• Estonian course for beginners
  • 1 Estonian alphabet
  • 2 Estonian pronunciation
  • 3 Estonian keyboard and how to type letters
  • 4 How to say hello in Estonian [0/2]
  • 5 Introducing yourself in Estonian [0/2]
  • 6 Telling the time in Estonian [0/2]
  • 7 Numbers and counting in Estonian [0/3]
  • 8 Days of the week, months and seasons in Estonian [0/3]
  • 9 Describing people and characters in Estonian [0/2]
  • 10 Describing the family in Estonian [0/3]
  • 11 Colours in Estonian [0/3]
  • 12 Body parts in Estonian [0/3]
  • 13 Clothes in Estonian [0/3]
  • 14 Animal names in Estonian [0/3]
  • 15 Order food in Estonian [0/3]
  • 16 Birthday wishes and congratulations in Estonian [0/2]
  • 17 Asking for directions in Estonian [0/3]
  • 18 Grocery shopping in Estonian [0/3]
  • 19 Expressing feelings in Estonian [0/2]
  • 20 How to say I love you in Estonian [0/2]
  • 21 Talking about hobbies in Estonian [0/2]
  • 22 Talk about the weather in Estonian [0/2]
  • 23 Describing your home in Estonian [0/2]
  • 24 Travel and transportation in Estonian [0/2]
  • 25 Business words in Estonian [0/2]
  • Telling the time in Estonian

    In this course we learn how to ask for the time and how to read a clock in Estonian. The 24-hour system is widely used so there is no AM or PM, although sometimes in less formal situations the 12-hour clock might be used as well. You can also have a look at our course on numbers to help you with telling the time!

    How do I ask for the time in Estonian?

    Estonians use mainly two expressions for asking for the time. In both cases we actually don't ask about the time like in English (What's the time?), instead we ask about the clock.

    English Estonian
    What's the time? Mis kell on? (Which literally translates to 'What the clock is?')
      Palju kell on? (Literally: 'How much the clock is?')
    Time Aeg
    Clock Kell
    An hour Tund
    A minute Minut
    A second Sekund


    Telling the time 

    Although there were two different questions for asking the time, the answer for telling the time always begins the same way.

    Full hours

    Time Estonian 
    4:00 Kell on neli (Literally: the clock is four)
    1:00 PM Kell on kolmteist (It's thirteen o'clock)
    2:00 AM Kell on kaks (It's two o'clock)
    Exactly 7:00 Kell on täpselt seitse (It's exactly seven o'clock)


    Half an hour

    Half an hour is always subtracted from the next hour (So 6:30 in Estonian would be 'Half seven' instead of 'Half past six')

    Half Pool
    1:30 Kell on pool kaks (Literally: 'The clock is half two')
    5:30 Kell on pool kuus 
    9:30 Kell on pool kümme


    The quarter hours

    'A quarter' and 'A quarter to' are also subtracted from the next hour.

    A quarter Veerand
    A quarter to Kolmveerand (3-times-quarter)
    4:15 Veerand viis (Literally: quarter five)
    4:45 Kolmveerand viis (Literally: 3-times-quarter five)
    6:15 Veerand seitse (Literally: quarter seven)
    9:45 Kolmveerand kümme (Literally: 3-times-quarter ten)
    1:45 Kolmveerand kaks (Literally: 3-times-quarter two)


    The minutes

    There are two ways to say the individual minutes. E.g 3:40 = 40 minutes past 3 or 20 minutes before 4

    1) First the hours and then the minutes

    3:25 Kolm kakskümmend viis (Three twenty five)
    5:13 Viis kolmteist (Five thirteen)
    1:47 Üks nelikümmend seitse (One forty seven)


    2) First the minutes then the hour 

    However, it is a little bit complicated because now the minutes have to be declined in the genitive case.


    Kümne pärast neli (Literally: Ten after four, but since 10 is in the Gen. it actually means that it's 10 minutes to 4)

    2:55 Viie (minuti) pärast kolm (Literally: five after three)
    6:40 Kahekümne (minuti) pärast seitse (Literally: twenty after seven)
    7:57 Kolme (minuti) pärast kaheksa (Literally: three after eight)


    Other time expressions and useful vocabulary

    English Estonian
    Morning Hommik
    Noon Lõuna
    Afternoon Pärastlõuna
    Midday Keskpäev
    Evening Õhtu
    Night Öö
    Yesterday Eile
    The day before yesterday Üleeile
    Today Täna
    Tomorrow Homme
    The day after tomorrow Ülehomme
    Now Praegu
    Soon Varsti


    yes Now continue to the exercises to start practicing telling the time in Estonian! 


    Exercise: Estonian time vocabulary

    Exercise: Reading a clock in Estonian