Lesson 3: How to say numbers and time in Vietnamese

1. Numbers (0 – 99)

0: Không; 1: Một; 2: Hai; 3: Ba; 4: Bốn; 5: Năm; 6: Sáu; 7: Bảy; 8: Tám; 9: Chín; 10: Mười

a/ To pronounce 20, 30, 40…90: just combine first numbers with “Mươi”
=> 20: Hai mươi; 30: Ba mươi; 40: Bốn mươi…90: Chín mươi

b/ To pronounce from 11 – 19: just combine “mười” with last numbers
=> 11: Mười một; 12: Mười hai; 13: Mười ba; 14: Mười bốn; 15: Mười lăm; 16: Mười sáu…; 19: Mười chín

c/ To pronounce from 21 – 29; 31 – 39;…91 – 99: add first number + Mươi + last number
=> 21: Hai mươi mốt; 24: Hai mươi bốn/tư; 28: Hai mươi tám; 36: Ba mươi sáu…


1/ Sometimes “mươi” can be omitted in the daily conversation for short. For example: the right way to pronounce “21″ is “hai mươi mốt”, but “hai mốt” is acceptable as well.

2/ The numbers such as 15, 21, 25, 31, 35, 41…, 95 will be pronounced: mười lăm (not “mười năm”, hai mốt (not “hai một”), hai lăm (not “hai năm”), ba mốt (not “ba một”), ba lăm (not “ba năm”)…

2. How to ask and tell about time in Vietnamese
a. How to ask about time

There are two common sentences Vietnamese uses to ask time:

– Bây giờ là mấy giờ/What is the time now?

– Mấy giờ rồi/What time is it?

To show politeness or respect, “cho hỏi”, “vui lòng cho hỏi”, “làm ơn cho hỏi”, which is equivalent to “could you please tell me”, are added at the beginning of the question.

For example:

Làm ơn cho hỏi bây giờ là mấy giờ rồi/could you please tell me what the time is?

b. How to tell about time

– “Giờ/o’clock” is used to tell about the full time in Vietnamese

For example:
A: Bây giờ là mấy giờ rồi/What is the time now?
B: Bây giờ là 4 giờ /it is 4 o’clock

– “Kém” is used to say times before the hour from 31 minutes until the full hour in the order as follow:

Structure: Bây giờ là/It’s + giờ/hour + kém/to + phút/minute

For example: Hai giờ kém mười phút/Ten minutes to two

– “Giờ/full hour” is put before “phút/minute” to say times after the hour until half past, or 30 minutes past the hour.

Structure: giờ/full hour + phút/minute

For example:

2 giờ 10 phút/10 minutes past two

Note: “Phút” can be omitted in the sentence for shortness.
2 giờ 10/10 minutes past two

– To provide detailed information about the time “sáng” for morning, “trưa” for afternoon, “chiều” for evening, “tối” for night are added after the hour.

For example: 7 giờ sáng/7 am
2 giờ chiều /2 pm

1. Provide the pronunciation of numbers as below:
14, 25, 31, 36, 55, 78, 91

For example:
14: Mười bốn

2. Ask and tell about time:
9:00 AM
12:30 PM

For example:
9:00 AM

Hỏi: Bây giờ là mấy giờ (What is the time now?)
Đáp: Chín giờ sáng (It is nine o’clock in the morning).

Keys to Exercises:
25: Hai mươi lăm
31: Ba mươi mốt
36: Ba mươi sáu
55: Năm mươi lăm
78: Bảy mươi tám
91: Chín mươi mốt

– 11:47
Question: Bây giờ là mấy giờ (What time is it?)
Answer: Mười hai giờ kém mười ba phút (It’s thirteen to twelve).

– 12:30 PM
Question: Bây giờ là mấy giờ (What time is it?)
Answer: Mười hai giờ rưỡi trưa (It’s half past twelve o’clock in the afternoon).

– 3:18
Question: Bây giờ là mấy giờ (What time is it?)
Answer: Ba giờ mười tám phút (It’s eighteen past three o’clock).

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