Russian Grammar

Asking and telling time in Russian

Now that you know the numbers, you can begin asking and telling time in Russian. Listen to the following phrases and try to learn some of them. The show you several different ways to ask what time it is.

Сколько времени?                    What time is it? (literally: How much time?)
Который час? What time is it? (literally: Which hour?)

These are barebones phrases used when speaking to people you know well. If there are no friends around and you want to ask someone you don’t know for the time remember to introduce some polite words:

Скажите, пожалуйста, сколько времени? Could you tell me the time, please?
Извините, Вы не подскажете который час?       Excuse me, could you tell me what time is it? (Can be asked when you are not sure if the stranger has a watch)
When hearing the answer or telling time keep in mind that cardinal numbers change as shown in the table.

Number of hours
     Number of minutes      
Один час
Одна минута
2, 3, 4
(For nouns that follow,
genitive singular)
Два, три, четыре часа
Две, три, четыре минуты
(For adjectives or nouns
that follow, genitive plural)
13-20, 30, 40, 50

Here are some possible answers to a question about time. For simplicity, these examples do not mention the time of the day or night.

Сейчас два часа.                         It’s 2:00. (literally: Now two o’clock.)
Сейчас четыре часа двадцать четыре минуты. It’s 4:24.
Сейчас пять часов тридцать минут. It’s 5:30.

Mini Quiz #4

Suppose you are standing by a mall and enjoying your new watch. Someone comes by and asks you in Russian “Извините, Вы не подскажете, сколько времени?” Answer this question using the following information. Don’t forget to change the endings of numbers and words in brackets when needed.

2 (час)
1 (час)
10 (час)
12 ( час) 15 (минута)
4 (час)
7 (час) 25 (минута)
11 (час) 10 (минута)
3 (час)
5 (час) 15 (минута)
3 (час)
5 (час)
6 (час) 15 (минута)
8 (час) 30 (минута)
8 (час) 5 (минута)
9 (час) 30 (минута)
(1 час)
в 2 (час)
3 (час)
4 (час) 5 (минута)
5 (час) 40 (минута)

Other useful sites for telling time in Russian: How to tell time in Russian, Telling time

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