could we say... (I belive no, but need to ask anyway)
Este (ora) douazeci dupa patru?
Exactly what I wrote :D hahaha was worthy of trying
I used: "E oră douăzeci și patru". Do minutes always have to precede hours in Romanian time?
On the contrary: hour [fără / și] minutes. Think of oră as o'clock.
Your sentence means "It is four past eight p.m."
Is there a shorter way to say this at all? Perhaps less formal?
You can the leave the words "de minute" off the end. "Este ora patru şi douăzeci is acceptable. July 2nd, 2020.
Why not ”It's four o'clock and twenty minutes”?
That's a literal translation, but just not how we say the time in English. DL wants you to translate the meaning.