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Hora, minuto, semana, y mes

Spanish has a lot of nouns for time. Let’s learn the words for “hour”, “minute”, “week”, “month”, and many more. We’ll also learn how to talk about clock time in Spanish, such as how to say “one o’clock” or “three o’clock”.

Full Podcast Episode


Tiempo al tiempo.

Intro: Join us on a rigorous, step-by-step journey to fluency. I’m Timothy and this is LearnCraft Spanish.

Today we’re going to learn a few new nouns related to time, such as the words for “hour”, “minute”, “week”, and “month”. While we do, we’ll continue practicing our new verb, Poder, as well as all the new adjectives and idioms that we learned yesterday.

To begin with, the word for “hour” is hora, spelled h-o-r-a, with a silent H. For example:

She was here for an hour.

Ella estuvo aquí por una hora.

This word is also how you talk about the time, in terms of what clock time it is. For example, to say “what time is it?”, you don’t use the word tiempo or vez; instead you say ¿Qué hora es? Incidentally, that’s why we use feminine articles to refer to the time, such as a las dos or a la una; we’re referring to “the hours”, or las horas. Here’s an example of how this might work:

What time is it? // It’s three o’clock.

¿Qué hora es? // Son las tres.

You’ll also use hora any time you use the phrase “at that time”, when what you’re referring to is a clock time. For example:

We will be there at that time.

Estaremos ahí a esa hora.

Another feminine noun is the word semana, which means “week”. For example:

We’re going to go there that week.

Vamos a ir ahí esa semana.

Now for a couple of masculine nouns. The word for “minute” is minuto, and the word for “month” is mes, spelled M-E-S. Some of our students like to use a memory palace to keep all these time nouns straight; you might imagine that on the left side of the room are a few hourglasses, representing the horas, and on the right side are a strange clock with only a minute hand and a paper calendar that’s been scribbled all over. The calendar represents mes, and the clock with only a minute hand represents minuto. Those are masculine, whereas hora is feminine.

Let’s use a mini-quiz to practice hora, semana, minuto, and mes.

This month he hasn’t been able to go.

Este mes no ha podido ir.

I hope she can go that week.

I hope que ella pueda ir esa semana.

Espero que ella pueda ir esa semana.

I was able to be here for 3 hours.

 Pude estar aquí por 3 horas.

I’ll be able to do it in 2 minutes.

Lo podré hacer en dos minutos.

In this next example, to say “one in the afternoon”, you’ll literally translate it as “the one of the afternoon”.

What time is it? It’s 1 in the afternoon.

¿Qué hora es? Es la una de la tarde.

Let’s learn a few more nouns. The word for “morning” is mañana. The first N in this word is what we call an “eñe”, the N with a squiggly mark over it, kind of like in the word año. Mañana. To help remember this word, some of our students like to use an image of a man yawning, on the left side of the time scene, which can help you remember “man–yana”.

Here’s an example:

He managed to do it this morning.

Lo pudo hacer esta mañana.

Now, remember that to say “good morning” in Spanish, you actually say “good days”, or buenos días. The word mañana is used not in greetings, but in other contexts. Here’s another example:

It’s three in the morning.

Son las tres de la mañana.

Now let’s say that we’re not talking about this morning or that month or this week, but instead we’re talking about the general past, long ago. Let’s learn two nouns that are useful for that. First of all, the word for “the past” is el pasado. For example:

In the past we were able to do it.

En el pasado lo podíamos hacer.

Another way we say this in English is “back then”, if we’re referring to a specific era in the past. To say “back then” in Spanish, we actually use the idiom en ese entonces, which uses the noun entonces, spelled e-n-t-o-n-c-e-s. This word actually has multiple meanings in Spanish, but as a noun, it typically refers to a specific period of time in the distant past.

Let’s practice mañana, pasado, and entonces with another mini-quiz.

It might be that he’s there in the morning.

Puede que esté ahí por la mañana.

In the past I was a student; back then I studied more.

En el pasado yo era student; en ese entonces I studied más.

En el pasado yo era estudiante; en ese entonces estudiaba más.

The place is going to be safe during the morning.

El lugar va a ser seguro por la mañana.

Now for a fun word, fiesta, which means “party”. This is a feminine noun spelled f-i-e-s-t-a. This word is kind of hard to categorize, but since a party is sort of an event that happens during a length of time, I’ve sort of lumped it in with our time nouns today. Here’s an example:

We were at a party.

Estábamos en una fiesta.

To “throw a party”, you actually simply hacer una fiesta, literally “make a party” or “do a party”. For example:

That’s why we threw a party.

Por eso hicimos una fiesta.

Our last noun is the word momento, which means “moment”. This word is used much more frequently in Spanish than it is in English, and that’s because the Spanish language likes to refer to time in terms of moments. For example, sometimes to say “it’s time to do something”, you actually say it’s the “moment of” doing something. Here’s an example:

It’s time for us to leave.

Es momento de irnos.

You can actually do this with some other time nouns too; this is commonly done with tiempo. Here’s one way you could say “it was time to make myself a friend”.

Era tiempo de hacerme un amigo.

But generally speaking, you’ll use tiempo like this to refer to a more general time, and you’ll use momento to refer to a particular moment at which something changes, like if it’s suddenly time to leave a party.

Ese fue el momento de irme de la fiesta.

Let’s practice fiesta, momento, and the idioms momento de and tiempo de.

It’s the moment to leave.

Es momento de irse.

They can throw a party themselves.

Ellos mismos pueden hacer una fiesta.

At that moment, the party stopped.

En ese momento, la fiesta stopped.

En ese momento, la fiesta terminó.

When she can talk, it will be time to leave.

Cuando pueda talk, será tiempo de irse.

Cuando pueda hablar, será tiempo de irse.

Before we go on to today’s final quiz, let’s learn one more idiom related to time. If someone is being impatient, and you want to suggest that they calm down, you might say tiempo al tiempo, literally “time to the time”. This is a common way to say “give it time” or “be patient”. For example:

Give it time, he’ll be able to do it this evening.

Tiempo al tiempo, podrá hacerlo esta noche.

You’ll see tiempo al tiempo appear once or twice on today’s quiz.

Remember that if you need more practice with anything in particular, you can dive into specifics at LCSPodcast.com/69.

Now, if you feel ready, let’s go on to today’s final quiz. I’m going to help you with the first example, because it uses an idiomatic phrase that we haven’t really explored. In English, we sometimes say that something would be the case, “if it weren’t for” something else being the case. In Spanish, to say “if it weren’t for”, you use si no fuera por, literally “if it weren’t because of”. So see if you can predict how to say:

He would be able to do this, if it weren’t for his past.

Podría hacer esto, si no fuera por su pasado.

You can be here this week, but we can’t.

Puedes estar aquí esta semana, pero nosotros no podemos.

I’m sure it’s time to leave.

Estoy seguro de que es tiempo de irme.

It’s clear that they were able to do it.

Está claro que podían hacerlo.

She couldn’t believe it was the moment to leave.

No podía believe que era el momento de irse.

No podía creer que era el momento de irse.

If I were able to do it, I would do it, but I can’t.

Si pudiera hacerlo, lo haría, pero no puedo.

You were able to do that every morning?

¿Podías hacer eso todas las mañanas?

We would be able to be alone all month.

Podríamos estar solos todo el mes.

If she were able to throw the same party this instant, she would do it.

Si ella pudiera hacer la misma fiesta ya mismo, lo haría.

They would be able to go once in a while.

Podrían ir de vez en cuando.

No, please, give it time!

No, por favor, ¡tiempo al tiempo!

This month, everyone went at once.

Este mes, todos fueron a la vez.

I’m happy because I ate cereal this morning.

Estoy feliz porque I ate cereal esta mañana.

Estoy feliz porque comí cereales esta mañana.

This month is the moment to throw a party.

Este mes es el momento de hacer una fiesta.

Give it time, in that moment they are going to be able to do it.

Tiempo al tiempo, en ese momento van a poder hacerlo.

At what time did you leave the party?

¿A qué hora te fuiste de la fiesta?

This moment is the best one of this month.

Este momento es el mejor de este mes.

I hope you can be there more minutes that week.

Espero que puedas estar ahí más minutos esa semana.

Let’s do it once and for all.

Hagámoslo de una vez por todas.

He can be there at that time.

Puede estar ahí a esa hora.

Back then, I waited 3 minutes.

En ese entonces, I waited tres minutos.

En ese entonces, esperé tres minutos.

I hope we can be there at the same time.

I hope que podamos estar ahí al mismo tiempo.

Espero que podamos estar ahí al mismo tiempo.

Back then it was time to fight.

En ese entonces era tiempo de fight.

En ese entonces era tiempo de luchar.

I would be able to do it.

Yo podría hacerlo.

Sometimes I think you would be able to go.

A veces I think que podrías ir.

A veces creo que podrías ir.

He won’t be able to do the things he did in the past.

No podrá hacer las cosas que hacía en el pasado.

For more practice with all of this, go to LCSPodcast.com/69, or tune in tomorrow for a giant quiz to keep practicing everything we’ve learned this week.

This show is brought to you by LearnCraftSpanish.com. The Spanish voice in this episode was our coach Ximena Lama-Rondón. Our music was provided by the Seattle Marimba Quartet, and I’m Timothy, encouraging you to do the hard work of learning Spanish. Acquiring a second language is one of the most fulfilling things you can do, so start your fluency journey today at LCSPodcast.com.

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