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Math - What Time is It?
When learning a language, you need to be able to tell the time. Improve your time-telling Spanish in this quiz!

Math - What Time is It?

This Spanish Easy Review math quiz challenges you on time. "What time is it?" is probably one of the most frequently asked questions in any language because everyone wants to know the time. As a child, you start to learn how to tell the time somewhere between the first grade and the second grade. Now, however, you are about to learn what time it is in Spanish. To start off, you first need to know how to ask what time it is in Spanish. To do that, you will need to learn one new vocabulary word and that is the word for hour. In Spanish that is [la] hora. The second thing you need to learn is that the question can be asked in two different ways.

Those two ways are:

¿Qué hora es?
¿Qué horas son?

Notice that the 'to be' verb used here is ser. The verb ser is always used when telling the time of the day, the day of the week, the month of the year and the date. So why are there two ways to ask?

In English we ask for the time of the day by asking, 'What time is it?' In Spanish you ask, 'What hour is it?' [¿Qué hora es?] or 'What hours are they?' [¿Qué horas son?] As there are 24 hours in a day and not just one hour, making 'hours' plural seems appropriate. However, although each version is used, the more frequently used question is that of ¿Qué hora es?

Now that you know that there are two ways of asking the question, let’s look at how you will answer the question. We will say that it is three o’clock. Notice that although the question can be asked as '¿Qué hora es?', you have three hours. That is plural. Therefore, you will need to answer that question as, 'Son las tres.' In other words, the hours are three.

When the question is asked using 'es' your answer will generally include 'son' for the hours of 2 through 12. The only exception to this rule is when it is one o’clock because if you were asked '¿Qué hora es?' you would not answer, 'Son las una.' Rather, you would answer, 'Es la una.'

The other thing to note is that in the answer the word for 'hour' is not given but rather the definite article of las (or la) is used in its place. Rather than say, 'Las horas es tres,' which might be how you thought it would be answered, the Spanish answer is: 'It is the hour of three.' However, the article for 'the' is used by itself and since hour is a feminine word (hora), the las and la are used to replace it.

The other thing to note is that in the answer hour is not given but rather las (or la). Rather than say, 'Las horas es tres,' which might be how you thought it would be answered, the Spanish answer is 'It is the hour of three.' However, the article for 'the' is used by itself and since hour is a feminine word (hora), the las and la are used to replace it.

Seems simple enough doesn’t it? Well then, let’s see how well you can do with telling someone the time. For each quiz problem, a question is asked and the response is given in English. From the four answers given, see if you can find the correct Spanish response.

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1.
¿Qué hora es? It is five o’clock.
Es las cinca.
Son las cinco.
Es las cinco.
Son las cinca.
Even though the question contains the verb of 'es', the hour is five which is plural. Therefore, the answer must contain the plural form of 'ser', i.e., 'son'. The first and third answers contain the singular form of 'es' so they can be eliminated. The last answer has misspelled the word for five. Five is cinco. Therefore, to say that 'It is five o’clock' you would say, 'Son las cinco.'
2.
¿Qué hora es? It is two o’clock.
Es las dos.
Son el dos.
Son las dos
Es los dos.
Even though the question contains the verb of 'es', the hour is two which is plural. Therefore, the answer must contain the plural form of 'ser', i.e., 'son'. The first and last answers contain the singular form of 'es' so they can be eliminated. The second answer has used the masculine definite article which is incorrect. Finally, the third answer does read as: 'It is two o’clock.'
3.
¿Qué horas son? It is eight o’clock.
Son la ocho.
Son las ocho.
Las son ocho.
Son los ocho.
As the question has the verb son in it you know that your answer should also contain son in it. Each answer has used the correct verb form and each answer has the correct Spanish word for eight. However, the third answer shows the incorrect order of words making it incorrect. The first and last answers show the incorrect article that replaces hours (horas) which means that the second answer shows the correct Spanish answer.
4.
¿Qué horas son? It is eleven o’clock.
Es las once.
Son las once.
Son las un once.
Es once las.
As the question has used the verb son you know the answer must also contain that verb. This means that the first and third answers can be eliminated. The last answer does not show the words in the correct order making it incorrect. The second answer, however, does show the correct Spanish answer.
5.
¿Qué horas son? It is ten fifteen.
Son las diez y quincé.
Son las diez de quince.
Son las diez y quince.
Eres las diez y quince.
As the question has used the verb 'son' you know the answer must also contain that verb. This means that the last answer can be eliminated. The first answer shows an accent mark in the word for fifteen, i.e., quince. There is no accent mark in this word. The second answer reads 'diez de quince' which is '10 of 15'. This is not the correct answer. The correct way to say 'It is ten fifteen' is 'Son las diez y quince.'
6.
¿Qué hora es? It is seven thirty.
Son las siete y veinte.
Es las treinta de siete.
Son las siete y treinta.
Es las siete y treinta.
Although the question uses the verb of 'es', as the hour is 7, it is more than one. Therefore, the verb to use must be plural, i.e., 'son'. You can now eliminate the second and last answers. Thirty in Spanish is treinta. The first answer shows the Spanish number for 20 which is not correct. To say 'It is seven thirty' you would say 'Son las siete y treinta.'
7.
¿Qué horas son? It is one o’clock.
Es la una.
Son las una.
Son la una.
Es las una.
The general rule when answering this question when the verb son is used is that the answer will also contain the verb son. However, there is one exception and that is when it is one o’clock. [See the introduction.] As the time is one o’clock, the verb es is needed in the answer. This now means that you can eliminate the second and third answers. The last answer, however, has used the plural article for hour when the singular article should be used. The first answer shows the correct singular article and Spanish answer.
8.
¿Qué horas son? It is twelve twenty-five.
Son las doce y veinticinco.
Son las trece y veinticinco.
Son las catorce y veinticinco
Son las once y veinticinco.
As the question has the verb 'son' in it you know that your answer should also contain 'son' in it. Each answer has used the correct verb form and each answer has the correct Spanish word for twenty-five. Notice that we used the 'veinticino' form over the 'veinte y cinco' form. Both can be used but to avoid having two many 'y' it looks better to combine 20 with 5. Now you need to know the correct Spanish number for twelve and that is doce. Therefore, the correct way to say 'It is twelve twenty-five' would be to say 'Son las doce y veinticinco.'
9.
¿Qué hora es? It is six o’clock.
Son lo seis.
Es la seis.
Son las seis.
Son los seis.
Although the question uses the verb of 'es', as the hour is 6, it is more than one. Therefore, the verb to use must be plural, i.e., 'son'. You can now eliminate the second answer. The first answer reads: It is it six. That is not correct. The last answer has used the masculine, plural definite article which is not correct. You need the feminine, plural definite article of 'las'. Therefore, to say 'It is six o’clock' you would say 'Son las seis.'
10.
¿Qué horas son? It is nine forty-seven.
Son la nueve y cuarenta y siete.
Son la nueve y cincuenta y siete.
Son las nueve y cincuenta y siete.
Son las nueve y cuarenta y siete.
As the question has the verb 'son' in it you know that your answer should also contain 'son' in it. Each answer does have the correct verb form and the correct Spanish word for the number nine (nueve). However, the first and second answers have used the wrong article. The third answer shows the number for fifty-seven and not forty-seven. The correct answer is 'Son las nueve y cuarenta y siete.'
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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