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Getting started with Italian 2
Getting started with Italian 2

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5 Saying what the time is (‘past’ and ‘to’)

For minutes past the hour, use e.

  • Sono le cinque e dieci. It’s ten past five.
  • È l’una e venticinque. It’s twenty-five past one.

For minutes to the hour use meno.

  • Sono le sei meno venti. It’s twenty to six.
  • È l’una meno cinque. It’s five to one.

For ‘half past’, use mezzo or mezza (there is no difference in meaning).

  • È mezzanotte e mezza. It’s half-past midnight.
  • Sono le undici e mezzo. It’s half-past eleven.

For ‘quarter past’ or ‘quarter to’, use un quarto with e or meno.

  • Sono le cinque e un quarto. It’s (a) quarter past five.
  • È l’una meno un quarto. It’s (a) quarter to one.

For ‘quarter to’ you can also use e tre quarti (‘three-quarters past’).

  • Sono le dodici e tre quarti. It’s (a) quarter to one. / It’s twelve forty-five.