Login Sign up

Chinese Grammar: Dates and time in Chinese

Let's learn to talk about dates and times 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 by talking about days of the week and months in Chinese.

Words to know to talk about dates

Now that you've learned to count, you're nearly ready to talk about dates!

A year in Chinese is
A week is 星期. You can also use to talk about a week or a week day.
A day is . It's also called .

Armed with that, you're ready to talk about dates in Chinese!

Numbers, not names

It's important to know that months and days of the week do not have names in Chinese. They are numbered instead.

Months in Chinese

January is 一月 (1 )
December is 十二月 (12 )。

As you can see, the number of the month is placed before the character for month . To say March, you write 三月 (3 ). The same goes for years and dates.

The year 2000 in Chinese is 2000 .

Weeks in Chinese

In the same way, to form a day of the week in Chinese, all you need is a number and the word "week": 星期 (or ).

Unlike months and years, when talking about days of the week, you put the number of the day of the week after the word "week". So Tuesday will be 星期二 or 周二.

Monday is 星期一
and Saturday is 星期六.

The only exception is Sunday, which doesn't have a number. You can't say 星期 to talk about Sunday, that doesn't exist. Instead, Sunday is called 星期天 or 星期日.

From big to small

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


When Chinese talk about dates, they start with the most general information: the year, and work their way down: month, then day. So dates are written in this format: 2000.06.12.

To write the date in Chinese, you just need to add the Chinese words for the year, month, and day in between dates, always starting with the date, like so: 2000 06 12 . Remember, numbers are placed before , , but after 星期.


year > month > or day of the month > 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.

Numbers or Chinese characters for numbers?

When talking about dates in Chinese, you can use either numbers or Chinese characters for numbers. Both are used.

Telling The Time

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

To say 8:42 am, for instance, you'll start with the largest information (the fact it's the morning) and then indicate the hour and minutes.

So 8:42 am will be: 早上 四十


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 more 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.