What is the difference between these:

"Сколько врЕмени?" and "который час?"

Both mean what time is it, yes? Which one is informal and which one formal? and in which situation can be used?

  • сколько время/ени also means how long/much time (is it until smth)? like сколько времени осталось до конца? Mar 7, 2019 at 16:13
  • @Баян-Купи-ка спасибо вам большое
    – WorldLover
    Mar 7, 2019 at 20:38

3 Answers 3


«Кото́рый час?» is the classical form, dating back to Pushkin and possibly earlier. Nowadays it sounds a bit outdated.

«Ско́лько вре́мени?» is a 20th century invention, now preferred by many.

Both mean “What time is it?” Related questions:

  • В кото́ром часу́ вы придёте? = Во ско́лько вы придёте? - What time are you coming?
  • До кото́рого ча́са вы рабо́таете? = До скольки́ вы рабо́таете? - What time do you finish work?

«До скольки́» is considered illiterate by purists who believe that it should have been «до ско́льких».


Который час? has been more formal variant recently, moreover this question doesn't imply exact answer.

Сколько времени? or Сколько время? sound rather colloquially, but I feel like it is used more widely nowadays.

Also to ask the time one can just knock their index finger on the wrist like indexing the attention on the absence of watch. Not sure whether this gesture is spread worldwide.

Традиционная форма вопроса-обращения о времени который час? На этот вопрос вы можете дать ответ: пятый час, шестой, пошел уже восьмой час. Но и ответ с указанием часов и минут тоже будет правильным.

Вопрос сколько времени? по сравнению с вопросом который час? новый. Но он давно стал нормативным. Он зафиксирован, например, уже в «Толковом словаре русского языка» под редакцией Дмитрия Николаевича Ушакова (М., 1935–1940). Интересно, что в этом издании вопрос сколько времени? дан как нейтральный, а вопрос который час? снабжен пометой «разговорное». http://new.gramota.ru/spravka/trudnosti?layout=item&id=36_68

  • by saying that the question doesn't imply exact answer do you mean we can't answer 2 часа дня / 19:00 / без трёх минут 11 etc to the question который час? Mar 7, 2019 at 16:16
  • Answering like "пятый час"/"fifth hour" was a running joke among my classmates back in our school days. It was universally understood that "Который час?" should be answered with as much reasonable precision as "Сколько времени?"
    – Alexander
    Mar 7, 2019 at 21:55

Сколько времени? is, I'd say, neither formal nor particularly informal. You probably wouldn't ask someone you know well который час?, unless you're going for that brand of modestly refined speech that is often, and in numerous cultures, associated with the middle class.

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