Learning how to ask for the time is very useful. Although most of us have a phone or un reloj (a watch), this is one of the basic things you have to know. Plus, if you are asked what time is it?, you should know how to respond.

You are watching: How do you say at what time in spanish

In Spanish, there are two or three ways to ask for the time: people may say, “¿Qué hora es?” (What time is it?). If you are asking somebody you don’t know, then you would usually use Usted (formal you). It is also common to ask: “¿Tiene la hora?” A close translation would be: “Do you have the time?” But to use “” (informal you), you would say, ¿Tienes la hora?

Table of Contents

Tiempo may mean time and weather

The word Tiempo (time) in Spanish is also used to refer to the weather, pero no te preocupes (but don’t worry), Spanish speakers never use the word Tiempo when talking about time.

How to tell the time

When asked for the time, one may say: “Es la una” (It is one o"clock) or “Son las dos” (It is two o"clock). No es complicado (it is not difficult) because the word es (conjugation of the verb Ser, To be) will be used cuando es la una (when it is one o’clock).

In Spanish, people say “Es la una” and use the feminine article la because people are giving la hora (time), which is feminine and singular. For the rest of las horas (hours), people use las, in plural: “Son las 3” (It is 3 o’clock).

If somebody asks, ¿Qué hora es? (What time is it?) We say, “Son las 5” (It is 5 o’clock).

How to tell the exact time

Of course we also want to learn how to say la hora exacta (the exact time).

In English, people say “ten past six” (6:10), but in Spanish, people tell the hour first and then the number of minutes: “son las seis diez” (literally, it"s six ten).

Another example is “Son las cuatro veinte” (4:20). Again, the hour comes before the number of minutes, but this changes on four different occasions:

First: When it’s 15 minutes past the hour, then people say the hour plus y cuarto (and a quarter).

For example, “Son las cuatro y cuarto(It’s quarter past four). You may also say “Son las cuatro quince” and everybody will understand.

Another example: Es la una y cuarto (It’s quarter past one).

Second: When it’s half an hour, then we say the hour plus y media (and half). Like this:

Son las cinco y media (It’s half past five, 5:30) — Once again, you may also say: Son las cinco treinta.Son las tres y media (It’s half past three).

Third: When it’s 40 minutes past, we take the number of minutes left of the whole hour and say: Son veinte para las seis (It is 20 minutes to 6). A closer translation would be: 6 minus 20. Yes, you may also say “son las seis cuarenta”.

Another example: Son veinte para las diez (It is twenty to ten, 9:40).

Fourth: When it’s “quarter to”, people say “Son cuarto para las siete(It is quarter to seven) or “Son cuarto para las ocho” (it is quarter to eight).


For more specific times of the day, you may say mediodía, which means “half day”. You may say “Es el mediodia” (It is midday) or “La hora más calurosa es el mediodía” (Midday is the warmest time of the day).

If you have an appointment, “Tengo una cita al mediodía(I have an appointment at midday). Al means “at”.

As regards midnight, Spanish speakers say medianoche. Remember, día (day) is masculine and noche (night) is feminine. So, someone might say “La medianoche me da miedo” (I’m scared of midnight) or “La fiesta termina a la medianoche” (The party ends at midnight).

See more: Idiom: Talk Out Of The Side Of Your Mouth, Science Of Speaking And Listening

Important note

Before mediodía (midday), we will always say “de la mañana” (AM) — a literal translation would be “of the morning”. After mediodía, people say “de la tarde” (PM) — a literal translation would be “of the afternoon”, and people also say “de la noche” (at night).


Son las 3 de la tarde. (It is 3 pm.)Es la una y cuarto de la mañana (It"s 1:15 in the morning.)Son las 11 y media de la noche. (It"s 11:30 at night.)

If you think you need a bit of help remembering los números (the numbers), you can always watch our video on the numbers.