Lesson 6 – How to Tell Time in Spanish – Use Ser

Another important use of the Spanish verb Ser is to tell time.

When telling time in Spanish, there are only two conjugations of Ser that you will use:

Es (singular)
Son (plural)

Here’s how to you tell time in Spanish:

Es la una (It’s 1 o’clock)
Son las dos (It’s 2 o’clock)
Son las tres (It’s 3 o’clock)
Son las cuatro (It’s 4 o’clock) … all the way until … Son las doce (It’s 12 o’clock).

Now to express minutes:

Use Spanish numbers from 1-30, but for 15 (say “cuarto”) and for 30 (say “media”). For example:

Es la una y doce. (It’s 1:12)
Son las nueve y cuarto. (It’s 9:15)
Son las once y media. (It’s 11:30)

Now for minutes from 31-59, don’t use the corresponding Spanish number. Instead, you’re going to express the next hour and how many minutes you subtract to get to the time. Sounds complicated but it’s not. For example:

It’s 2:40. This would be: Son las tres menos veinte. (menos = minus or less).
It’s 5:45. This would be: Son las seis menos cuarto.

Now to express whether it’s A.M. or P.M. add the following:

de la mañana (in the morning)
de la tarde (in the afternoon/evening)
de la noche (at night)

Son las siete y trece de la mañana. (It’s 7:13 a.m)