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Talking about a Specific Time in Spanish

By Gail Stein

In Spanish, when you want to discuss when a particular event will occur, you can use a common Spanish phrase — ¿A qué hora . . . ? (At what time . . .?). You can express the answer to that question with A la una or A las + any time after 1:

  • ¿A qué hora vienen? (At what time are they coming?)

  • A la una. (At 1 o’clock.)

  • A las tres y cuarto. (At 3:15.)

Of course, you may want to be more general about when something is going to happen. When expressing time, the Spanish words and expressions in the following table may come in handy:

Common Spanish Phrases for Time
English Phrase Spanish Equivalent English Phrase Spanish Equivalent
a second un segundo in an hour en una hora
a minute un minuto in a while dentro de un rato
a quarter of an hour un cuarto de hora until ten o’clock hasta las diez
an hour una hora before nine o’clock antes de las nueve
a half hour una media hora after seven o’clock después de las siete
in the morning (a.m.) por la mañana since what time? ¿desde qué hora?
in the afternoon (p.m.) por la tarde since eight o’clock desde las ocho
in the evening (p.m.) por la noche one hour ago hace una hora
at what time? ¿a qué hora? early temprano
at exactly nine o’clock a las nueve en punto late tarde
at about two o’clock a eso de las dos late (in arriving) de retraso