How To Tell The Time In Norwegian

What is the clock (‘hva er klokka’)? Let’s find out.
clock tower telling time in norwegian

There are few, if any, Norwegian language learning journeys that won’t require you to learn to tell the time in Norwegian. Making plans with friends? Gotta know what time to meet. Booking a hotel reservation? It’ll help if you understand what time to check in. Negotiating with an employer, making your foodie restaurant dreams come true, or simply talking about your day-to-day existence? All perfectly sound reasons to know your way around the clock, linguistically speaking.

There are a few rules and some vocabulary you’ll need to learn before you can effortlessly talk about time in Norwegian, but we’ve got you covered. 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 Norwegian

The first phrase you’ll invariably encounter is a simple question with a multitude of potential answers.

What time is it? (lit. “What is the clock?”) — Hva er klokka?

The most basic way you can answer this is to refer to the hour (as in, “it’s three o’clock”).

Before you proceed any further, it’ll help if you get a good grasp on your numbers. You’ll definitely need to know one to 12 like the back of your hand, but if you want to get into the minute details — you know, as in the specific minutes — you’ll want to be able to at least count up to 59.

Here are examples of how you would state the hour:

  • It is eight o’clock. (lit. “The clock is eight.”) — Klokka er åtte.
  • It is two o’clock. (lit. “The clock is two.”) — Klokka er to.
  • It is nine o’clock. — Klokka er ni.
  • It is one o’clock. — Klokka er ett.

Note that last example, because the number “one” in Norwegian has different forms depending on gender. In the context of time, it’s ett.
Once you go into greater detail than that, it becomes necessary to retrain your brain a little. For instance, 2:30 wouldn’t be thought of as “two and thirty,” but as “halfway to three.”

  • 5:30 — halv seks (lit. “half six”)
  • 12:30 — halv ett

To say that a time is “quarter to,” you would use kvart på. For quarter past, you would use kvart over.

You can also use a similar format with the prepositions  and over to express more specific times, and you can say that it’s “thirteen past the half-hour” instead of just “thirteen past the hour.” It’s mostly just a matter of which quarter you’re closest to. If you’re anywhere between 2:15 and 2:45, then you would use 2:30 as your reference point, not 2:00 or 3:00. Make sense?

  • 2:10 — ti over to (ten after two)
  • 2:20 — ti på halv tre (ten to half-three)
  • 2:38 — åtte over halv tre (eight after half-three)
  • 2:49 — elleve på tre (eleven to three)

Here’s how some of these might look in a sentence. Note that you can either use Den er or Klokka er to begin the phrase. The difference is similar to how you can either say “it’s 2” or “it’s 2 o’clock” in English.

  • It is one minute past two. — Den er ett minutt over to.
  • It is twenty past seven (lit. ten to half eight). — Den er ti på halv åtte.
  • It is a quarter past three. — Den er kvart over tre.
  • It is twenty past eight (lit. ten to half nine). — Den er ti på halv ni.
  • It is four thirty (lit. half five). — Den er halv fem.
  • It is five past six. — Klokka er fem over seks.
  • It is quarter to eight. — Klokka er kvart på åtte.

In terms of written conventions, time in Norwegian is written using the 24-hour clock, and it’s written with a period instead of a colon. So “1:30” would be written 1.30 in the morning and 13.30 in the afternoon.

More Phrases And Expressions You’ll Want To Know

Here are more contextual examples of how you can tell the time in Norwegian.

  • Shall we meet at nine or ten o’clock? — Skal vi møtes klokka ni eller klokka ti?
  • I always have a coffee break at eleven and three o’clock. — Jeg har alltid kaffepause klokka elleve og klokka tre.
  • I eat breakfast at seven o’clock. — Jeg spiser frokost klokka sju.
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