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Introducing the Expressions of Time

hey, welcome!
shí jiǔ bā qī liù wǔ sì sān èr yī. Wow. What’s this? It’s the Chinese spring festival gala. “Chūnwǎn” Oh, I’ve heard of this. It’s the most popular show in China, watched by entire Chinese families to say goodbye to one year and then to welcome in the new. Right. People were celebrating Chinese New Year in the video.
It’s usually begins at 8:00 in the evening. We can say Chūnwǎn wǎn shàng bā diǎn kāishǐ.
bā diǎn kāishǐ? I’ve learned how to use a number plus diǎn to express time. Excellent. Xiǎobǎo, xiàn zài jǐ diǎn? Hm.
It’s 8:15, so bā diǎn.. How do I express this? When the time is not on the hour, we use “a number plus diǎn plus another number plus fēn”. So we can say bādiǎn shíwǔ fēn. We have another way to express quarter past as well. bādiǎn yíkè, here, “yí kè” means quarter.
That makes sense.
I bet I can also say 12diǎn30fēn to mean half past 12:00? Right. We also have another way to express half past. So we can say 12diǎn bàn. Here, half means bàn. That’s quite a lot to take in. Right. Let’s practise. 12:00 o’clock. 12diǎn. 10 past 12. 12diǎn10 fēn. A quarter past 12. 12diǎn15fēn or 12diǎn yí kè
Half past 12:00. 12diǎn30fēn or 12diǎn bàn.
Very good. Now, listen to a dialogue to end the lesson.
Wáng xiǎobǎoxiànzài jǐdiǎn?
xiànzài shí yī diǎn sān shí fēn wǒ yě kěyǐ shuō shí yī diǎn bàn duì ma? duìwǒ men qù chī wǔfàn ba hǎo dewǒ men xià wǔ jǐ diǎn shàngkè? xiàwǔ yī diǎn shí wǔ fēn òyī diǎn yí kè shàngkè duì wǒ men zǒu ba hǎo de

Welcome to start Chinese grammar course with us. In this video, we learn how to express time. First, let’s get to know to count numbers in Chinese:

1 一 yī;2 二 èr;3 三 sān;4 四 sì;5 五 wǔ;
6 六 liù;7 七 qī;8 八 bā;9 九 jiǔ.

Click to listen to the audio

If it’s on the hour, we use“number+点”and if it’s not on the hour, we use “number+点+number+分”to express time. “点diǎn” is used for hours,”分fēn” for minutes. For example:

eight o’clock 八点 bādiǎn

Ten past twelve 十二点十分 shí’èr diǎn shí fēn

a quarter past eight 八点十五分 bādiǎn shíwǔ fēn

half past eight 八点三十分 bādiǎn sānshí fēn

There are alternative ways of saying“quarter past”and“half past”:

8:15 八点一刻 bādiǎn yíkè

8:30 八点半 bādiǎn bàn

Here “刻kè” means “quarter of an hour ” and “半bàn” means “half an hour” .

Click to listen to the audio

If you want to know “What time is it now?”

You can say in Chinese 现在几点 Xiànzài jǐdiǎn?

For example:

A: 现在几点Xiànzài jǐdiǎn?

B: 现在八点Xiànzài bādiǎn.

Here are some expressions of a day.

  • early morning 早上 zǎoshang

  • morning 上午 shàngwǔ

  • noon 中午 zhōngwǔ

  • afternoon 下午 xiàwǔ

  • evening, night 晚上 wǎnshang

Click to listen to the audio

The following is the situational dialogue from the Video:








Xīxi:What time is it now, Wang xiaobao?

Wáng xiǎobǎo:It’s 11:30 now. I could also say 11:30, right?

Xīxi:Yeah. Let’s go for lunch.

Wáng xiǎobǎo:Ok. What time shall we have class in the afternoon?

Xīxi:At 1:15 p.m.

Wáng xiǎobǎo:Oh, it starts at 1:15.

Xīxi:Yeah, let’s go.

Wáng xiǎobǎo:Ok.

© Shanghai International Studies University

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