Imagine getting late to that special date because you didn’t understand the time. No one wants that to happen, right? In this video lesson, I will show you all you need to know in order to ask and say the time in Portuguese. I will also show you 3 major rules and 11 quick tips to say the time in Portuguese and avoid common mistakes.
First Things First
To say the time, or to understand it when someone tells you the time, you need to know the numbers. I happen to have a video lesson on the numbers 🙂 Check it out here.
Here is other relevant vocabulary:
- (a) hora = hour
- (o) minuto = minute
- (o) segundo = second
- (o) relógio = clock, watch
3 Ways to Ask the Time in Portuguese
Here are the three most common ways to ask the time in Portuguese.
You can always add “por favor” (= please) in front, or at the end, of the question.
- Que horas são? = What time is it?
- Tem horas? = Do you have the time?
- Que horas? = What time?
How to Say the Time in Portuguese
The really simple way
Say it is 3:10. In English, you say:
- Three ten.
In Portuguese you say:
- Três e dez.
Notice that in Portuguese you need to use the proposition “e” between the hours and the minutes.
The whole phrase
3:10. In English you say:
- It is three ten.
- São três e dez.
More about how to use the verb below.
How to Say 10 to four
Use the preposition para and use the definite article:
- 3:50 = São 10 para as quatro
Here is a tip:
In spoken Brazilian Portuguese, we almost always contract para as into pras:
- 3:50 = São dez pras quatro
- 2:45 = São quinze pras três
3 Things that You Need to Know to Say the Time in Portuguese
1. Use the verb Ser
As you saw in the previous example:
- São três e dez.
And also in the question:
- Que horas são?
2. Use the number for the hour in the feminine
The numbers 1 and 2 have a feminine and a masculine version:
- 1 = um / uma
- 2 = dois / duas
Hora is a feminine noun. Therefore, the numbers need to be in their feminine form to agree with the noun that they refer to:
- 1:00 = Uma hora.
- 2:00 = Duas horas.
Even if you omit the word horas when you say the time, you still need to use the numbers in their feminine form.
To learn more about the gender of nouns, visit this lesson.
To learn about the gender of adjectives, click here.
3. The verb Ser agrees with the nearest number
In English, you use the verb To Be in the singular.
In Portuguese, the verb Ser agrees in number (singular or plural) with the first number you say.
You may be asking: “What do you mean by ‘agree with the first number’?” I mean the number in the sentence that is closer to the verb.
Look at these two examples:
- 3:10 = São três e dez.
- 1:10 = É uma e dez.
11 Quick Tips to Say It Right in Portuguese
- In Brazil, we do not use the format “it is 10 past 3” to say the time.
- To say it is midday, use the verb in the singular: É meio-dia.
- To say it is midnight: É meia-noite.
- To say half an hour: Meia hora.
- Therefore, to say 6:30: São seis e trinta or São seis e meia.
- To say it is 12:30PM: É meio-dia e meia. So many Brazilians say this wrong. They say “meio dia e meio”. But we are talking about a half hour, and hora is a feminine noun. So you need to say “meio dia e meia (hora)”
- To say it is 3:45: São quinze pras quatro. We do not use the word quarter to say the time in Brazil.
- To say AM = da manhã. For example: São 10 da manhã.
- To say PM= da tarde (afternoon) and da noite (evening). For example: São 4 da tarde. São 11 da noite.
- When it is between 1 and 5am: da madrugada. So, 2am = duas da madrugada.
- In Brazil, we usually use military time in formal occasions like business meetings and flight times, for example.
Here are the hours in the 24-hour format:
1 pm = 13
2 pm = 14
3 pm = 15
4 pm = 16
5 pm = 17
6 pm = 18
7 pm = 19
8 pm = 20
9 pm = 21
10 pm = 22
11 pm = 23
I have a little trick to help you memorize this. The time is the second digit in the military time minus 2 😉
I hope this will help you when planning meetings and fun outings in Brazil. Want to feel confident about your Portuguese? Learn with the Street Smart Brazil team. Book a Trial Lesson to get started.