Time Flies: Telling Time in Mandarin

how to talk about time in Chinese


Welcome back to our Mandarin learning series! Today, we’re diving into the fascinating world of time. Learning how to tell time in Mandarin is essential for daily conversations and planning. Get ready for some time-related jokes and practical phrases that will make you a master of Mandarin time-telling!

Key Vocabulary

Before we jump into the funny stuff, let’s learn some essential time-related vocabulary:

  • 时间 (Shíjiān) – Time
  • 分钟 (Fēnzhōng) – Minute
  • 小时 (Xiǎoshí) – Hour
  • 现在 (Xiànzài) – Now
  • 几点 (Jǐ diǎn) – What time
  • 早上 (Zǎoshang) – Morning
  • 下午 (Xiàwǔ) – Afternoon
  • 晚上 (Wǎnshang) – Evening
  • 钟 (Zhōng) – O’clock

How to Ask for the Time

Here are some common phrases to ask for the time in Mandarin:

  • 现在几点?(Xiànzài jǐ diǎn?) – What time is it now?
  • 你有时间吗?(Nǐ yǒu shíjiān ma?) – Do you have the time?
  • 请问,几点了?(Qǐngwèn, jǐ diǎn le?) – Excuse me, what time is it?

How to Tell the Time

Here are some phrases to tell the time in Mandarin:

  • 现在是三点。 (Xiànzài shì sān diǎn.) – It’s 3 o’clock.
  • 现在是五点半。 (Xiànzài shì wǔ diǎn bàn.) – It’s 5:30.
  • 现在是上午十点一刻。 (Xiànzài shì shàngwǔ shí diǎn yí kè.) – It’s 10:15 AM.

Time-Related Jokes

Let’s add some humor to our learning with these time-related jokes:

Joke 1: The Early Bird

  • Question: 为什么闹钟很爱笑?(Wèishéme nàozhōng hěn ài xiào?)
  • Translation: Why does the alarm clock love to laugh?
  • Answer: 因为它总是“笑”起来!(Yīnwèi tā zǒng shì “xiào” qǐlái!)
  • Translation: Because it always “rings” up!

Joke 2: The Timeless Classic

  • Question: 你知道时间是怎么旅行的吗?(Nǐ zhīdào shíjiān shì zěnme lǚxíng de ma?)
  • Translation: Do you know how time travels?
  • Answer: 一秒一秒地走!(Yì miǎo yì miǎo de zǒu!)
  • Translation: Second by second!

Practice Scenarios

Here are some fun scenarios to practice telling the time:

Scenario 1: Morning Routine

  • Friend: 现在几点了?(Xiànzài jǐ diǎn le?)
  • Translation: What time is it now?
  • You: 现在是早上七点。 (Xiànzài shì zǎoshang qī diǎn.)
  • Translation: It’s 7 AM.

Scenario 2: Afternoon Plans

  • Friend: 我们下午几点见面?(Wǒmen xiàwǔ jǐ diǎn jiànmiàn?)
  • Translation: What time are we meeting in the afternoon?
  • You: 下午三点见。 (Xiàwǔ sān diǎn jiàn.)
  • Translation: See you at 3 PM.

Scenario 3: Evening Appointment

  • Friend: 你晚上几点回家?(Nǐ wǎnshang jǐ diǎn huí jiā?)
  • Translation: What time do you come home in the evening?
  • You: 我晚上八点回家。 (Wǒ wǎnshang bā diǎn huí jiā.)
  • Translation: I come home at 8 PM.


Telling time in Mandarin is a crucial skill that will help you in many aspects of daily life. With these phrases, jokes, and practice scenarios, you’ll be well on your way to mastering this topic. Stay tuned for our next post, where we’ll explore how to describe your house in Mandarin. Until then, keep practicing and have fun learning!

This post is designed to make learning Mandarin both educational and entertaining, helping readers remember the vocabulary and phrases while enjoying a good laugh.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *