How to tell the time in Russian

This article will comprehensively review how to tell the time in Russian. We’ll go over key time concepts, essential vocab, as well as some grammar you’ll need to understand. You might also find these pages helpful:

Key concepts for telling the time in Russian

Please note, our Telling the time vocab page has more detail.

How to ask what time it is

  • Который час? = What time is it?
  • Сколько времени? = What time is it?

How to say what time it is

The easiest way to tell the time

The easiest way to tell the time in Russian is to follow this phrase construction:
  • Number of hours + number of minutes (normally Russians don't say "minute")
To say what time something happens "at," use the participle "в" with the accusative:
  • В два часа. = At two o'clock.
Please note, you will have to decline the noun, час (hour), and numbers. This is discussed in the Essential grammar for telling the time section below. Example sentences:
  • Сейчас пять часов двадцать минут. = It is now five twenty.
  • Встреча будет в три часа сорок пять минут. = The meeting will be at three forty-five.
  • Давай встретимся в двадцать один двадцать три. = Let's meet at nine twenty-three in the evening.
  • Почти восемь часов. = It is almost eight o'clock.

Telling the time after the half hour mark

Telling the time after the half hour mark is a little different in Russian, using the following phrase construction:
  • Without number of minutes + the following hour (again, Russians normally don't say "minute")
Please note, you will have to use the preposition, без (without) + genitive case. Example sentences:
  • Без двадцати два = It is twenty to two.
  • Без пятнадцати час. = It is a quarter to one.

How to tell the time of day in Russian

To tell what time of day it is in Russian, either describe the particular part of day or use the 24 hour clock (military time). To say something is in the morning, afternoon, evening, or night, use утра, дня, вечера, or ночи. For example:
  • Шесть часов утра. = Six in the morning.
  • Два часа дня. = Two in the afternoon.
  • Семь часов вечера. = Seven in the evening.
  • Двенадцать часов ночи. = Twelve at night.
Using the 24 hour clock is pretty simple. Just use it as you would in English. For example:
  • Тринадцать часов. = One o'clock (in the afternoon).
  • Двадцать часов. = Eight o'clock (in the evening).

Essential vocab for telling the time

Measures of time

  • секунда = second
  • минута = minute
  • час = hour
  • день = day

Times of day

  • утра = in the morning
  • дня = in the afternoon
  • вечера = in the evening
  • ночи = at night
  • полдень = midday
  • полночь = midnight

Numbers

Essential grammar for telling the time

NumeralHoursMinutes
1один часодна минута
2, 3, 4два, три, четыре часадве, три, четыре минуты
5-20часовминут
To be able to tell the time in Russian, it's important to know how numbers - and the nouns, час and минута - decline. Please refer here for how numbers decline in Russian.
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