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.
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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:
To say what time something happens "at," use the participle "в" with the accusative:
- Number of hours + number of minutes (normally Russians don't say "minute")
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
Essential grammar for telling the time
|1||один час||одна минута
|2, 3, 4||два, три, четыре часа||две, три, четыре минуты
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.