TIME

Time


LEARN TO TALK ABOUT TIME AND ASK THE TIME IN ENGLISH (REQUIRES REAL PLAYER).
ON THE HOUR
PAST / TO THE HOUR
PREPOSITIONS
WHAT TO SAY
WORK TIME
WRITING THE TIME
TIME IDIOMS

TIME (1)

When it’s “on the hour” we say “o’clock”. But only when it’s on the hour.

12 o'clockTwelve o’clock12 o'clockSix o’clock
12 o'clockOne o’clock12 o'clockSeven o’clock
12 o'clockTwo o’clock12 o'clockEight o’clock
12 o'clockThree o’clock12 o'clockNine o’clock
12 o'clockFour o’clock12 o'clockTen o’clock
12 o'clockFive o’clock12 o'clockEleven o’clock
Because it can be difficult to say whether 12 o’clock is during the day or the night, we use two special terms.
12 o'clock00:00 and 24:00 = Twelve midnight (or midnight)12 o'clock12:00 = Twelve noon (or noon)

TIME (2)

In five minute increments, when it’s past the hour (up to 30 minutes past) we say “past”.

When it’s before the hour (after 30 minutes past) we say “to”.

There are 60 minutes in an hour.

30 minutes is half an hour, we say “half past” or “thirty”.

15 minutes is quarter of an hour, we say “quarter past” or “fifteen” or “quarter to” or “forty-five”.

Clock past to
12 o'clockTwelve o’clock12 o'clockTwelve fifteen

or

Quarter past twelve

12 o'clockTwelve thirty

or

Half past twelve

We never say “half to”.

12 o'clockTwelve forty-five

or

Quarter to one

At other “odd” times, when we want to be accurate, we add the word “minute(s)”:-
Telling the timeIt’s twenty-eight minutes to twelve.Telling the timeIt’s one minute past three.
If you want to avoid trying to remember when to use “minutes” and when not to just say “nearly” or “just turned”.
Telling the timeIt’s just turned half past eleven.Telling the timeIt’s nearly three o’clock.

PREPOSITIONS USED WITH TIME

At a point in timeIn a length of time
“When shall we meet?12 o'clock“Let’s meet at12.30.”“It’s 12.45, when will you be ready?12 o'clock“I’ll see you in an hour, atabout 1.45.”

NATURALLY SPEAKING

DIGITAL CLOCKS OFTEN SHOW THE TIME THIS WAY USING THE 24-HOUR-CLOCK, ONLY THE POLICE AND THE MILITARY ACTUALLY SPEAK USING THE 24 HOUR CLOCK:-
If it’s before noon we tend to say “in the morning”.If it’s after noon we say “in the afternoon”.If it’s late we say “at night”.
07:00

It’s seven o’clock in the morning.

14:00

It’s two o’clock in the afternoon.

22:00

It’s ten o’clock at night

15 minutes past the hour is quarter past:
07:15

It’s quarter past seven in the morning.

14:15

It’s quarter past two in the afternoon.

22:15

It’s quarter past ten at night.

30 minutes past the hour is half past:
07:30

It’s half past seven in the morning.

14:30

It’s half past two in the afternoon.

22:30

It’s half past ten at night.

45 minutes past the hour is quarter to:
07:45

It’s quarter to eight in the morning.

14:45

It’s quarter to three in the afternoon.

22:45

It’s quarter to eleven at night.

 

HOW TO ASK THE TIME IN ENGLISH.
12 o'clock
  • Excuse me. What time is it, please?
  • It’s exactly eight o’clock.

or

  • It’s eight.

12 o'clock
  • Excuse me. Do you have the time, please?
  • It’s half past twelve.

or

  • It’s twelve thirty.

12 o'clock
  • Excuse me. Could you tell me the time, please?
  • It’s about half past eleven.

or

  • It’s around eleven thirty.

 

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