How would you do in the street without a watch? Of course, ask passers-by ‘What time is it?’ or ‘Do you have the time?’
When the hour hand reaches an exact hour, Britons usually tell the time with the word ‘o’clock’. However, this literary tradition disappears, especially in speech. Instead people use the following pattern:
(It’s) H M.
English clock has 12 hours for 2 times. When the hour and minute hands both point up, there comes 12pm. The PM addition covers next 12 hours. These abbreviations come from Latin and rather than deciphering them just remember:
AM – night, morning
PM – afternoon, evening
12pm – noon/midday (‘middle of the day’)
12am – midnight (‘middle of the night’)
When the time is within the first 30 min (the minute hand pointing right), we also use the following pattern:
(It’s) M past/after H.
5:05 – five oh five / five past five
Dividing hours by 15 min, we get 4 quarters:
(It’s a) quarter past/after H.
5:15 – quarter past five / five fifteen / fifteen past five
Dividing hours by 30 min, we get 2 halves:
(It’s) half past H.
5:30 – five thirty / half past five
When the time is after the first 30 min (the minute hand pointing left), we also use the following pattern:
(It’s) M to next H.
1:35 – one thirty-five / twenty-five to two
5:45 – five forty-five / quarter to six