It’s hard to get by without knowing how to tell the time. You’ll need to check appointment times, times of meetings or just find out if it’s lunchtime or not!
There are many ways to tell the time in Chinese so be sure you know as many of them as you can.
In this Podcast, you will learn:
(i) To explain the various ways to tell the time if being asked
(ii) How to ask someone to tell you the time of a certain event or activity
Two colleagues are discussing the timing of certain events
Nǐ píng shí jǐ diǎn qǐ chuáng?
When do you usually get up?
Wǒ píng shí lìu diǎn wǔ shí qǐ chuáng.
I usually get up at six fifty
Tā jǐ diǎn qù shàng bān?
When does he go to work?
Tā yī bān qī dǐan shí wǔ qù shàng bān.
He usually goes to work at seven fifteen
Tā jīn tiān jǐ diǎn kāi huì?
When is her meeting today?
Tā jīn tiān xià wǔ liǎng diǎn kāi huì.
Her meeting is at two o’clock this afternoon
Nǐ měi tiān jǐ diǎn shuì jiào?
When do you go to bed every night?
Wǒ měi tiān shí yī diǎn bàn shuì jiào.
I go to bed at half past eleven every night
Chinese words and phrases mentioned in this Podcast:
去上班：go to work
睡觉：go to bed/sleep
When we express time in Chinese, we can skip ‘分’, but when the minute equals or is less than ten, we need to say ‘分’, e.g. ‘六点十分’ (ten past six). However, if we use ‘零’, as in ‘六点零五’, we can skip ‘分’.
We can express time in Chinese in different ways as we do in English. For example, we can say both ‘six fifty’ (六点五十) and ‘ten to seven’ (差十分七点).
‘A quarter’ (一刻) is quite common in Chinese conversation whilst ‘three quarters’ (三刻) is less common.
Time expressions related to ‘two’ are different when it comes to ‘hours’ and ‘minutes’. For example, Chinese will say ‘两(liǎng)点二 (èr)分’ or ‘两点零二’.
In Chinese conversation, ‘11点半’ is more common than ‘11点30’ when expressing half past eleven.
Mandarin Chinese learning resources we recommend:
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