Spanish Grammar Guide

Dates and Time

In this section: Description, Questions, Exercises


An Overview of Dates and Time:

In order to write dates and times correctly, you need to learn the basic vocabulary and familiarize yourself with Spanish written conventions.

Basic Vocabulary

Days of the week and months of the year DO NOT use capital letters (unless they appear at the beginning of a sentence).

The days of the week in Spanish are:

  • lunes ("Monday"), martes ("Tuesday"), miércoles ("Wednesday"), jueves ("Thursday"), viernes ("Friday"), sábado ("Saturday"), domingo ("Sunday").

Months of the year are:

  • enero ("January"), febrero (February"), marzo ("March"), abril ("April"), mayo ("May"), junio ("June"), julio ("July"), agosto ("August"), septiembre ("September"), octubre ("October"), noviembre ("November"), diciembre ("December").

Other words that indicate time are:

  • hoy ("today"), mañana ("tomorrow"/"morning"), pasado mañana ("day after tomorrow"), ayer ("yesterday"), anteayer ("day before yesterday"), siglo ("century"), década ("decade"), año ('year'), mes ('month'), día ('day'), hora ("hour"), minuto ("minute"), segundo ("second"), al mismo tiempo ("at the same time"), hace dos años que... ("it's been two years since..."), anoche ("last night"/"yesterday evening"), la noche anterior ("the night before"), esta tarde ("this afternoon"), el próximo día ("the next day"), el día siguiente ("the following day"), etc.



When writing the date in Spanish, the basic structure you should follow is:

  •  el 21 de noviembre de 1963

*Note the absence of a comma after the month/before the year.

If you are indicating the day of the week as well, use the following format:

  • martes el 4 de enero de 2001

*Note presence of el after the day of the week (not before it) and also the absence of commas.


Image result for cuidado

  • Both days of the week and months are written with a lower case letter, e.g.: lunes, septiembre.
  • Do not use sobre or en to say "on" a day, as Spanish does NOT use prepositions to indicate this, e.g.: Voy de vacaciones el miércoles and NOT Voy de vacaciones en el miércoles.
  • You CAN use the preposition en to say "in" a particular month, e.g.: Voy de vacaciones en julio.
  • Write ¿Cuál es la fecha de hoy? or ¿Qué día es hoy? (NOT ¿Qué es la fecha de hoy?)
  • Use los when you mean "every", e.g.: La clase es los lunes.
  • You can only use the ordinal number primero in Spanish, but NO other ordinals when telling the date, e.g.: es el primero/uno de agosto
  • When writing the date, do NOT put a comma before the year, instead use the preposition de, e.g.: el 21 de noviembre de 1963.
  • If you write out the year in words, avoid an embarrassing mistake and do NOT confuse the words año ("year") and ano ("anus") (i.e.: spelling and little accent marks really do matter!), e.g.: el primero de agosto del año dos mil uno.



When writing about time in Spanish, use the following expressions:

  • ¿Qué hora es? Es la una. ("What time is it? It is one o'clock.")
  • la mañana, de la tarde, de la noche, e.g.: Son las cuatro de la tarde. ("It is 4 o'clock in the afternoon.")
  • ¿A qué hora es ... ("When/At what time is ...?)
  • Son las ocho menos cuarto. ("It is quarter to eight.")
  • ...y dieciséis minutos, e.g.: Son las cuatro y dieciséis minutos. ("It is four sixteen.")
  • ...y cuarto/y media, e.g.: Son las dos y media. ("It is 2:30.")
  • Son las tres en punto. ("It is three o'clock on the dot.")
  • el mediodía="noon"; la medianoche="midnight"

Image result for cuidado

  • Use the verb ser to indicate time; the singular es/era is only used for 1 o'clock, all other times are indicated with the plural form son/eran
  • You must use the feminine article la/las when telling the time (because you are referring to the feminine word hora)
  • When indicating time with numerals, use a colon or a period, e.g.: 2:30, 2.30.
  • Use a.m. and p.m. if you are writing the time in numbers and de la mañana/de la tarde, etc. if you are writing the time in words, e.g.: 8:30 p.m.= ocho y media de la noche
  • The 24 hour clock is common and you can use the letter h in the 24 hour clock, e.g.: 20 h = 8PM
  • don't confuse cuarto ("quarter") with cuatro ("four")



The words durantedentro deen, a, por, para, desde, antes, and después are used to indicate when an action started or how long it lasted. Let's consider each of these in turn:


  • means "during/for" and, as such, is used do describe action between two points in time (future or past), e.g.: Viajé durante dos días.

Dentro de:

  • means "in" (or "from now"), with future reference, e.g.: Lo voy a hacer dentro de tres horas. Note that this should not be used for past events.


  • means "within/in", e.g.: Vuelvo en cinco minutosEn can be used interchangeably with dentro de particularly in Latin America.


  • means "at", to tell at what time something occurs, e.g.: La reunión fue a las diez de la mañana.


  • means "for", when expressing past, present or future events, e.g.: Vamos a viajar por cuatro semanas; do not use para when describing how long an activity lasts.


  • means "for", when expressing a specified time period in the future, e.g.: Tenemos suficiente comida para cinco días.


  • means "for" or "since", e.g.: Estamos aquí desde una hora. As such, desde refers to an action that started in the past and continues in the present.

 Antes (de):

  • means "before", e.g.: Quiero ver el programa antes de comer.

Después (de):

  • means "after", e.g.: Voy a salir después de la cita.


In this section: Description, Questions, Exercises

Search the Guide: