Discover a New You in the New Year with 44% off Mango! ​       LEARN MORE>

How to tell time in Spanish?

A young man walking down the street.

To tell time in Spanish, use the verb ser along with the time. In this post, we’ll examine how to tell time in Spanish in hours, minutes, and half and quarter hours. We’ll also review how to say certain phrases, how to distinguish AM and PM, and how to talk about specific events.

Table of Contents

How to tell time in Spanish: hours

As a general rule, use verb ser to tell time in Spanish for hours, as well as for asking for the time:

¿Qué hora es? 

What time is it?

The answer to this question can be:

Son las diez.

It’s ten.

Did you notice that we use the plural son and the article las? This is because the word horas (hours) is implicit: Son las diez (horas)!

Remember: It is las because horas is a feminine plural noun.

Your turn now: How would you say “It’s two?” The answer is:

Son las dos.

   It’s two.

And a tricky one: How would you say “It’s one”?

Es la una. 

 It’s one.

Why es and la? Because this time the implicit word is hora: Es la una (hora)!

Use Es la… for “one (o’clock)”; Use Son las… for all the other hours.

TIP you can use the phrase en punto to say “o’clock”!

How to tell time in Spanish: minutes

Telling time in Spanish with minutes is different from English. In English, there are two ways to tell the time in minutes: You can read 2:10 as “two ten” or “ten past two.” In Spanish there are three:

Son las dos diez.
Son las dos y diez.
Son las dos con diez.

It’s two ten (2:10).

How to tell time in Spanish: half and quarter hours

You can also express half and quarter hours in Spanish. In English for 5:30 you can say, “It’s half past five” or “It’s five thirty.” Same in Spanish!

Son las cinco y media.It’s half past five.
Son las cinco (y) treinta.It’s five thirty.
 Use y media for
“half past”

Quarter past:

Two ways in English — two ways in Spanish!

Son las seis quince.It’s six fifteen.
Son las seis y cuarto.It’s a quarter past six.
Use y cuarto for

How to say phrases like “It’s a quarter to…” in Spanish

To say phrases like “it’s a quarter to…” in Spanish, you can continue the formula “hour + minutes” or use menos (minus) to subtract minutes from the next hour. For example, to say 6:45, you say:

Son las seis cuarenta y cinco.It’s six forty-five.
Son las siete menos cuarto.It’s a quarter to seven.
Use menos to say

In some countries, you may hear para instead of menos. The formula is a bit different in this case: minutes + para + hour. Watch the verb as well!

Es / son quince para las ocho.         It’s fifteen to eight.

Es / son cuarto para las ocho.          It’s a quarter to eight.

How to distinguish AM and PM in Spanish?

Here are some useful phrases to distinguish AM and PM in Spanish:

de la mañanain the morning
de la tardein the afternoon
de la nochein the evening/at night
al mediodíaat noon
al medianocheat midnight
es el mediodíait’s noon
son las doce del día
es la medianocheit’s midnight
son las doce de la noche

How to talk about specific events?

Ser and other verbs can also be used to talk about specific events. Quite interestingly, while in English you would say, “What time is the party?” or “What time does the train arrive?” when you talk about when an event is taking place, you need to say ¿A qué hora es/son…? (At what time is/are…?)

¿A qué hora es la fiesta?What time is the party?
¿A qué hora llega el tren? What time does the train arrive?

To answer these questions, you use the formula: a la/las + time. For example:

Es a las tres en punto. It is at three o’clock.
Llega a la una.  It arrives at one.

That’s it!

Do you need a refresher on the Spanish numbers? How about asking questions in Spanish? Don’t worry, we have posts for that too!

Ready to practice?

1. ___________________

Mango Alarm 2

2. ___________________

Alarm clock pointing at 5:32 pm
3. ___________________
Cock pointing at 2:50pm
4. ___________________
Clock showing 1pm
5. ___________________
Clock showing 10:10 am
6. ___________________


  1. Son las seis cuarenta y cinco; Son las siete menos cuarto; Es / son cuarto para las siete.
  2. Son las cuatro treinta y cinco; Son las cinco menos veinticinco.
  3. Son las cuatro treinta; Son las cuatro y media.
  4. Son las dos menos cinco; Es la una cincuenta y cinco.
  5. Es la una (en punto).
  6. Son las diez diez; Son las diez y diez; Son las diez con diez.
Are you interested in learning more about Spanish Grammar? Check out our Spanish Grammar Homepage.
Meet The Author:
Author - ML LOGO
Mango Languages
Language is an Adventure

To embark on your next language adventure, join the Mango fam!

Extra Resources:

Ser and estar conjugations


Ser or estar activity


Ser or estar activity

Our use of cookies

We use necessary cookies to make our site work. We’d also like to set analytics cookies that help us make improvements by measuring how you use the site. These will be set only if you accept.

Necessary cookies

Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

Analytics cookies

We’d like to set Google Analytics cookies to help us improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone. For more information on how these cookies work please see our ‘Cookies page’.

Skip to content