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Mandarin Time

Telling the Time in Mandarin Chinese

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Before learning to tell time in Mandarin Chinese, you need a solid grasp of Mandarin numbers.

Here is a quick review of the Mandarin numbering system:

  • All number vocabulary is based on the numbers from zero to ten.
  • Multiples of 10 are expressed as 2-10 (20), 3-10 (30) etc.
  • Numbers above 10 are expressed as 10-1 (11), 20-3 (23) etc.
  • The number 2 has two forms: èr when counting, and liǎng when used with a measure word (as in telling the time).

Mandarin Time Vocabulary

Audio files are marked with ►

hour
xiǎo shí / ►zhōng tóu
小時 / 鐘頭

minute
fēn zhōng
分鐘

second
miǎo


morning
zǎo shang / ►shàng wǔ
早上 / 上午

noon
zhōng wǔ
中午

afternoon
xià wǔ
下午

evening
wǎn shang
晚上

night
yè lǐ
夜裡

when?
shénme shíhou
甚麼時候

what time?
jī diǎn?
幾點?

What Time Is It?

Mandarin time is most commonly expressed in “digital format” i.e. 10:45 rather than “a quarter to eleven.” However, the word ►bàn (半), which means “half,” is often used for 30 minutes past the hour.

What time is it?
Xiànzài jī diǎn le?
現在幾點了?

10:30
shí diǎn bàn / ►shí diǎn sān shí fēn
十點半 / 十點三十分

11:00
shí yī diǎn zhōng
十一點鐘

12:15
shí èr diǎn shí wǔ fēn
十二點十五分

1:00
yī diǎn zhōng
一點鐘

3:20
sān diǎn èr shí fēn
三點二十分

5:55
wǔ diǎn wǔ shí wǔ fēn
五點五十五分

8:00 in the morning
zǎo shang bā diǎn
早上八點

2:00 in the afternoon
xià wǔ liǎng diǎn
下午兩點

9:05 in the evening
wǎn shang jiǔ diǎn wǔ fēn
晚上九點五分

Take the Mandarin Time Quiz

Ready to test your knowledge of Mandarin time? Take the Mandarin time audio quiz.

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