How to tell the time in English

How to tell the time in English

It's one o'clock
It’s one o’clock
It's one minute past one
It’s one minute past one
It's three minutes past one
It’s three minutes past one
It's five past one
It’s five past one
It's ten past one
It’s ten past one
It's fifteen minutes past one or (a) quarter past one
It’s fifteen minutes past one or (a) quarter past one
It's twenty past one
It’s twenty past one
It's twenty five past one
It’s twenty five past one
It's half past one
It’s half past one
It's twenty five to two
It’s twenty five to two
It's twenty to two
It’s twenty to two
It's seventeen minutes to two
It’s seventeen minutes to two
It's fifteen minutes to two or It's (a) quarter to two
It’s fifteen minutes to two or It’s (a) quarter to two
It's ten to two
It’s ten to two
It's five to two
It’s five to two
It's two o'clock
It’s two o’clock
It's twelve o'clock, It's midday, It's midnight.
It’s twelve o’clock, It’s midday, It’s midnight.

Saying the time

When we talk about time on a clock, we have analogue and digital clocks – analogue clocks with hands and digital clocks with numbers. We use either the 12-hour clock or the 24-hour clock.

The 12-hour clock uses ‘am’ – Ante Meridiem and ‘pm’ – Post Meridiem (after noon) to distinguish the difference between day and night. For more details click here.

The 24-hour clock is used for timetables

10 o’clock in morning can also be expressed as 10am or 10:00
and 10 o’clock at night can also be expressed as 10pm or 22:00

1 o’clock in the morning – 1am or 01:00
and 1 o’clock in the afternoon 1pm or 13:00

01:00 – 1am – It’s one o’clock (in the morning).
02:00 – 2am – It’s two o’clock (in the morning).
03:00 – 3am – It’s three o’clock (in the morning).
04:00 – 4am – It’s four o’clock (in the morning).
05:00 – 5am – It’s five o’clock (in the morning).
06:00 – 6am – It’s six o’clock (in the morning).
07:00 – 7am – It’s seven o’clock (in the morning).
08:00 – 8am – It’s eight o’clock (in the morning).
09:00 – 9am – It’s nine o’clock (in the morning).
10:00 – 10am – It’s ten o’clock (in the morning).
11:00 – 11am – It’s eleven o’clock (in the morning).
12:00 – 11.59am – 12.01pm – It’s twelve midday/noon
12:30 – 12.30pm
13:00 – 1pm – It’s one o’clock (in the afternoon).
14:00 – 2pm – It’s two o’clock (in the afternoon).
15:00 – 3pm – It’s three o’clock (in the afternoon).
16:00 – 4pm – It’s four o’clock (in the afternoon).
17:00 – 5pm – It’s five o’clock (in the afternoon).
18:00 – 6pm – It’s six o’clock (in the evening).
19:00 – 7pm – It’s seven o’clock (in the evening).
20:00 – 8pm – It’s eight o’clock (in the evening).
21:00 – 9pm – It’s nine o’clock (at night).
22:00 – 10pm – It’s ten o’clock (at night).
23:00 – 11pm – It’s eleven o’clock (at night).
24:00 – 11.59pm – 12.01am – It’s twelve midnight

We only use o’clock for the hours (on the dot).

For times outside the hour and five-minute intervals, we say minutes past or minutes to:

01:01 (one-oh-one) – one minute past one
01:02 (one-oh-two) – two minutes past one
01:03 (one-oh-three) – three minutes past one
01:04 (one-oh-four) – four minutes past one

01:05 (one-oh-five) – five past one

01:06 (one-oh-six) – six minutes past one
01:07 (one-oh-seven) – seven minutes past one
01:08 (one-oh-eight) – eight minutes past one
01:09 (one-oh-nine) – nine minutes past one

01:10 (one-ten) – ten past one

01:11 (one-eleven) – eleven minutes past one
01:12 (one-twelve) – twelve minutes past one
01:13 (one-thirteen) – thirteen minutes past one
01:14 (one-fourteen) – fourteen minutes past one

01:15 (one-fifteen) – fifteen minutes past one or (a) quarter past one

01:16 (one-sixteen) – sixteen minutes past one
01:17 (one-seventeen) – seventeen minutes past one
01:18 (one-eighteen) – eighteen minutes past one
01:19 (one-nineteen) – nineteen minutes past one

01:20 (one-twenty) – twenty past one

01:21 (one-twenty-one) – twenty-one minutes past one
01:22 (one-twenty-two) – twenty-two minutes past one
01:23 (one-twenty-three) – twenty-three minutes past one
01:24 (one-twenty-four) – twenty-four minutes past one

01:25 (one-twenty-five) – twenty-five past one

01:26 (one-twenty-six) – twenty-six minutes past one
01:27 (one-twenty-seven) – twenty-seven minutes past one
01:28 (one-twenty-eight) – twenty-eight minutes past one
01:29 (one-twenty-nine) – twenty-nine minutes past one

01:30 (one-thirty) – thirty minutes past one or half past one

01:31 (one-thirty-one) – twenty-nine minutes to two
01:32 (one-thirty-two) – twenty-eight minutes to two
01:33 (one-thirty-three) – twenty-seven minutes to two
01:34 (one-thirty-four) – twenty-six minutes to two

01:35 (one-thirty-five) – twenty-five to two

01:36 (one-thirty-six) – twenty-four minutes to two
01:37 (one-thirty-seven)- twenty-three minutes to two
01:38 (one-thirty-eight) – twenty-two minutes to two
01:39 (one-thirty-nine) – twenty-one minutes to two

01:40 (one-forty) – twenty to two

01:41 (one-forty-one) – nineteen minutes to two
01:42 (one-forty-two) – eighteen minutes to two
01:43 (one-forty-three) – seventeen minutes to two
01:44 (one-forty-four) – sixteen minutes to two

01:45 (one-forty-five) – fifteen minutes to two or (a) quarter to two

01:46 (one- forty-six) – fourteen minutes to two
01:47 (one-forty-seven) – thirteen minutes to two
01:48 (one-forty-eight) – twelve minutes to two
01:49 (one-forty-nine) – eleven minutes to two

01:50 (one-fifty) – ten to two

01:51 (one-fifty-one) – nine minutes to two
01:52 (one-fifty-two) – eight minutes to two
01:53 (one-fifty-three) – seven minutes to two
01:54 (one-fifty-four) – six minutes to two

01:55 (one-fifty-five)- five to two

01:56 (one-fifty-six) – four minutes to two
01:57 (one-fifty-seven) – three minutes to two
01:58 (one-fifty-eight) – two minutes to two
01:59 (one-fifty-nine) – one minute to two

02:00 (oh-two-hundred hours) – two o’clock

Expressions used when telling the time

It is exactly… It’s exactly two o’clock
It is about… It’s about two o’clock
It is around… It’s around two o’clock
It is almost… It’s almost two o’clock
It has just gone… It’s just gone two o’clock

Expressions used when you don’t know the time

Sorry, I have no idea.
I couldn’t tell you.
I haven’t got a clue.

Asking for the time

What’s the time?
What time is it?
Have you got the right time?
Could you tell me the time, please?
Do you happen to have the right time?
Do you know what time it is?
What time do you make it?
What time is the next… (bus, train) to…?
What time does the next…(bus, train, flight) leave/arrive?

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