Login Sign up

Chinese Grammar: Dates and time in Chinese

Let's learn to talk about dates and time in Chinese.

Lupishu hasn't seen the time fly by since he's arrived in Ninchana, but now that he's learning how to tell time and talk about dates, he's intent on keeping track. Let's start with talking about days of the week and months in Chinese.

Numbers, not names

Months and days of the week do not have names in Chinese. They are numbered instead.

January is 一月 ( 1 ) and December is 十二月
Monday is 星期一 and Saturday is 星期六.

The only exception is Sunday, which is called 星期天 or 星期日. Numbers are placed before , , but after 星期.

From big to small

A rule of thumb in Chinese when talking about dates and time is to always go from the most general (big) to the most specific (small). In English, it’s the opposite!


Start with the most general information (the year) and work your way down.


year > month > or day > 星期 day of the week


一月 is January 3rd, 2014.

Dates are also commonly written like this:

2015 1 3 . January 3rd, 2015.

2016 1 3 星期日 is Sunday, January 3, 2016.



Just like with dates, to organize how you talk about time, start with the larger element, here the period of the day. Going from largest to smallest is something you'll often find yourself doing in Mandarin. So, to talk about a given time, start with:

Period of the day > (short for 点钟) hour > (short for 分钟minutes > seconds


下午 三十 is 5:34 p.m.
现在 夜里 一点 。It's 1:15 a.m.

Useful vocabulary

Here's some useful vocabulary to talk about time:
+ 早上: early morning
+ 上午: morning
+ 中午: noon
+ 下午: afternoon
+ 晚上: evening
+ 夜里: night
+ (short for 点钟): hour
+ (short for 分钟): minutes
+ : quarter of an hour
+ : half an hour
+ : here minus; to, as in : Ten to 2.

Oh noes!

An error occured, please reload the page.
Don't hesitate to report a feedback if you have internet!

You are disconnected!

We have not been able to load the page.
Please check your internet connection and retry.