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What Time Is It? Posted by on Oct 28, 2012 in Conversation, Learning Hebrew, numbers, Phrases, Vocabulary

Note: This post and future posts will be using a more interactive way to help you learn Hebrew. Hovering your mouse cursor over the Hebrew words (without clicking on them) will show you how to pronounce the word in Hebrew, along with the English translation. This will help you get used to reading Hebrew faster.


Before going to the museum, it’s good to know what time their opening hours are. So let’s find out how to tell time in Hebrew.

The first thing you need to know is how to ask for the time. And that would be: מה השׁעה?

If you want to know about a specific event, you would ask: באיזו שעה …?

In Israel, there are two ways to tell time. The official way is by military time (the 24-hour clock). The other way is as in the United States, the 12-hour clock. We’ll be looking at this way first.

On The Hour

Saying the hour is very easy. You simply say השׁעה and then the number of the correct hour (you would use the feminine form of the number as I wrote in the blog about numbers and counting).

It’s one o’clock – השׁעה אחת

It’s ten o’clock – השׁעה עשר

On The Half Hour

When it comes to the half hour, you would say the hour first, and then וחצי.

It’s 3:30 – שׁלושׁ וחצי

It’s 1:30 – אחת וחצי

The Quarter Hour

To express 15 minutes before or after the hour, you would use רוע ל… to mean “it’s a quarter to…” or ורבע to mean “it’s a quarter after…”. Notice how to use it:

It’s 2:45 – רבע לשׁלושׁ (notice the hour comes after the expression)

It’s 3:15 – שׁלושׁ ורבע (you say the hour first, and then the expression)

The Rest Of The hour

To tell the time using the other minutes of the hour, you can use
the same patterns as above, but use the numbers corresponding to the minutes either before the hour or after it. Check these examples:

It’s 2:50 – עֲשָׂרָה לְשָׁלוֹשׁ (ten to three)

It’s 3:10 – שָׁלוֹשׁ וְעֲשָרָה (ten after three)

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About the Author: Sean Young

Learning languages since 1978 and studying over 50 (achieving fluency in 10). Sean L. Young loves giving tips, advice and the secrets you need to learn a language successfully no matter what language you're learning. Currently studying Hindi and blogging his progress right here at Transparent Language - https://blogs.transparent.com/language-news.


  1. Liam Haller:

    Excellent article I was able to understand and properly tell time after the first read through

  2. Laura Boudreau:

    Why are the minutes in the masculine form, but the hours in feminine? The words for “hour” and “minute” are both feminine. Have been wondering this for a while