You might not fully realize the importance of being able to tell the time in Turkish until you find yourself at a loss. At a loss because you’re trying to discuss what you like to do in your free time and your new Turkish-speaking acquaintance asks what time you’re free tomorrow, perhaps because you said you like gallery hopping and they know of the perfect exhibit to take you to. Or maybe you’re at a loss because you’re trying to navigate the transit system in Istanbul and you’re not sure how to ask what time your train leaves.
There’s no end to the number of possible scenarios in which you’ll be grateful you learned to talk about time in Turkish. To do so, you’ll need to memorize some rules and a bit of vocabulary, but it’s not that hard once you get your practice in.
Just follow the guide below, and you can even click on some of the phrases highlighted in gray to hear how they’re pronounced by a native speaker.
Telling Time In Turkish
To have the right answers, you must first have the right questions. To ask for the time in Turkish, you say:
What time is it? — Saat kaç?
Essentially, you ask for the time using the words saat (time) and the question word kaç (how much). Saat kaç literally translates to “Time how much.” It’s also worth noting that the word saat not only means “time” or “o’clock,” but also “hour.”
Anyway, to answer the question, you either simply state the time or use the word saat followed by the time.
- It’s seven o’clock (lit. “Time seven”). — Saat yedi.
- It’s nine. — Saat dokuz.
- Five/It is five o’clock. — Beş/Saat beş.
Notice in the last example that you can either simply say “five” or “it is five o’clock” — not unlike how you might express the same in a casual or more formal way in English.
You might also wish to ask at what time something is:
At what time (lit. “Time what-at”)? — Saat kaçta?
To specify a time using the word “at,” you use the “locative” ending. In the question form of “At what time?”, the ending is added to kaç, and in the answer form, the ending is added to the time.
At three o’clock (lit. “Time three-at”). — Saat üçte.
To say that it is half past the hour, you would use the word buçuk (half). Note that buçuk is used when it’s half past the hour, not half to.
- It’s half past eleven (lit. “Time eleven half”). — Saat on bir buçuk.
- It’s half past two. — Saat iki buçuk.
- It’s half past five. — Saat beş buçuk.
Need to express the time in digital form?
- 2:30 — iki buçuk
- 8:30 — sekiz buçuk
- 3:30 — üç buçuk
Once you start getting into more specific times, you’ll simply have to lean on your knowledge of Turkish numbers. The grammatical structure is pretty similar to the one you would use in English, in the sense that “9:50” would be verbally expressed as “nine fifty,” and “4:55” as “four fifty-five.” But make sure to note the use of military time, or the 24-hour clock.
- 22:18 — Saat yirmi iki on sekiz.
- 9:50 — Saat dokuz elli.
- 4:55 — Saat dört elli beş.
More Phrases And Expressions You’ll Want To Know
Here are more contextual examples of how you can tell the time in Turkish.
- morning — sabah
- noon — öğle
- evening — akşam
- night — gece
- At what time is the concert? — Konser saat kaçta?
- The film starts at twelve. — Film saat on ikide başlıyor.
- Be home at eight thirty. — Saat sekiz buçukta evde ol.
- Until what time are the stores open? — Mağazalar kaça kadar açık?