Actually, if you are familiar with Chinese numbers, the expression of time in Chinese is very simple and easy to remember.
diǎn 点 o'clock
bàn 半 half
kè 刻 quarter(of an hour)
fēn 分 minute
miǎo 秒 second
Here are some examples:
8: 05 bādiǎn línɡ wǔ fēn 八点零五分 （Five to Eight）
10:30 shí diǎn bàn 十点半 (half past ten / ten thirty)
12: 15 shí èr diǎn shí wǔ fēn 十二点十五分
12: 15 shí èr diǎn yí kè 十二点一刻 A quarter past twelve
2: 45 liǎnɡ diǎn sì shí wǔ 两点四十五 two forty-five
2: 45 liǎnɡ diǎn sān kè 两点三刻 a quarter to three
7:57 qī diǎn wǔ shí qī fēn 七点五十七分 Seven fifty-seven
7:57 bā diǎn chà sān fēn 八点差三分 Three to eight
7:57 chà sān fēn bā diǎn 差三分八点 Three to eight
Taking notice of the last sentence,"差(chā)" here means "minus", it is usually put before numbers to form a new expression. In our daily life, 秒(miǎo) is seldom used, so if you are a Chinese beginner, you don't need to memorize it.
shànɡwǔ 上午 morning
zhōnɡwǔ 中午 midday, noon
xiàwǔ 下午 afternoon
wǎnshànɡ 晚上 evening
qiántiān 前天 the day before yesterday
zuótiān 昨天 yesterday
jīntiān 今天 today
mínɡtiān 明天 tomorrow
hòutiān 后天 the day after tomorrow
xīnɡqī 星期 week
nián 年 year
yuè 月 month
rì 日/hào号 date
In Chinese,"shànɡxià上下" and "qián hòu前后" are two pairs of opposite words.上(shànɡ)means "up, on", 下(xià)"means "below, down", 前(qián)means "fore,"后(hòu)" means "after". 午(wǔ)means "noon", so before noon is certainly "morning" which is "上(shànɡ)午(wǔ)", after noon is definitely "afternoon" which is "下(xià)午(wǔ)". Then you must doubt why Chinese people always saying "上个星期/上个月" and "下个星期/下个月"？Assuming we are standing before a calendar, we can find that one former week/month is always on the top of this week/month. At the same time, one next week/month is always below this week/month. Isn't this both interesting and meaningful?
After learning all the basic time words, it's time for us to form endless sentences now. For example:
jīntiān shì 2016 nián sānyuè sān shí hào, xīnɡqī sān
Today is 30th March, year of 2016, Wednesday.
shànɡ wǔ qī diǎn èr shí èr fēn
(Same as the pattern of address, time in Chinese also starts from big to small.)
wǒ zhè ɡe yuè ɡōnɡzuò, xiàɡèyuè qù fǎɡuó,xià ɡè yuè huílái.
I will work this month, then visit France and come back next month
You can use the following phrases as a guide when talking about time in Chinese.