Published: 05.07.2021
It's time to learn Russian. How to ask and answer about time.

There are a lot of ways how to ask about time in the Russian language and a lot more options to answer this question, but now we are going to observe the most frequent ones!

How to ask questions about time

Let's figure out how to ask questions about time first. These expressions are synonyms like classic English examples "what time is it?" and "what's the time?":

  • Сколько времени?
  • Который час?
However, if you want to be a well-bred person, it is necessary to add a couple of polite words.

  • Скажите, пожалуйста, который час? Can you tell me, please, what's the time?
  • Подскажите, пожалуйста, сколько времени? Tell me, please, what time is it?
The same time in many ways

Since the Russians use both 12-hour and 24-hour clock system, you can say the same time in many ways, for example:

Сейчас два часа, or сейчас четырнадцать ноль-ноль. (Now it is 2 p.m., or 14:00).
Well, that's how you can tell the time in 12-hour format:
  • двенадцать часов (12:00);
  • один час (1:00);
  • два часа (2:00);
  • три часа (3:00);
  • четыре часа (4:00);
  • пять часов (We hope you remember that weird endings appear after number five!);
  • шесть часов (6:00);
  • семь часов (7:00);
  • восемь часов (8:00);
  • девять часов (9:00);
  • десять часов (10:00);
  • одиннадцать часов (11:00);
  • двенадцать часов (12:00)

What about 24-hour system? It looks like this:
  • двенадцать часов (12:00);
  • тринадцать часов (13:00);
  • четырнадцать часов (14:00);
  • пятнадцать часов (15:00);
  • шестнадцать часов (16:00);
  • семнадцать часов (17:00);
  • восемнадцать часов (18:00);
  • девятнадцать часов (19:00);
  • двадцать часов (20:00);
  • двадцать один час (21:00);
  • двадцать два часа (22:00);
  • двадцать три часа (23:00);
  • ноль часов/ноль-ноль (24:00).

How to add minutes and specify the time of the day

When you need to add minutes, you can omit the word час/часа/часов if you want:

  • Сейчас десять (часов) тридцать (минут). (10:30)
  • Сейчас двадцать два (часа) сорок пять (минут). (22:45)
Sometimes, when you need to specify the time of the day, you can add the following words:

  • Два часа ночи. (2 o'clock at night)
  • Пять часов утра. (5 o'clock in the morning)
  • Девять часов вечера. (9 o'clock in the evening)
  • Три часа дня. (3 o'clock in the afternoon

Until/since the 30th minute

Did you catch the main idea? Great, because now it is time for hardcore and we will dwell upon more complicated constructions, such as half past…, quarter to/after. It is necessary to learn that you should say: 15 minutes — пятнадцать минут/четверть (quarter), and half — половина, пол.

If you are talking about time from the first and until the 30th minute, use ordinal numerals in the Genetive case. :

  • 19:05 — пять минут восьмого;
  • 6:20 — двадцать минут седьмого;
  • 20:10 — десять минут девятого;
  • 7:15 — пятнадцать минут восьмого.
What about time since the 31st minute? People usually use preposition без. As a rule, it is said when you have only twenty minutes left.
  • 19:45 — без четверти восемь/без пятнадцати (минут) восемь;
  • 14:45 — без пятнадцати (минут) три;
  • 8:40 — без двадцати (минут) девять;
  • 7:57 — без трёх (минут) восемь.
The "half"-rule is quite simple: just use ordinal numerals in the Genetive case:

  • 13:30 — половина/пол второго;
  • 16:30 — половина/пол пятого;
  • 12:30 — половина/пол первого;
  • 23:30 — половина/пол двенадцатого.

Well, what's the time? Right, it is time to practice at Enjoy Russian language school and master your Russian skills!
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