Unit 8.1

Telling the time

Introduction

Telling the time consists of showing the exact hour and minutes in present time or the moment in which an event starts or finishes, as a point of reference. There are different ways to express the time in English.

Form

  • Telling the hour + the minutes
6:23 – it’s six twenty-three
  • Telling the minutes + the hour

For minutes 1-30 we use past after the minutes.

For minutes 31-59 we use to after the minutes.

to 6:40 – it’s twenty to seven
past 6:25 – it’s twenty-five past six
  • Telling the time when it’s 15 or 30 min past the hour
a quarter past 6:15 – it’s a quarter past six
a quarter to 6:45- it’s a quarter to seven
half past 6:30 – it’s half past six
  • Telling the time when there are no minutes
o’clock 6:00 – it’s six o’clock
  • Telling the time when its 12 o’clock
it’s twelve o’clock
it’s noon/midday
it’s midnight
  • a.m. vs p.m.

We don’t use the 24h clock in English. Instead we use:

a.m. (ante meridiem – before noon) 6.00 – it’s six a.m. / it’s 6 a.m.
p.m. (post meridiem – after noon) 18.00- it’s six p.m. / it’s 6 p.m.
  • Asking for the time
What time is it?
What is the time?
What time …?
When…?
  • Giving the time
It is/ It’s + concrete time It is three o’clock
Situation (verb) + at + concrete time I’ll pick you up at three o’clock

 

Example

  • It is a quarter past two (2:15)
  • The meeting begins at twenty to four (3:40)
  • It’s noon. (12 pm)

Use

We tell the time when we want to say what time it is or when an event begins or ends.

Exercises


Translations

License