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How to Say the Time in English

Time in English

Time in English is rather complicated. But we make it very easier In this lesson. Everyone studies numbers when they start learning a new language. However, talking about time in English involves more than the numbers on the clock.


How to talk the times vocabulary


Here are words that you may hear and use when the exact time is not very important.


1. Morning: The period of time between midnight and noon, especially from sunrise to noon.

  • 12:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m.

2. Noon: Twelve o'clock in the day; midday.

  • 12:00 p.m., at the very beginning of the afternoon.

3. Midday: The middle of the day; noon.

  • 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

4. Afternoon: The time from noon or lunchtime to evening.

  • 12:00 p.m. until 5:00 or 6:00 p.m.

5. Evening: The period of time at the end of the day, usually from about 6 p.m. to bedtime.

  • 5:00 or 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 or 9:00 p.m.

6. Night: The period of darkness in each twenty-four hours; the time from sunset to sunrise.

  • 8:01 p.m. until 5:59 a.m.

7. Midnight: Twelve o'clock at night.

  • 12:00 a.m. until 3:00 a.m.

8. After Dark: Occurring in the hours after nightfall —always used before a noun after-dark activities an after-dark stroll after-dark entertainment; a phrase for when nightlife starts in a city.

  • Usually between 9:00 at night (p.m.) and 1:00 in the morning (a.m.).

9. The Crack of Dawn: When you first start seeing light in the sky, but the sun is not visible yet. People often use this term for waking up before the sun, or just very early.

  • 4:00 and 6:00 in the morning (a.m.).

10. Twilight: The time when the sun is barely (very slightly or very little) lighting up the sky. This is usually right before the sun rises or right after the sun sets.

11. Sunset: The time in the evening when the sun disappears or daylight fades.

12. Sunrise: The time in the morning when the sun appears or full daylight arrives.

12-hour and 24-hour format


The 24-hour clock, popularly referred to in the United States and some other countries as military time, is the convention of timekeeping in which the day runs from midnight to midnight and is divided into 24 hours, as opposed to the 12-hour clock.

The 12-hour format, including am and pm, is the most commonly used time notation in the world today, and is used by the international standard ISO 8601.

Table showing 12-hour and 24-hour format:

12:00 (midnight)
0:00 (beginning of the day)
12:01 am
1:00 am
2:00 am
3:00 am
4:00 am
5:00 am
6:00 am
7:00 am
8:00 am
9:00 am
10:00 am
11:00 am
12:00 (noon)
12:01 pm
1:00 pm
2:00 pm
3:00 pm
4:00 pm
5:00 pm
6:00 pm
7:00 pm
8:00 pm
9:00 pm
10:00 pm
11:00 pm
12:00 (midnight)
24:00 (end of the day)

How to use a.m. and p.m.?


When you say something is at six o’clock you should let the person know if you mean a.m. (morning) or p.m. (night). As we mentioned in the table above, the 12-hour system divides the 24 hours of a day into two periods lasting 12 hours each.

The first 12-hour period is designated as am. It runs from midnight to noon. The second period, marked pm, covers the 12 hours from noon to midnight.

In brief:

  • ( AM/ a.m. / am ): Abbreviations for the Latin terms "ante meridiem". The time between midnight and noon; morning.
  • ( PM/ p.m / pm ): Abbreviations for the Latin terms "post meridiem." The time after noon ( not afternoon ); evening.

Some questions and answers about time

Being able to ask questions and talk about time is key to speaking any language, and this is also true if you are a beginner in learning English.

We can use these questions to ask time:

  • Can you tell me the time, please?
  • Can you tell me what time is it, please?
  • Could you tell me the time, please?
  • Do you happen to have the time?
  • Do you have the time?
  • Do you know the time?
  • Do you know what the time is?
  • Do you know what time it is?
  • Excuse me, do you have the time?
  • Got the time?
  • Have you got the right time?
  • Have you got the time?
  • What is the time?
  • What time do you make it?
  • What time is it?
  • What’s the time?
We can use these answer:
  • It’s four o’clock
  • It’s half past two
  • It’s about seven
  • It’s exactly eight o’clock
  • It’s around ten thirty
  • It’s 1.05 (‘one oh five’)
  • It’s five am.
  • It’s five fifteen pm.
  • It’s five thirty am.
  • Thirty-fifth minutes / half past five.
  • Five and 15 minutes / five and a quarter.
If you can’t help them, you might want to say:
  • Sorry, I don’t have the time.
  • I’m sorry, I don’t have my watch on.
  • Sorry, I’m not wearing a watch.
  • I’m sorry, I can’t see the clock from here.

How to say the time in English?


You will say "am" or "pm" according to your time meaning or the questions you were asked, for examples:

  • When will we meet today?:
    • We will meet at eight pm. (in the evening)
    • We will meet at eight am. (in the morning)
  • What time it is?: 
    • Eight
    • Eight o'clock
    • It’s eight

less formal
01:00one o’clock
01:15(a) quarter past oneone fifteen
01:30half past one
one thirty
01:45(a) quarter to one
one forty-five
02:00two o’clock
02:15(a) quarter past twotwo fifteen
02:30half past twotwo thirty
02:45(a) quarter to twotwo forty-five
03:00three o’clock
03:15(a) quarter past threethree fifteen
03:30half past threethree thirty
03:45(a) quarter to threethree forty-five
04:00four o’clock
04:15(a) quarter past fourfour fifteen
04:30half past fourfour thirty
04:45(a) quarter to four four forty-five
05:00five o’clock
05:15(a) quarter past fivefive fifteen
05:30half past fivefive thirty
05:45(a) quarter to fivefive forty-five
06:00six o’clock
06:15(a) quarter past sixsix fifteen
06:30half past sixsix thirty
06:45(a) quarter to sixsix forty-five
07:00seven o’clock
07:15(a) quarter past sevenseven fifteen
07:30 half past sevenseven thirty
07:45(a) quarter to sevenseven forty-five
08:00eight o’clock
08:15(a) quarter past eighteight fifteen
08:30half past eighteight thirty
08:45(a) quarter to eighteight forty-five
09:00nine o’clock
09:15(a) quarter past ninenine fifteen
09:30half past ninenine thirty
09:45(a) quarter to ninenine forty-five
10:00ten o’clock
10:15(a) quarter past tenten fifteen
10:30half past tenten thirty
10:45(a) quarter to tenten forty-five
11:00eleven o’clock
11:15(a) quarter past eleveneleven fifteen
11:30half past eleveneleven thirty
11:45(a) quarter to eleveneleven forty-five
twelve o’clock
12:15(a) quarter past twelvetwelve fifteen
12:30half past twelvetwelve thirty
12:45(a) quarter to twelvetwelve forty-five



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