Learn How to Tell the Time in Spanish – ¿Qué hora es? What time is it?



Would you like to learn how to tell the time in Spanish?

Funny Wall Clock Funny Clock Wood Clock | Etsy 

First, let’s remind ourselves how to count to twenty.

Spanish Numbers 1 20 - Spanish Numbers 0-20 Display Poster


If singing helps you to remember, check out this cute video on youtube, start the video from 1.07 for the Spanish part. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2Z_1voFJJo


Now see how many you remember.  Do the exercises on the live worksheet link below and then click finish and check your answers.




To tell the time you may need a few number higher than 20 so here’s a list for up to 100, if you get stuck.

Present Gift Blue - Free vector graphic on Pixabay

Ok let’s see how we can use our numbers to tell the time.


When Spanish speakers talk about the time they call it ‘the hour’ – ‘la hora’.


So to ask the time instead of using the literal word ‘tiempo’ for ‘time’ they’ll say” ….

¿Qué hora es?  What time is it?

(lit.  What hour is it?)


If the answer is one o’clock they’ll say ‘it is the one’.


Es la una.


When it’s a bigger number than one o’clock they say ‘they are the two’, ‘they are the three’ etc.


Son las dos.  It’s two o’clock.

Son las tres.  It’s three o’clock etc.


So why not practice that with your numbers 1-12.  See if you can say all of the hours out loud.


Es la una.  It’s one o’clock.

Son las dos.  It’s two o’clock. 

Son las ____.   It’s _____ o’clock.   etc


A few more useful words and phrases for telling the time are –

en punto: on the dot

y  (said: eeee): and (or plus)

menos: less or minus

y media: and half (an hour)

y cuarto:  and a quarter (of an hour)

NB  Don’t get caught out and muddle up cuaTRO (4)  with cuaRTO (quarter)


So if it was 12 o’clock on the dot you’d say.

Son las doce en punto.

Es la una en punto.   It’s 1 o’clock on the dot.

Son las cinco en punto.  It’s 5 o’clock on the dot.


If it was five to 12 you’d say. 

Son las doce menos cinco.

It is 12 minus 5. 

Son las once menos cinco.  It’s 5 to 11.

Son las nueve menos cinco.   It’s 5 to 9.

Son las nueve menos diez.   It’s 10 to 9.


If it was ten past 12 you’d say: 

Son las 12 y diez.


If it was half past one you’d say: 

Es la una y media.





Let’s practice with those new words.




As you carry on learning how to tell the time in Spanish you’ll see that once you get past half past it’s common to start using the word ‘menos’.  What you do is, round the time up to the next hour and then say ‘menos’ how ever many minutes are left before you get to that hour.   

For example:   Twenty to two becomes three minus twenty. 

Son las dos menos veinte.   

Five to three.   =   Tres menos cinco.

Three thirty five.   =   Cuatro menos veinticinco.

Practice this concept here. 



If you’d like even more practice here’s one more live worksheet I found for you.