Lesson Transcript

Welcome to Fun and Easy Chinese by ChineseClass101.com!
嗨大家好,我是李殷如. Hài dà jiā hǎo, Wǒ shì Lǐ Yīnrú.
Hi everyone, Yinru Li here.
Can you tell time in Chinese?
Telling time is part of everyday life. You use it to make plans and coordinate with other people. It’s one of the essential conversation skills you need to learn when studying a new language.
In this lesson, you’ll learn all the ways to tell time in Chinese.
Let’s start with the hours, such as 8 o’clock. Simply say a number + the word 点 diǎn. (slow) 点.
For example, 8 o’clock in Chinese is 八点 bā diǎn. (slow) 八点
4 o’clock, it’s 四点 sì diǎn. (slow) 四点
If it’s 2 o’clock, it’s 两点 liǎng diǎn. (slow) 两点
Note there are two ways to say number 2. One is 二 èr, (slow) 二, and the other one is 两 liǎng (slow) 两. When telling time, we use 两 to say “two” 两点 liǎng diǎn.
Amy and Xiao Wu are talking about the time for their meeting tomorrow.
艾米: 小吴,明天几点开会?
àimǐ: Xiǎo Wú, míng tiān jǐ diǎn kāi huì?
Amy: Xiao Wu, when is the meeting tomorrow?
小吴: 两点.
Xiǎo Wú: Liǎng diǎn.
Xiao Wu: Two o’clock.
The concept of AM and PM is not used in Chinese. Whether a time is in the AM or PM is often understood thru context. If the context is not clear, you can put “in the morning”, “in the afternoon” or “at night” before the time.
For example, if it’s 9 in the morning, you can say 上午九点. 上午 means “morning”. 上午九点 Shàng wǔ jiǔ diǎn (slow) 上午九点
If it’s 9PM, you can say 晚上九点. 晚上 means “night”, since 9PM is already at night. 晚上九点 wǎn shang jiǔ diǎn (slow) 晚上九点
If the time is in the afternoon, such as 3PM, you can use the word 下午 meaning “afternoon”. 下午三点 xià wǔ sān diǎn. (slow) 下午三点
If you’re talking about a time past midnight, such as 3 AM, use the word 凌晨. 凌晨 refers to the time after midnight before sunrise. 凌晨三点 líng chén sān diǎn. 3 AM (slow) 凌晨三点.
In the last dialogue Xiao Wu could have made herself more clear about the meeting time by adding 下午 “afternoon” before 2 o’clock. Let’s watch it again.
艾米: 小吴,明天几点开会?
àimǐ: Xiǎo Wú, míng tiān jǐ diǎn kāi huì?
Amy: Xiao Wu, when is the meeting tomorrow?
小吴: 下午两点.
Xiǎo Wú: Xià wǔ liǎng diǎn.
Xiao Wu: 2 PM.
hour + minute
If you ask someone for the time, chances are the exact time will be certain hour plus certain minute. To say that in Chinese, you can use the pattern number + 点 number + 分.
分 means “minute”. 分 fēn. (slow) 分
Let’s practice:
5:05, 五点零五分 wǔ diǎn líng wǔ fēn (slow) 五点零五分
零 means “zero”. (slow) 零. Together 5 hour, zero, 5, minute. 五点零五分
12:20. 十二点二十分 shíèr diǎn èr shí fēn (slow) 十二点二十分
How about 7:46 AM? 上午七点四十六分 shàngwǔ qī diǎn sì diǎn liù fēn (slow) 上午七点四十六分
In casual situations, the word for minute 分 could be omitted if the number is bigger than 10.
To say this time: 4:15. We can say 四点十五分 sì diǎn shí wǔ fēn,or more casually 四点十五 sì diǎn shí wǔ.
To say 10:38, we can say 十点三十八分 shí diǎn sān shí bā fēn, or more casually 十点三十八 shí diǎn sān shí bā.
Now Amy and Xiao Wu are on a lunch break. Xiao Wu doesn’t have her watch or phone with her, so she asks Amy what time it is.
小吴: 现在几点了?
Xiǎo Wú: Xiàn zài jǐ diǎn le?
Xiao Wu: What time is it now?
艾米: 十二点二十八.
àimǐ: Shí èr diǎn èr shí bā.
Amy: 12:28.
half and quarter hours
In English, there are special words for half an hour and a quarter hour. This is the same for Chinese. Half in Chinese is 半 bàn (slow) 半. And a quarter hour in Chinese is 一刻 yí kè (slow) 一刻.
The order is still certain hour + 半 or 一刻.
Half past two in Chinese is 两点半 liǎng diǎn bàn (slow) 两点半.
12:30 in Chinese could be 十二点三十 shí èr diǎn sānshí, or 十二点半 shí èr diǎn bàn (slow) 十二点半
A quarter after 3 is 三点一刻 sān diǎn yí kè (slow) 三点一刻
It’s time for you to try out your time telling skills! Tell me what the time is after my question:
现在几点了?Xiàn zài jǐ diǎn le?
“What time is it now?”
现在几点了?Xiàn zài jǐ diǎn le?
九点二十五分 or more casually 九点二十五
[4:50 PM]
下午四点五十分 or 下午四点五十
Let’s try one more. See if you can say this time in a 3 different ways.
现在几点了?Xiàn zài jǐ diǎn le?
First way: 现在两点三十分.
Second way: 现在两点三十.
Third way: 现在两点半.
Well done!
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Thank you for watching! 下次见!See you soon!


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ChineseClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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Did you like this lesson?

ChineseClass101.com Verified
Monday at 10:31 PM
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Hello Kay T,

Thank you for your comment, we're glad to hear that you enjoyed the lesson! 😄 The sentence is correct, good job!

Keep it up, keep practicing, as always, let us know if you have any questions.

Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Kay T
Sunday at 01:37 AM
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What a great lesson, clear and concise! And a great way to practice numbers and telling time. I do the same with days of the week. Think it's a good idea to start right now: 现在是晚上七点三十七 (It's 7:37 in the evening) Hope I didn't mess it up 😄



ChineseClass101.com Verified
Saturday at 02:07 PM
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Hello Tiya,

Thank you for your positive comment, we're glad to hear that!

If you have any questions, please let us know.

Ngai Lam

Team ChineseClass101.com

Saturday at 11:51 AM
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❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️ easy to understand, thank you.