• telling the time
  • 24 hour clock
  • Midnight Midday
  • time difference

Telling the time

There are two methods: (a) direct and (b) annoying



You can always read the time directly:

10:10 = ten ten

10:17 = ten seventeen

10:45 = ten forty five

10:55 = ten fifty five

BUT 10:01 

x: ten one

o: ten oh one

xx:0x = xx: “oh” x

10:09 = ten oh nine

B: annoying

or you can use past and to

insert pic here

We usually say:

  • five past
  • ten past
  • quarter past
  • half past
  • twenty to
  • quarter to
  • ten to
  • five to
24 hour clock

The UK does not use the 24 hour clock but Europe does.

To differentiate between morning and evening, we use AM and PM.

02:00 = 2am

14:00 = 2pm

o’clock means there are no minutes and no precision of evening or morning

o: See you at 2 o’clock

x: See you at 2 o’clock pm

x: See you at 2 o’clock 30

If the context is clear we just say the number of the hour

See you at 2

We often stress that it’s not appropriate or we should be sleeping by emphasising “in the morning”

Why are you calling me now? It’s two in the morning!

Midday Midnight

00:00 = midnight

12:00 = midday

Some people say quarter to midnight, or half past midday, which is correct but not common


x: midnight 20

o: twenty past midnight

o: twelve twenty

Time difference

The day starts in the east. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  When the day is ending in the east, it is only starting in the west.

They are fourteen hours ahead 

Tokyo is fourteen hours ahead of New York

14:00 in Tokyo = 00:00 in New York

Paris is one hour ahead of London

Midnight in Paris is 11pm in London

Tokyo is nine hours ahead of London

They are one hour behind

London is one hour behind Paris


credits: image from TES, all other content © Alan François 2019