Translation:It is quarter past nine in the morning.
in Italian time is expressed with plurals (sono le nove, sono le otto, sono le undici), just look at the number, it is always in plural, and is always feminine.
- sono le otto - it's eight o'clock.
- sono le dieci - it's ten o'clock.
the only exception is one, which is expressed in singular:
- è l'una. - it's one o'clock
questions to use are as follows:
- che ora è?
- che ore sono?
you see, that singular "ora" gets singular "è" while plural "ore" gets plural "sono". very logical if you ask me.
to express midnight/noon we use singular as well:
- è mezzogiorno - it's noon
- è mezzanotte - it's midnight
This sentence, in English anyway, sounds awkward to me. Shouldn't there be an "a" so that it reads "it is (a) quarter past nine"? Even more awkward was my literal translation, which was accepted, "It's nine and a quarter in the morning" I'm used to hearing, "a quarter past" or "a quarter before." So my question is, where is it normal to hear this English?
I favor that 'a' quarter past is actually correct. When using fractional parts of something it is appropriate when there is only one part to precede the fraction with the indefinite article 'a'. I would not say 'You are fifth of the way there' but rather ' you are a fifth of the way there'. Similarly, I would not say 'She cuts sixth of the bread' but rather 'She cuts a sixth of the bread'. I don't doubt that in many places in the world it might be spoken differently, but I usually hear 'a quarter past nine in the morning' with the 'a'. (U.S.)