Talking About Time in Spanish: Sample Conversations & Listening

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  • 0:03 Importance of Time
  • 0:30 What Time Is It vs. At…
  • 1:01 Ordinal Numbers
  • 2:15 Read & Listen
  • 6:49 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Pablo Serna

Pablo has taught college Spanish at the University of Missouri and Central Methodist University, and has a master's degree in Spanish literature.

In this lesson, we will listen to and read a set of conversations where people are talking about time. Also, we will practice vocabulary related to time, ordinal numbers and high school classes.

Importance of Time

It is very important, no matter what language you speak, to be able to follow a conversation that includes time. It's bad when someone tells you to be somewhere at 10 and you show up at 12 or, even worse, you show up at 10 am when they meant 10 pm. In this lesson, we will review some expressions about time through three conversations between students who are talking about their new schedules and the subjects they will study.

What Time Is It vs. At What Time

'Qué hora es?

  • Son las dos y treinta.

A qué hora vas a la cama'?

  • A las cinco.

These two simple questions are different, although both talk about time. The first one asks, 'What time is it?,' and the second one asks, 'What time do you go to bed?' As you can see, the second one talks about the future, about something that will occur, and we want to know at what time it is going to happen.

Ordinal Numbers

Because we are talking about time, there are some expressions and words that help us understand when different things happen or happened. To talk about the order of things, like a schedule (time) or positions in a race, we use ordinal numbers and not cardinal numbers. In English, we say, 'We won first place;' we don't say 'one place,' but instead 'first place.' In Spanish, we use the following numbers: primero, segundo, tercero, cuarto, quinto, sexto, séptimo, octavo, noveno, décimo.

The variation between the two mentioned languages is that in Spanish the ordinal numbers need agreement in gender and number with what they describe: el segundo tiempo, la primera página, etc. Keep in mind that for masculine, singular nouns primer and tercer (first and third) are used when the noun is mentioned with it, as in el primer disco or el tercer juego.

Read & Listen

Some high school students are talking about their schedules during the first day of classes. Some excitement and disappointment occur because of issues, such as schedules don't match and students will not see their friends in the same classroom.

Santiago: Mi horario es horrible. Tengo matemática, química, geometría los lunes, miércoles y viernes.

Valentina: 'A qué hora tienes química?

Santiago: A las nueve de la mañana y geometría a las diez.

Valentina: 'A qué hora sales de geometría?

Santiago: A las once y media porque es para mi clase de AP.

Valentina: Por la tarde, mi primera clase es música a la una, la segunda es biología y la tercera es español, mi clase favorita. El señor Serna es muy buen profesor.

Santiago: Si, el mejor. 'Qué hora es? Voy a hablar con el profesor de química a las once.

Valentina: Son las once menos quince.

Santiago: Bueno, me voy Valentina. Chao.

Now let's practice:

1. 'Cuáles clases tiene Santiago?

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