Monday, 11 March 2013

Tell Me, What Time Is It?


SCENARIO
Imagine you are talking to a relative, a friend or a colleague. At some point, the other person is unable to establish what time it is and says to you something like: "tell me, what time is it?"*.

In Spanish, he/ she could choose to be less formal and say to you:
Dime, ¿qué hora es?

On the other hand, he/ she could choose to be more formal and say to you:
Dígame, ¿qué hora es?


OUR TIP
The question is an invitation for you to say what the time is. When telling the time you do not need to consider different levels of formality for you reply. Your only concern should be about saying what time it is.

Here are some examples of how you could reply:
  • Es la una menos veinte* (it is twenty to one);
  • Es la una menos cinco* (it is five to one);
  • Es la una y cinco* (it is five past one);
  • Es la una y veinte* (it is twenty past one);
  • Es la una y media* (it is half past one);
  • Son las dos en punto (it is two o'clock);
  • Son las cuatro menos cuarto (it is a quarter to four);
  • Son las cuatro y cuarto (it is a quarter past four);
  • Son las ocho menos veinticinco (it is twenty five to eight);

Now you should practise replying to someone who says to you:
Dime, ¿qué hora es?

*Please see grammar topic below, the number one- the time

Grammar-The Number One
When using numbers in Spanish, you should bear in mind the following peculiarities of the number one:

    1. Just A Number
You should use the masculine form “uno” for the number one and all numbers ending in one* when they are used just on their own** (i.e. when not counting things).

Some examples of expressions of this type are:
  • El número uno (the number one);
  • El uno (the number one);

The same applies to numbers ending in the number one, for example:
  • El número veintiuno (the number twenty one);
  • El veintiuno de abril (the twenty first of April);
  • Veintiuno (twenty one);
  • Ciento noventa y uno (one hundred and ninety one);
  • Mil trescientos cincuenta y uno (one thousand three hundred and fifty one);

*NB The number eleven (11) and all numbers ending in eleven excepted.
**NB Time expressions excepted (see 2 below).

    2. The Time
You should use the feminine form “la una” for all time expressions with the term “one” in them.

Some examples of expressions of this type are:
  • La una menos cuarto (a quarter to one);
  • La una menos diez (ten to one);
  • Es la una (it is one o'clock);
  • Es la una en punto (it is one o'clock);
  • A la una y cinco (at five past one);
  • A la una y cuarto (at a quarter past one);
  • A la una y media (at half past one);

3. Number Followed By A Noun
You should use the masculine form “un” for the number one when placed before singular masculine nouns and other numbers ending in one* when placed before plural masculine nouns.

Some examples of expressions of this type are:
  • Un caballo (one horse);
  • Un litro de leche (one litre of milk);
  • Un euro (one Euro);

The same applies to numbers ending in the number one, for example:
  • Veintiún caballos (21 horses);
  • Ciento un litros de leche (101 litres of milk);
  • Dos mil trescientos cincuenta y un euros (2351 Euro);

You should use the feminine form “una” for the number one when placed before singular feminine nouns and all other numbers ending in one* when placed before plural feminine nouns.

Some examples of expressions of this type are:
  • Una mujer (one woman);
  • Una noche de verano (one summer's evening);
  • Una libra (one Pound);

The same applies to numbers ending in the number one, for example:
  • Veintiuna mujeres (21 women);
  • Ciento una noches de verano (101 summer evenings);
  • Dos mil trescientas cincuenta y una libras (£2351);

*NB The number eleven (11) and all numbers ending in eleven excepted..


Now you should practise the use of the number one with some examples of your own.

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