Telling the time in Brazilian Portuguese

This page offers a guide to telling the time in Brazilian Portuguese. 

Before being able to tell the time, you’ll need a good working knowledge of numbers (see here to learn about numbers in Brazilian Portuguese).

Key questions for asking the time in Brazilian Portuguese

Que horas são?What time is it?
Que horas?What time?
Tem horas?Do you have the time?

Vocabulary for the time of day


Hours in Brazilian Portuguese

To say what time it is, you need to use the correct form of ser followed by the relevant number.  This means using either é or são depending on the number of hours.  Use the singular é for 1 o’clock and the plural são for 2 o’clock and higher:

É uma horaIt’s one o’clock
São oito horasIt’s eight o’clock

See here for more information about the use of the verb ser in Brazilian Portuguese.

The numbers one and two have both masculine and feminine forms (um/uma; dois/duas).  

Hora is a feminine noun, so the numbers need to be in their feminine form when telling the time e.g. são duas horas (it’s two o’clock).  

When giving the time exactly on the hour, the word hora(s) must be used e.g. são onze horas (it’s eleven o’clock).

Half past the hour

E meia is used to express half past the hour e.g. são oito e meia (it’s half past eight).

Midday in Portuguese translates to meio-dia, so half past midday translates to meio-dia e meia.  

Midnight translates to meia-noite.


Minutes past the hour are given using e

When giving the time in hours and minutes, the use of hora(s) and minto(s) is optional e.g. são sete e doze (it’s twelve minutes past seven)

When talking about the time informally, you can omit saying “horas” and “minutos”, however, you can’t omit saying hora(s) when giving the time exactly on the hour, only when minutes are involved.

Quarter to the hour or past the hour

To say quarter to the hour, or past the hour, you simply refer to the number of minutes quinze (fifteen) e.g. são dez e quinze (it’s quarter past ten).

Minutes to the hour 

To state how many minutes there are to an hour, you use the word para plus the relevant definite article (a, as, o), literally meaning minutes to the hour e.g. são cinco minutos para as quatro (it’s five minutes to four).  See here for information about the use of definite articles in Brazilian Portuguese.

Specifying if it is taking place in morning, afternoon or in the evening

  • To say that something is taking place in the morning, use da manhã e.g. são oito horas da manhã (it’s eight in the morning)
  • To say that something is taking place in the afternoon, use da tarde e.g. são tres horas da tarde (it’s three in the afternoon)
  • To say that something is taking place in the evening or at night, use da noite e.g. são dez da noite (it’s ten at night)

Vocabulary related to the clock

minuto minute
relógio clock, watch

Telling the time vocabulary flashcards

Test your understanding of telling the time vocabulary using the flashcards below. Click on the card to reveal the translation and the arrows to move between cards:

👈  Previous pageNext page  👉
Difference between ser and estarDays, weeks, months and years

Click here to go to the resources page

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