Telling The Time In Spanish

If you are still nervous of interacting with real people but you need practice speaking to people in a Spanish speaking country, then just ask them the time. It is a great way to have a micro-conversation in Spanish. As you walk down the street you can ask 10 different people the time and really break down the barriers that stop you from talking to strangers.

So what do you say to these random people?

Here are 3 different ways to ask the time in Spanish.
¿Qué hora es? – (What time is it?)
Perdona, ¿tienes hora? – (Excuse me, do you have the time?)
Disculpe, ¿puede decirme qué hora es? – (Excuse me, could you tell me the time please?)

And to understand what they reply to you or to respond if someone asks you for the time, here are some examples using the core Spanish vocabulary for telling the time.

Son las cuatro – (it’s four o’clock)
Son las cinco y media – (it’s half past five)
Son las ocho menos cuarto – (it’s quarter to eight)
Son las ocho y cuarto – (it’s quarter past eight)
Es la una – (it’s one o’clock)
Son las tres y veinte cinco – (it’s 3.25)
Es media noche – (it’s midnight)

Notice how one o’clock uses the singular form of the verb, as there is only one hour being talked about.

If you’re not sure how to start a conversation with a stranger in the street, see this page for ways to say hello in Spanish.