Expressing Specific Time in Mandarin

5.00 点 ( diǎn)

5.04 点零四分 ( diǎn líng sì fēn)

Remember when we talk about the time, 01-09, we have to say the 0 (零/líng).

分(fēn) means minute. But it is only used to express the specific time time. If you want to say the period of time 5 minutes, it should be 5 分钟(wǔ fēnzhōng).分钟 (fēnzhōng) also means minutes, but it is used to tell the period of time. Like 分(fēn), 点 (diǎn) is also used only for time point. If you want to say the period of time like 5 hours, you just say 5 小时 (wǔ xiǎoshí).

5.10 (五点十分/wǔ diǎn shí fēn)

5.15 (五点十五分 (wǔ diǎn shíwǔ fēn)/五点一刻 (wǔ diǎn yī kè))

一刻 (yī kè) means a quarter=15 minutes.

5.25 (五点二十五/wǔ diǎn èrshíwǔ)

5.30 (五点三十分/wǔ diǎn sānshí fēn, 五点半wǔ diǎn bàn)

半(bàn) means half=30 minutes.

5.45 (五点四十五 wǔ diǎn sìshíwǔ/五点wǔ diǎn sān kè)

5.57 (五点五十七 wǔ diǎn wǔshíqī/差三分六点 chà sān fēn liù diǎn= 3 minutes to 6 o’clock)

When we are talking about time point, commonly the word 分(fēn) is optional. But it is a must for the 分 like in 5.10 and 三分 like in 5.57.

If you want to say the time with am and pm, you need the 5 words for different part of the day, they are:

7.00 am, it’s early morning, we say 早上七点 (Zǎoshang qī diǎn)

10.03 am, it’s late morning, we say 上午十点零三(Shàngwǔ shí diǎn líng sān)

12.15 pm 中午十二点一刻 (Zhōngwǔ shí’èr diǎn yī kè)

5.30 pm下午五点半 (Xiàwǔ wǔ diǎn bàn)

9.45 pm 晚上九点三刻 (Wǎnshàng jiǔ diǎn sān kè)

Asking the Time

To ask the time you need the question word 几点 (Jǐ diǎn) which means what time. You can add the word 现在 (xiànzài) which means now at the beginning of the sentence. So it becomes:

现在几点?

Xiànzài jǐ diǎn?

What time is it now?

The answer is 现在9.20 (Xiànzài jiǔ diǎn èrshí fēn).

你几点上课?Nǐ jǐ diǎn shàngkè?What time do you go to class?

我九点上课。Wǒ jiǔ diǎn shàngkè.

你几点下课?Nǐ jǐ diǎn xiàkè?

我十一点下课。Wǒ shíyī diǎn xiàkè.

我们几点在学校见?Wǒmen jǐ diǎn zài xuéxiào jiàn?

我们十一点半在学校见。Wǒmen shíyī diǎn bàn zài xuéxiào jiàn.

见(jiàn)

见(jiàn) means to meet. It’s a very important word. Let’s see some expressions that use the word 见(jiàn).

我去食堂见朋友。

Wǒ qù shítáng jiàn péngyǒu.

I go to the cafeteria to see my friend.

再见!

Zàijiàn!

See you again/Goodbye!

一会儿见!

Yīhuǐ’er jiàn!

See you later!

明天见!

Míngtiān jiàn!

See you tomorrow!

下午三点见!

Xiàwǔ sān diǎn jiàn!

See you at three in the afternoon!

If you want to offer suggestion to meet somebody, you can see the following examples:

我们四点在公园见吧!

Wǒmen sì diǎn zài gōngyuán jiàn ba!

Let’s meet in the park at four o’clock.

or

我们四点在公园见,怎么样?

Wǒmen sì diǎn zài gōngyuán jiàn, zěnmeyàng?

How about meeting in the park at 4 o’clock?

To respond the suggestion, if you like it, you can say: 好!(Hǎo!), 好的! (Hǎo de!), but if you like it very much (very enthusiastic), you can say 好啊! (Hǎo a!). The word 啊 (a) is used to express the strong feeling.

Read and practice the following dialogue!

X: 你今天中午几点上课?

X: Nǐ jīntiān zhōngwǔ jǐ diǎn shàngkè?

Y: 我十二点下课, 你呢?

Y: Wǒ shí’èr diǎn xiàkè, nǐne?

X: 我十二点半下课。

X: Wǒ shí’èr diǎn bàn xiàkè.

Y:我们一点在食堂见,怎么样?

Y: Wǒmen yīdiǎn zài shítáng jiàn, zěnmeyàng?

X:好的!一会儿见。

X: Hǎo de! Yīhuǐ’er jiàn.

Y:一会儿见。

Y: Yīhuǐ’er jiàn.

 

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