Telling time: Hours

stasya | 11.06.2012 | 5

If you want to ask the time you should say:

Котра (зараз) година? — What time is it (now)?

or

О котрій годині? — At what time?

година — hour, feminine,

хвилина — minute, feminine,

Both of them decline like рука.

Now let's have a closer look on how to tell the time in Ukrainian.

Image: /upload/article_images/27_7655f978fdf927e83b6432ec5a2d051c.png

You can tell time in Ukrainian in two ways:

Formal way

  • Question: Котра (зараз) година? — What time is it (now)?

    a) …:00 — ordinal numeral (Nominative case, feminine, singular) + “година” (Nominative case, feminine, singular);

    b) …:… — ordinal numeral (Nominative case, feminine, singular) + [“година” (Nominative case, feminine, singular)], cardinal numeral (Nominative case, feminine, plural) + [“хвилин” (Genitive case, feminine, plural)].

    Examples:

    a) 08:00 — восьма година (eighth hour);

    b) 11:35 — одинадцята [година], тридцять п'ять [хвилин] (eleventh hour, thirty five minutes).

  • Question: О котрій годині? — At what time?

    a) …:00 — о + ordinal numeral (Dative case, feminine, singular) + [“годині” (Dative case, feminine, singular)];

    b) …:… — о + ordinal numeral (Dative case, feminine, singular) + [“годині” (Dative case, feminine, singular)], cardinal numeral (Nominative case, feminine, plural) + [“хвилин” (Genitive case, feminine, plural)].

    Examples:

    a) at 08:00 — о восьмій годині (at eighth hour);

    b) at 11:35 — об* одинадцятій [годині], тридцять п'ять [хвилин] (at eleventh hour, thirty five minutes).

    *prepositions о and об have the same meaning and purpose. О is used when the next letter is consonant and об when vowel. Thus when telling time об is used only with 11.

Popular way

  1. If it is a full hour:

    …:00 — ordinal numeral (Nominative case, feminine, singular) + “година” (Nominative case, feminine, singular).

    Examples:

    05:00 — п'ята година (fifth hour);

    09:00 — дев'ята година (ninth hour).

  2. If in between 02 and 30 minutes preposition на must be used.

    …:… — cardinal numeral (Nominative case, feminine, plural) + [“хвилин” (Genitive case, feminine, plural)] + на + ordinal numeral (Accusative case, feminine, singular).

    Examples:

    09:05 — п'ять [хвилин] на десяту (five minutes on tenth);

    07:10 — десять [хвилин] на восьму (ten minutes on eighth).

  3. If in between 30 and 59 minutes preposition за or до must be used.

    Example:

    06:55 — за п'ять сьома, meaning that in/after 5 minutes there will be seven o'clock;

    or

    06:55 — п'ять до сьомої, meaning there are 5 minutes left to 7 o'clock.

    Therefore:

    …:… — за + cardinal numeral (Nominative case, feminine, plural) + [“хвилин” (Genitive case, feminine, plural)] + ordinal numeral (Nominative case, feminine, singular);

    or

    …:… — cardinal numeral (Nominative case, feminine, plural) + [“хвилин” (Genitive case, feminine, plural)] + до + ordinal numeral (Genitive case, feminine, singular).

    Examples:

    09:40 — за двадцять [хвилин] десята (in/after twenty minutes tenth) or двадцять [хвилин] до десятої (twenty minutes to ten);

    03:55 — за п'ять [хвилин] четверта (in/after five minutes fourth) or п'ять [хвилин] до четвертої (five minutes to fourth).

  4. quarter past…/quarter to…

    a quarter — чверть (feminine)

    …:15 — чверть (Nominative case, feminine, singular) + ordinal numeral (Accusative case, feminine, singular);

    …:45 — за + чверть (Nominative case, feminine, singular) + ordinal numeral (Nominative case, feminine, singular);

    or

    …:45 — чверть (Nominative case, feminine, singular) + до + ordinal numeral (Genitive case, feminine, singular).

    Examples:

    02:15 — чверть на третю (a quarter on third);

    02:45 — за чверть третя (in/after a quarter third) or чверть до третьої (a quarter to third).

  5. half past…

    a half (an hour) — пів (години)

    …:30 — пів + на + ordinal numeral (Accusative case, feminine, singular);

    or

    …:30 — пів + до + ordinal numeral (Genitive case, feminine, singular).

    Examples:

    05:30 — пів на шосту (a half on sixth);

    10:30 — пів до одинадцятої (a half to eleventh).

  6. in the morning/afternoon/evening, at night

    The main parts of the day are:

    morning — ранок (apprx. 05:00-12:00),

    noon — полудень, обід (12:00),

    afternoon — після обіду, день (apprx.12:00-18:00),

    evening — вечір (apprx.18:00-22:00),

    midnight — північ (00:00),

    night — ніч (apprx. 22:00-05:00).

    • If it's morning we tend to add ранку (Genitive form of “ранок”):

      07:00 — сьома [година] ранку (seventh hour of morning);

      08:10 — десять [хвилин] на дев'яту ранку (ten minutes on ninth hour of morning).

      Я встаю о шостій ранку. — I wake up at six o'clock in the morning.

    • If it's afternoon we tend to add дня (Genitive form of “день”):

      15:00 — третя [година] дня (third hour of day);

      13:40 — за двадцять [хвилин] друга дня (in/after twenty minutes second hour of day).

      Зараз за п'ять четверта дня. — It is five minutes to four in the afternoon now.

      Ми будемо дивитись фільм о другій дня. — We will watch the movie at two o'clock in the afternoon.

    • If it's evening we tend to add вечора (Genitive form of “вечір”):

      18:00 — шоста [година] вечора (sixth hour of evening);

      20:20 — двадцять [хвилин] на восьму вечора (twenty minutes on eighth hour of evening).

      Він прийматиме ванну о сьомій вечора. — He will be having a bath at seven o'clock in the evening.

    • If it's night we tend to add ночі (Genitive form of “ніч”):

      02:00 — друга [година] ночі (second hour of night).

      Телефон задзвенів о першій ночі. — The phone rang at one o'clock at night.

    The time intervals are approximate, especially for evening, night and morning. Some can tell that 23:00 is still evening, or that 03:00 is already morning and so on. One say that morning begings when the sun sets and others can still say three o'clock in the morning, even though it's pitch black outside. If you feel like it's too late to say ‘in the evening', say ‘at night', as long as people understand what do you mean.

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ingolf | 30.10.2012 | #

Hi Stasya,

Thanks for your wonderful grammar blog. It is very helpful to me and I use it quite regularly.

Regarding "telling the hour", I have a comment:

I somewhere learned, that there is another popular way of telling time and I want to ask you, whether I am correctly informed and if so, whether you can add this way in your blog?

So instead of

09:05 — п'ять [хвилин] на десяту (five minutes on tenth);

it seems to be possible to say

09:05 — п'ять [хвилин] по десятій (five minutes on tenth);

In what region of the country is this form (по десятій) used?

Please allow me a little other remark.

Instead of

09:05 — п'ять [хвилин] на десяту (five minutes on tenth);

I would rather expect the english equivalent to

09:05 — п'ять [хвилин] на десяту (five minutes of tenth);

Can you share that?

Anyway … I love your website and look forward seeing you on livemocha. :)

Ingolf

stasya | 05.11.2012 | #

Hi Ingolf,

Thanks for visiting my site and commenting on the topic. Your questions are as always very interesting. :)

Let's see:

  • I somewhere learned, that there is another popular way of telling time and I want to ask you, whether I am correctly informed and if so, whether you can add this way in your blog?

    So instead of

    09:05 — п'ять [хвилин] на десяту (five minutes on tenth);

    it seems to be possible to say

    09:05 — п'ять [хвилин] по десятій (five minutes on tenth);

    Preposition по is used when talking about hours in general, meaning after.

    For example:

    Уже було по шостій, коли вони прийшли. — It was already after six when they came.

    This is the proper usage of по when telling time.

    But in colloquial speech people often use по instead of на, though it is not correct.

  • In what region of the country is this form (по десятій) used?

    I hear it quite often here in the Western part, cannot tell for sure about the rest of Ukraine but I believe it is used there too, along with the other variants.

  • Please allow me a little other remark.

    Instead of

    09:05 — п'ять [хвилин] на десяту (five minutes on tenth);

    I would rather expect the english equivalent to

    09:05 — п'ять [хвилин] на десяту (five minutes of tenth);

    Can you share that?

    I have written on tenth because it is literal translation, maybe I should change that. I will consider that. :)

I hope this will help and thank you so much for your appreciation!

Stasya

ingolf | 24.11.2012 | #

Thank you very much.

You satisfied all my curiousity. ;)

ingolf | 24.11.2012 | #

One thing more, just to make it complete …

If "по" means "after", then my example "п'ять [хвилин] по десятій"

would be 10:05 instead of 9:05.

Вірно?

stasya | 24.11.2012 | #

Yes, you are right. :)

P.S. One more thing. Don't use вірно when you mean correct. Ukrainian adjective вірний has only meanings, such as: devoted/faithful/dedicated/loyal. These are all about devotion and loyalty. If you want to say a phrase: ‘Is this correct?' — you have to say: “Це правильно?”

This mistake is a bit common nowadays and is very nasty, because it came along with a so called Russification and other Russian words and phrases which are not native to Ukrainian language and folklore.

Now I hope you won't get ‘infected' by this bad habit. :)

Best regards