Date and time notation in Spain
In Spain, date notation follows the date, month, year date order. Time notation depends on the formality and varies in writing and speaking. Official time is given using the 24-hour clock, and the 12-hour clock is often used when speaking informally.
"Seis de diciembre de mil novecientos setenta y ocho" (formal, legal)
"Seis de diciembre del setenta y ocho"(informal, two-digit year abbreviation)
6 December 1978, date of the 1978 Spanish constitutional referendum
In Spain, the date order is invariably day, month, year. In abbreviated notation, Roman numerals are sometimes used for the month of the year and the years are either given with a length of one digit or two. Three symbols are in use for the separator: the stroke, the hyphen and sometimes the dot. The hyphen tends to be clearly long when handwritten.
Two-digit years are used for short mainly informally where no confusion arises, as in handwriting letters, notes and diaries. Official documents always use full four-digit years.
The suffixes for BCE and CE are "AC" (antes de Cristo, "before Christ") and "DC" (después de Cristo, "after Christ"), respectively. Sometimes "AD" for "Anno Domini" in Latin is used instead of "DC", but it is rare. "DC" is omitted commonly for years past 200 CE.
Names of months and weekdays are written in lower case, thus being common nouns rather than proper nouns, except at start of a sentence, where they are capitalized following the Spanish rules. Exceptions are some highlighted Catholic dates, as Miércoles de Ceniza ("Ash Wednesday") or Domingo de Resurrección ("Resurrection Sunday"), which are always capitalized.
The week runs from Monday to Sunday. In Spanish, there exists a convention for single-letter day names: L means lunes (Monday), M means martes (Tuesday), X means miércoles (Wednesday), J means jueves (Thursday), V means viernes (Friday), S means sábado (Saturday) and D means domingo (Sunday). Basically, the initial letter of the weekday name, except for Wednesday which is an "X" to avoid confusion with Tuesday. Some public vehicles, as taxicabs, wear a letter meaning the driver's weekly day-off.
|Common names for hours in Spanish|
|Time||Hour name||Common suffix|
|00:00||Las doce||de la noche|
|01:00||La una||de la madrugada|
|06:00||Las seis||de la mañana|
|12:00||Las doce||del mediodía|
|13:00||La una||de la tarde|
|21:00||Las nueve||de la noche|
Official time is always given in 24-hour format. Traditional hour-minute separator is the dot (18.20), which still is in use in some environments as press, but today the colon is the preferred symbol (18:20). Leading zeroes for the hour part are optional (more common in automated output), but are mandatory for the minutes and the seconds parts, if the last appears (08:09:07). In speech, a time given in 24-hour format always is followed by the word horas: el concierto comenzará a las 15:30 "quince y treinta" horas ("the concert will start at 15:30").
Fractional seconds are given in decimal after a separator (dot, comma or apostrophe). For elapsed time, the notation with "h" for the hour counter, an apostrophe (') for the minutes and a double apostrophe (") for the seconds is also used, without trailing zeroes: 8h 7' 46" means "eight hours and seven minutes and forty-six seconds have elapsed". Sometimes an "m" and an "s" are used for the minutes and the seconds instead of the apostrophes: 8h 7m 46s.
|Common names for minutes in Spanish|
|Time||Hour name||Common minutes name|
|00:00||Las doce||en punto|
|00:35||La una||menos veinticinco|
In common spoken language, times are given in 12-hour clock. After midnight, hours are labeled de la madrugada ("at early"), which is used exclusively before sunrise, and de la mañana ("at morning"), which is used both before and after sunrise. A post meridiem hour is labeled de la tarde ("at afternoon") before sunset and de la noche ("at night") after sunset. The system for minutes is similar of that in English language, with the number of the hour said before the minutes; added (using y, meaning "and") to the hour if half or less, or substracted (using menos, meaning "minus") from the next hour if more than thirty minutes have passed from an exact hour, also using en punto (o'clock) at an exact hour, the quarter (cuarto) at fifteen and forty-five minutes, and the half (media) at thirty minutes.
There are no traditional ante meridiem and post meridiem suffixes in Spanish; "AM" and "PM" are used when writing 12-hour format time, with any variation: "A.M./P.M.", "am/pm", "a.m./p.m.", "a/p ", etc. Ante meridiem suffix is often omitted.
- Diccionario panhispánico de dudas. Author - Real Academia Española.; Asociación de Academias de la Lengua Española. Publisher - Real Academia Española 2005.