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For example, how do you say:

It's quarter to 3.


It's quarter past 3.
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Are you trying to say 2:45 and 3:15, or specifically the word "quarter"? – istrasci May 14 '12 at 14:37
I am trying to say 2:45 and 3:15. – BJ Peter DeLaCruz May 14 '12 at 15:10
up vote 8 down vote accepted

A quarter to three is 2時45分 (にじよんじゅうごふん), and a quarter past three is 3時15分 (さんじじゅうごふん).

If we want to emphasize the difference from three o’clock, we can say “3時の15分前” and “3時の15分後,” but this is not the usual way to state the time.

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I often say/hear ~時~~分前 (without の), but maybe it's because I'm in Kansai… – user1016 May 14 '12 at 12:39
In 九州 it would be 3時前15分. – Jesse Good May 14 '12 at 23:59
@Chocolate So... 3時15分前 is not 標準語?? I would need evidence to believe that. – dainichi May 15 '12 at 7:35
The normal way to say it is given in my answer. 3時の15分前” and “3時の15分後 are very unnatural. – user458 May 15 '12 at 11:40
@sawa: Hmm, could you clarify your answer a bit here? You've elided the hour, which makes it a bit tricky to see the connection to this comment-thread. – jkerian May 17 '12 at 20:34

In Japanese, there is probably no simple expression for a quarter hour. You have to say 3時15分前 or 3時15分.

For a quarter century or quarter period, there are expressions 四半世紀, 四半期.

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Can you please provide the furigana for the two expressions? – BJ Peter DeLaCruz May 14 '12 at 8:48
Made a mistake as I'm opening two language site at the same time (both in beta), sorry. – fefe May 14 '12 at 9:12

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