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How to tell the time

This is an easy question: what time is it? Now you’ll be able to answer that in no time. We can say that in Russian there are two ways of telling the time. Here we’ll learn the easy one where, for example, for 8:15 we say “It’s eight fifteen”. In hte difficult way (that we won’t learn) we would say: “it’s fifteen minutes of the ninth hour”. In the end what matters is knowing how to tell the right time:

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Summary with images and sound:

We’ve put together in video the most important words and phrases to help you memorize them. After watching it, you can read and listen to all the vocabulary we’ve prepared for this topic.

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How to ask "what time is it?"

Here you have two ways of asking the same question. Both are equally used, so there isn’t one option more important than the other. Listen to the audio carefully and repeat them. Then choose the one you like most and use it:

Ско́лько вре́мени?
What time is it?
skól-ka vryé-mye-ni?
Кото́рый час?
What time is it?
ka-tó-ryj chas?

It's three o'clock

This is very easy. Just say the numbers up to 12 and add the Russian word for “hours”. For example for 3 o’clock we say in Russian “3 hours”. Pay attention to the way we say “hours” according to the number:

It’s one o’clock.
If we want to say in Russian “it’s on o’clock” we just say “hour”.
Два часа́.
It’s two o’clock..
dva cha-sá
As you can see, in Russian we don’t say “it’s…”. We start with the numbers without adding anything before them.
Три часа́.
It’s three o’clock.
tri cha-sá
Четы́ре часа́.
It’s four o’clock.
chye-tý-rye cha-sá
Пять часо́в.
It’s five o’clock.
pyat cha-sóf
Шесть часо́в.
It’s six o’clock.
shest cha-sóf
Семь часо́в.
It’s seven o’clock.
syem cha-sóf
Во́семь часо́в.
It’s eight o’clock.
vó-syem cha-sóf
Де́вять часо́в.
It’s nine o’clock.
dyé-vyet cha-sóf
Де́сять часо́в.
It’s ten o’clock.
dyé-syet cha-sóf
Оди́ннадцать часо́в.
It’s eleven o’clock.
a-dí-na-tset cha-sóf
Двена́дцать часо́в.
It’s twelve o’clock.
dvye-ná-tset cha-sóf

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Telling the minutes in Russian

As we’ve mentioned at the beginning, here we’ll learn the easy way to tell the time. This is as easy as saying this: number of hours + number of minutes. If you don’t know how to count in Russian visit our section on numbers:

Пять пятна́дцать.
It’s five fifteen (5:15).
pyat pyet-ná-tset
Пять три́дцать.
It’s five thirty (5:30).
pyat trí-tset
Пять со́рок пять.
It’s five forty-five (5:45).
pyat só-rak pyat

More useful words

You’ve learnt enough to ask and tell the time in real Russian. Now you’re going to learn to make a difference between the morning and the evening, which can come in handy in certain situations:

…утра́ / …ве́чера
…in the morning / in the evening
…u-trá / …vyé-chye-ra
семь утра́ / семь ве́чера
syem u-trá / syem vyé-chye-ra
It’s seven in the morning / It’s seven in the evening

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