Asking for and telling the time in Spanish

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Asking for and telling the time

The most common expression for asking the time is:

—¿Qué hora es? —Son las nueve.

-What time is it? -It's nine o'clock.

To answer this question:

  • We use the plural son

Son las cuatro de la tarde, son las siete, son las seis de la mañana.

It’s four in the afternoon; it’s seven o‘clock; it’s six in the morning.

  • We use the singular es uniquely with la una (one o'clock):

Es la una de la tarde, es la una de la mañana.

It's one in the afternoon, it's one o'clock in the morning.

Here are some expressions used when telling the time:

6:00: Son las seis en punto.

It's six o'clock sharp.

6:15: Son las seis y cuarto.

It's a quarter past six.

6:30: Son las seis y media.

It's half past six.

6:45: Son las siete menos cuarto (España) / Faltan quince para las siete (América Latina).

It's a quarter to seven.

6:50: Son las siete menos diez (España) / Faltan diez para las siete (América Latina).

It's ten to seven.

Note: It is common to use the 12-hour clock and specify the time of day: la madrugada (early morning), la mañana (morning), el mediodía (midday), la tarde (afternoon/evening).

«Llamo para despertarte, son las 6:30».

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