Unit 2


IV. Asking about and telling the time

  1. Asking about and telling the time

    You ask about the time by saying “Hány óra van?” or “Hány óra?” “Hány” means “how many,” “óra” means “hour” and “van” is the third person form (he/she/it) for the verb “to be,” that is, “is.” The question literally means something like: How many hour is there? (Hungarian uses the singular after how many.)

    You can tell the time in different ways.

    1. The simplest is to say the number of the hours and then the number of the minutes. For example if the time is 4:30 p.m. you can say “négy harminc.”

    2. More formal is to say “óra” (hour) and “perc” (minute) after the number of the hours and the minutes respectively (they remain in the singular). E.g. “Négy óra harminc perc.” You can also say “tizenhat óra harminc perc” (16 óra 30 perc). This second way of telling the time is not often used in everyday speech but can be heard on the radio when they tell the time.

    3. There is another (and perhaps more common) way to tell the time. The best is to illustrate it with examples. If you want to say 4:30, you will say “fél öt.” “Fél öt” literally means “half (of) five,” that is, four full hours and the half of the fifth hour. If you want to say 4:15 you say “negyed öt” which literally means “quarter (of) five,” that is, four full hours and the quarter of the fifth hour. For 4:45 you say “háromnegyed öt” which literally means “three quarters (of) five,” that is, four full hours and three quarters of the fifth hour.

    - Hány óra van?
    - 8 óra 5 perc.
    ‘ What’s the time?’
    ‘ 4:05.’

    - Hány óra van?
    - 20 óra 5 perc.
    ‘ What’s the time?’
    ‘ 4:05.’

    - Hány óra?
    - Fél hat.
    ‘ What’s the time?’
    ‘ 5:30.’

    - Hány óra?
    - Negyed ketto.
    ‘ What’s the time?’
    ‘ 1:15.’

    - Hány óra van?
    - Háromnegyed kilenc.
    ‘ What’s the time?’
    ‘ 8:45.’


    Practice
    1. Practice saying the following times after the model. Click on the expression to hear it.

    Negyed négy (3:15)
    Negyed ketto (1:15)
    Negyed hat (5:15)
    Háromnegyed egy (12:45)
    Fél tíz (9:30)
    Fél egy (12:30)
    Háromnegyed öt (4:45)
    Háromnegyed hét (6:45)
    Fél tizenegy (10:30)
    6 óra 10 perc (6:10)
    7 óra 8 perc (7:08)
    8 óra 50 perc (8:50)
    3 óra 16 perc (3:16)
    9 óra 4 perc (9:04)
    2 óra 20 perc (2:20)

    2. Speaking practice
    a) Read out the following time expressions.
    14 óra 25 perc Check your answer here.
    12 óra 5 perc Check your answer here.
    16 óra 50 perc Check your answer here.
    15 óra 45 perc Check your answer here.
    17 óra 20 perc Check your answer here.

    b) Read out the following time expressions and also write down the time they denote in English.
    fél egy Check your answer here. [12:30]
    fél ketto Check your answer here. [1:30]
    negyed három Check your answer here. [2:15]
    negyed négy Check your answer here. [3:15]
    háromnegyed négy Check your answer here. [3:45]
    háromnegyed tizenketto Check your answer here. [11:45]
    negyed tizenegy Check your answer here. [10:15]
    háromnegyed hét Check your answer here. [6:45]
    negyed nyolc Check your answer here. [7:15]
    fél kilenc Check your answer here. [8:30]

    3. Listening practice. Listen to the time expressions. Write down the time you hear.

    Listening 1. Check your answer here. [fél tizenketto – 11:30]
    Listening 2. Check your answer here. [negyed egy – 12:15]
    Listening 3. Check your answer here. [negyed három – 2:15]
    Listening 4. Check your answer here. [tizenketto óra húsz perc – 12:20]
    Listening 5. Check your answer here. [fél tíz – 9:30]
    Listening 6. Check your answer here. [háromnegyed ketto – 1:45]
    Listening 7. Check your answer here. [tizenketto: harminc – 12:30]
    Listening 8. Check your answer here. [fél három – 2:30]
    Listening 9. Check your answer here. [háromnegyed kilenc – 8:45]
    Listening 10. Check your answer here. [tíz óra huszonöt perc – 10:25]
    Listening 11. Check your answer here. [negyed 5 – 4:15]
    Listening 12. Check your answer here. [háromnegyed hat – 5:45]
    Listening 13. Check your answer here. [fél hat – 5:30]
    Listening 14. Check your answer here. [negyed hét – 6:15]
    Listening 15. Check your answer here. [tizenegy óra tíz perc – 11:10]
    Listening 16. Check your answer here. [háromnegyed négy – 3:45]
    Listening 17. Check your answer here. [kilenc óra tíz perc – 9:10]
    Listening 18. Check your answer here. [negyed nyolc – 7:15]
    Listening 19. Check your answer here. [háromnegyed egy – 12:45]
    Listening 20. Check your answer here. [fél nyolc – 7:30]

    4. Speaking practice. Read out the time expressions in two ways.

    4: 15 Check your answer [BY CLICKING THEY SHOULD HEAR the answer. Audiofile: “check your answers” folder]
    5: 45 Check your answer
    3: 30 Check your answer
    2: 15 Check your answer
    6: 45 Check your answer
    7: 30 Check your answer
  2. A.m. or p.m.?

    When telling the time people usually do not say p.m. or a.m. since this information is usually known from the context. When it is not clear from the context we use the following indicatives before the actual time expressions:

    “ reggel” (AUDIOLINK) for times in the morning till 9 am e.g. reggel 8 óra (= 8 a.m.).

    “ délelott” (AUDIOLINK) for time after 9 am before noon. E.g. délelott 11 óra (= 11 a.m.).

    “ délután” (AUDIOLINK) after 12 pm before 5 pm e.g. délután 4 óra (= 4 p.m.).

    “ este” (AUDIOLINK) after 5 pm. e.g. este 6 óra (= 6 p.m.).

    Note: These divisions are not strict and also depend on when it gets dark.


Practice

Listening practice. Click here to practice listening to time expressions. [RANDOM PROGRAM: “time expressions” audio folder and key to that: “time expressions” document folder, attached]