Telling time and dates in Russian language

Let’s consider how to tell a date in the format DAY.MONTH.YEAR

First of all, let’s learn to tell a year. Basically, years are said as well as numbers:

2015 – две тысячи пятнадцать

1928 – тысяча девятьсот двадцать восемь

And when we tell a date, we say a day number as an ordinal numeral in neuter gender (ending –ОЕ) month in genitive case, and year number also in genitive case.

Let’s read the date 17.08.1990 (17th august of 1990)

СЕМНАДЦАТОЕ АВГУСТА ТЫСЯЧА ДЕВЯТЬСОТ ДЕВЯНОСТОГО – in English it literally means “seventeenth of august of nineteen ninety”

20.12.2010 – ДВАДЦАТОЕ ДЕКАБРЯ ДВЕ ТЫСЯЧИ ДЕСЯТОГО

And when we answer the question “when?” by date, we say all in genitive case including day number:

Когда это было? – When was it?

В девятого января тысяча триста пятьдесят третьего года – In 9.01.1353

Also, when one speaks about a year in 20th century, one can drop out 19 from 19XX year number: В ДЕВЯНОСТО СЕДЬМОМ ГОДУ – in 1997th year(literally – in 97th year). Note, that here we use prepositional case because it is not a full date but a single year.

How to tell time in Russian language.

In Russia and Russian speaking countries it is usually 24 hour system, that’s why native speakers not always know how to tell time with “am/pm”.

Important notice:

When we tell amount of something, for example ЧАС – hour, with 1 we say in in nominative case – ОДИН ЧАС – one hour, with 2, 3, 4  – genitive case – ДВА ЧАСА, and with 5 and more – genitive case of plural – ПЯТЬ ЧАСОВ. Why? The answer is – it just should be memorized.

So, let’s tell what we see on the clock:

ОДИН(1) ЧАС, ДВА(2) ЧАСА, ТРИ(3) ЧАСА, ЧЕТЫРЕ(4) ЧАСА, ПЯТЬ(5) ЧАСОВ, ШЕСТЬ(6) ЧАСОВ, СЕМЬ(7) ЧАСОВ, ВОСЕМЬ(8) ЧАСОВ, ДЕВЯТЬ(9) ЧАСОВ, ДЕСЯТЬ(10) ЧАСОВ, ОДИННАДЦАТЬ(11) ЧАСОВ, ДВЕНАДЦАТЬ(12) ЧАСОВ.

Then add minutes:

ОДНА(1) МИНУТА, ДВЕ(2) МИНУТЫ, ПЯТЬ(5) МИНУТ etc.

And seconds:

ОДНА(1) СЕКУНДА, ТРИ(3) СЕКУНДЫ, ПЯТЬ(5) СЕКУНД

Now try to say a time record from a timer:

1:25:34 – ОДИН ЧАС, ДВАДЦАТЬ ПЯТЬ МИНУТ, ТРИДЦАТЬ ЧЕТЫРЕ СЕКУНДЫ

3:42:18 – ТРИ ЧАСА, СОРОК ДВЕ МИНУТЫ, ВОСЕМНАДЦАТЬ СЕКУНД

 

And how to say “half past … etc.”? In Russian Language it is also possible to say so, but a bit differently:

ДВАДЦАТЬ ПЯТЬ МИНУТ СЕДЬМОГО – 25 minutes past 6(literally: 25 minutes of 7th)

ПОЛ ШЕСТОГО – half past 5(literally: half of 6th)

Here we use ordinal numeral, i.e. not ШЕСТЬ(6) but ШЕСТОЙ(6th) when tell an hour.

ПОЛ – half.

In Russia one doesn’t say “half past” but one literally says “half of” or “… minutes of …”.

One more example – ПЯТНАДЦАТЬ МИНУТ ВОСЬМОГО – 15 minutes of 8th.

Also one can say “… minutes before …”:

БЕЗ ДВАДЦАТИ ДЕСЯТЬ – 20 before 10, that literally means “10 without 20”.

БЕЗ ПЯТНАДЦАТИ МИНУТ ОДИННАДЦАТЬ – 11 without 15.

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