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2 Encounters
3 Numbers
4 Conversations
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3 SERBIA TODAY: Telling time

Serbia Today: Telling time

To ask about the time, we say: „Koliko je sati?“


Or more informally: „Kol’ko ima sati?“
meaning literally: ‘How many hours are there?’
Or even more informally: “Kol’ko sati?”

To answer that question, we simply say the numbers:

8:15 / 20:15

  osam i petnaest

3:07 / 15:07

  tri i sedam

5:20 / 17:20

  pet i dvadeset

 

Attention!  We don’t use AM or PM marks. For AM we write the hours from 1 to 12, for PM we write numbers from 13 to 24.

In speech, we can say “ujutru” for am, or “po podne” for 1 to 6pm , or “uveče” for 7 to 10pm, or “noću” for 11pm to 3am.

  • 8:15 – osam i petnaest ujutru
  • 20:15 – osam i petnaest uveče
  • 3:07 – tri i sedam ujutru
  • 15:07 – tri i sedam po podne
  • 13:30 – pola dva po podne
  • 1:30 – pola dva noću / ujutru

 

Attention! We don’t say the big numbers (petnaest, dvadeset), unless in very formal occasions:

  • “Konferencija za novinare je u petak u četrnaest časova.” The press conference is on Friday at 2pm.

In such very formal phrases, we use the word “čas” and “časovi” instead of “sat”.

 

It’s good to know, in case your country doesn’t use the 24/hour marks:

  • 13 = 1
  • 14 = 2
  • 15 = 3
  • 16 = 4
  • 17 = 5
  • 18 = 6
  • 19 = 7
  • 20 = 8
  • 21 = 9
  • 22 = 10
  • 23 = 11
  • 24 = 12

 

If it’s at half an hour, we say half the hour that’s going to be in half an hour. That is, instead of saying ‘half past three’, we’ll say ‘half [until] four’.

8:30 / 20:30

  pola devet

00:30 / 12:30

  pola jedan

6:30 / 18:30

  pola sedam

 

If it’s past half an hour, we say how many minutes until the full hour.

9:45 / 21:45

  petnaest do deset

3:50 / 15:50  

  deset do četiri

7:35 / 19:35

  dvadeset pet do osam

 

To say the exact hour, we can say ‘tačno’ (exactly):

2:00 / 14:00

  Tačno je dva.

5:00 / 17:00 

  Tačno je pet.

 

12:00

  podne (‘half day’, or noon)

24:00

  ponoć (‘half night’, or midnight)

 

The difference between AM and PM:

pre podne = before noon

posle podne = after noon

 

9 pre podne (9 AM)

9 posle podne (9 PM)

  • ujutru = in the morning
  • pre podne = before noon
  • posle podne or po podne = after noon
  • uveče = in the evening
  • noću = at night

 

6 – šest ujutru (6am)

10 – deset pre podne (10am)

12 – dvanaest po podne (12pm)

16 – četiri po podne (4pm)

21 – devet uveče (9pm)

00 – dvanaest noću (12am)

1 – jedan noću (1am)

 

To ask when, we say: „Kada?“ or „U koliko sati?“

And we answer with the preposition „u“, which means in or at, and a number.

Kada? – U 10.

When? – At 10.

 

We often use uveče (in the evening) instead of posle podne (PM), and ujutro (in the morning) instead of pre podne (AM).

 

–        Kada se vidimo?

–        Sutra u 10.

–        Ujutro ili uveče?

–        U 10 uveče.

–        When do we meet?

–        Tomorrow at 10.

–        AM or PM?

–        At 10 PM.