Telling Time in Spanish: Phrases, Conversations and Listening Practice

In our previous lesson, we introduced different ways to ask and tell time. This topic is very useful in our daily life so we will continue exploring it by reading and listening to people talking about the time in Spanish. This lesson will cover new, interesting Spanish time phrases and you will be able to practice through quizzes. Let’s start…

Vocabulary review: Common Spanish Time Phrases

We will begin this lesson by reviewing some key questions and expressions for asking and telling time in Spanish. Below is a picture with several clocks  and examples. Basically, the simplest way to ask time is by using ¿Qué hora es?. To answer we will use the verb SER in its forms ES and SON. For a specific hour in a part of the day, you will need the time expressions: DE LA MAÑANA, DE LA TARDE and DE LA NOCHE e.g. “Son las 5 de la tarde” (It’s 5 in the afternoon).

When these expressions are not linked to a specific hour, we use the preposition EN instead of DE so these expressions would change to EN LA MAÑANA, EN LA TARDE and EN LA NOCHE like in the sentence “Yo cocino el desayuno en la mañana”. All the words in blue in the picture are very common Spanish time phrases so do your best to remember them.

Talking about time in Spanish using common Spanish time phrases
Hablando sobre el tiempo en español

Talking about time in Spanish: phrases and sample conversations

Next, we will see how the Spanish time phrases in the picture plus some new vocabulary can be used in basic conversations. In the first example, one of the actors will say “Disculpa” before asking time to sound polite. The verb “SALIR” (leave) will be used to indicate what time the bus leaves. “Deberías…” is a way to give suggestions to others. Last, the prepositions EN and DENTRO DE are used to talk about time intervals as in “Cómeré en 5 minutos” (I’ll eat in 5 minutes). Let’s see how all of these things can be used for talking about time in Spanish:

Asking for departure time

Turista: Disculpa ¿Sabes que hora es?
Estudiante: Son las 10 y treinta.
Turista: Gracias, creo que voy a perder mi bus.
Estudiante: ¿A que hora sale el bus de la estación?
Turista: El bus sale a las 11 de la mañana
Estudiante: Creo que deberías tomar un taxi. Llega en 10 minutos.
Turista: Gracias, eso haré entonces

Conversation translation: Asking and telling time in Spanish
Tourist: Excuse me, Do you know what time it is?
Student: It’s 10:30.
Tourist: Thanks, I think I’ll miss my bus.
Student: What time does the bus leave the station?
Tourist: The bus leaves at 11 am.
Student: I think you should take a taxi. It arrives in 10 minutes.
Tourist: Thank you, I will do that then.

Boletos para el bus de las 11:30 – Buying bus tickets in Spanish

The second conversation will be based on the same scenario, but this time we will be using the preposition PARA (for), which often confused with POR. In the conversation PARA will be used to show the purpose of something, in this case in “para el bus” to show that he wants a ticket to take the bus somewhere. Actually “para el bus” could be said in two other ways: “para tomar el bus” and “del bus”. Notice that in order to say the specific time the bus leaves, we should use “de las + hora” as in “El bus de las 11 de la mañana” (The 11:00 am bus). Listen to how these Spanish time phrases are used in the example below:

Turista: Buenos días ¿Me puede vender una ticket para el bus de las 11 de la mañana?
Vendedor: Lo siento, ya no tenemos tickets para ese bus pero hay tickets para el bus de las 11:30.
Turista: Entiendo, ya casi son las 11 de la mañana. Entonces voy a comprar una ticket para el bus de las 11:30.
Vendedor: Es 1 dolar con 50 centavos. Puede abordar el bus a las 11:15 y llega a su destino a la 1:30. ¡Qué tenga un buen viaje!
Turista: Muchas gracias.

Conversation translation: Asking and telling time in Spanish
Tourist: Hello, I want to buy a ticket for the 11 am bus.
Seller: Sorry, we run out of tickets for that bus but there are tickets for the 11:30 bus.
Tourist: I understand, it’s almost 11 am. Then I’ll buy a ticket for the 11:30 bus.
Seller: It is 1 dollar 50 cents. You can board the bus at 11:15 and will arrive at its destination at 1:30. Have a nice trip!
Tourist: Thank you.

Listening Activity: “What time is it?” in Spanish – ¿Qué hora es?

Listen to a conversation between two friends talking about time in Spanish. Take notes of the information you consider important so you can solve the quiz about it and learn a few new things about the topic. Press the PLAY button when you are ready.

Listening quiz: It's time! - ¡Ya es hora!

This quiz will test if you understood the content of the conversation. Every time you get a correct answer, a grammar note will pop out with the explanation. Press “START” when you are ready.
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Read conversation translation
Mujer: Creo que ya casi es hora de regresar al trabajo.
Hombre: ¿Tan pronto? ¿Qué hora es?
Mujer: Todavía faltan 10 minutos para la 1 de la tarde.
Hombre: El tiempo se pasa volando. Comenzamos a almorzar a las 12:30…
Mujer: Es cierto. El lunes es un día ocupado y solo tenemos media hora para comer.
Hombre: Por cierto, hoy salimos de trabajar a las 4:45 ¿verdad?
Mujer: Si. ¿Qué te parece si vamos a comer algo en la noche?
Hombre: ¡Claro que sí! Así disfrutamos del clima de noviembre… ¿A qué hora vamos?
Mujer: Pasa por mí a las 7:00…
Hombre: Me parece muy buena idea.

Extra practice: Telling time in Spanish the right way

Lesson quiz: Saying time correctly in Spanish

Here is a set of questions about ways to ask and tell time we have covered in this and the previous lesson. Read each question carefully and choose the best answer from the given options. Again, you will get a tip every time you find a correct answer. Press “START” to begin.
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Using time in Spanish for your own activities

The last activity is about the time you do some activities. Use the examples provided to figure out the answers to these questions:

  • ¿A qué hora te levantas en la mañana?
  • ¿A qué hora desayunas y almuerzas?
  • ¿Con qué otras personas comes?
  • ¿A qué hora te vas a dormir?

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