Son las….
Por ejemplo (for example):
Son las nueve y veinticinco.
It is 9:25
Son las tres y treinta y dos.
It is 3:32
Nevertheless, there is an exception. If it is only one o’clock, you will start the answer with Es la….
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”?)
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.
¿Qué hora son?
Son las una.
As in English, you can also tell the time in 15- or 30-minute chunks.
Son las dos y cuarto.
It's a quarter past two.
Es la una y media
It's half past one.
You can also tell how much time remains until striking the hour. For example,
Es cuarto para las cuatro.
It's a quarter to four.
Son cinco para las tres.
It's five to three.
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
de la noche
in the evening
Son las diez y veintitrés de la mañana
It is 10:23am
Son las seis y cinco de la tarde
It is 6:05pm
Es cuarto para las doce de la noche
It is 11:45pm
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...?
At what time...?
¿A qué hora te levantaste hoy?
At what time did you get up today?
¿A qué hora comienza?
At what time does it start?
Check out Spanish Time for more useful info! Here are some recommended lessons:
See you soon! ¡Hasta pronto!
Mauricio Evlampieff: Rocket Spanish
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