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How do you tell time?


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Ok, time for an odd question about time. Well, series of questions.

 

What do you say when responding to the question, "what time is it?"

 

If someone says, "it's quarter of one," do they mean it's 12:45 or it's 1:15?

 

Do you use terms like "quarter past," "half past," "five 'til?" In the case of "five 'til," would you include the hour or assume the listener knew?

 

To further slake my curiosity, where did you learn your time-related speech patterns?

 

For our international/non-English-native forumites, are there similar shorthand methods of telling time (for example, the textbook Spanish is to say "es el cinco y media" to mean 5:30, but I'm sure native speakers have alternative phrasing)?

 

I just had a conversation in which nobody realized we we're all in the same time zone (conference call), so now I'm curious about the regional speech re:time...

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I just give the numbers.  It's not a quarter to 1500, it's 1445. 

and when he asks, yet again what the "of" means, I remind him he has his own time keeping device and to leave me alone.  

Other acceptable answers to "What time is it?" are "Hammer Time" and "Clobberin' Time."

quarter to, quarter after, half past, ten to, five to etc. Almost always with the hour or conversely, I say it's twelve forty-five or eleven fifteen. Simple, and precise and properly polite as any good Canadian should be when someone asks the time

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What do you say when responding to the question, "what time is it?"

11:14 (Well, assuming it really is 11:14, of course) after a glance at my clock bracelet.

 

If someone says, "it's quarter of one," do they mean it's 12:45 or it's 1:15?

Always 12:45 in that scenario.

 

Do you use terms like "quarter past," "half past," "five 'til?" In the case of "five 'til," would you include the hour or assume the listener knew?

I don't use them often, but I'd not be surprised to hear them used, either with or without the hour.

 

To further slake my curiosity, where did you learn your time-related speech patterns?

Well, that's more complex: North-central US plus military bases around the US and in Europe.

 

For our international/non-English-native forumites, are there similar shorthand methods of telling time (for example, the textbook Spanish is to say "es el cinco y media" to mean 5:30, but I'm sure native speakers have alternative phrasing)?

 

I just had a conversation in which nobody realized we we're all in the same time zone (conference call), so now I'm curious about the regional speech re:time...

This sounds like it might be a translation issue, at least in part. For example, in German, "halb vier" ("half four") would mean 0330.

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I can never remember what "of" means. So when someone uses it I always have to clarify. It's very common here in New England but I've never adjusted.

 

But if it's "five of one" I just say "one". If you need to know precisely you need your own watch. :D

PS

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The "of" term is where the confusion came in. One person on the call was using it to mean "until" and another took it to mean "past," so they thought there was a half-hour swing between them.

 

Which should be obviously wrong, unless one of them was in Indiana.

 

Thanks for the responses so far! Anyone else?

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I don't think I've ever used (or even heard used) the 'x of y' thing.  It would confuse me to hear it and I likely would ask if it was before or after the hour.  Mostly I will either say the exact time (11:23 etc) or, occasionally things like 'quarter past [the hour]' to mean it was 15 minutes after the hour indicated.

 

I tried for quite some time to use the 24-hour clock but just never got the hang of it - I would hear (or worse say) 'I'll meet you at 1400!' and show up 2 hours late at 4pm instead of 2pm ::(:

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If I am looking at a digital clock I will say the time as I see it, "twelve thirty six". If I am looking at an analog clock I'm more likely to give the time to the nearest quarter hour and say "twelve thirty" or "half past twelve".

 

I use the phrases "quarter after" or "quarter to", never "quarter of".

 

My family is from New England, but have lived all over the world, spending my most formative years in asia and europe.

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It goes

 

12:00 - Noon

12:15 - Quarter after

12:30 - Half Past

12:45 - Quarter til / Quarter to

1:00   - One

 

round here. You round to the nearest, too - nobody I know says eighteen after at 12:18, for example. You'd say "Twelve eighteen" or something, if you had to be specific..

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I live in New England, and have for nearly my whole life. If you ask me the time at 11:45, I am very likely to respond with "Quarter of 12". I didn't even encounter the phrasing "quarter tip 12" until I got to college and met my west-coast roommate.

 

If the time is 11:15, or 12:30, I will almost certainly say "eleven fifteen", or "twelve thirty". I do not usually use half past or had tip, or any similar construction.

 

Not sure if this helps you.

 

I also occasionally abbreviate, so if it's 8:50, and you ask the time, I might just say "ten of", without specifying the hour, assuming you would either guess correctly, or ask for more information. ::):

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Pretty much what Aard listed, though I'll also put a 'quarter of' along with the other two at 12:45. Double down on rounding, even if I'm reading a digital clock I tend to round it. Partly professional habit as we round to 15 minute chunks for timekeeping.

 

Edit: the Wileys are from Maine, so it follows the trend thus far.

Edited by CashWiley
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If I am looking at a digital clock I will say the time as I see it, "twelve thirty six".

 

This. And, usually I am looking at the cell phone. Which has now replaced the functions of either wrist or pocket watch.

 

 

If I am looking at an analog clock I'm more likely to give the time to the nearest quarter hour...

 

And this. But, I usually state it numerically: 12:30, 12:15, 12:45...

 

I think maybe sometimes I break that pattern to say "5 after 3" or "5 past 3" (if I mean 15:05 hours) ... :mellow: ... I have not really paid very close attention to how I do this.

 

All of the different ways people state times make sense to me and I can covert to 'milspeak' time in my head pretty easily. I may be guilty of reflecting what other people use and not really having a firmly set pattern for myself.

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I found it pretty hard to tell Time at first.

 

But then I sat down with him and finally told him I was sleeping with his sister.

 

He took it well but he still punched me in the gut.

 

Still friends.

 


 

As to the OP, what Aard said as well.  However, in this digital age I noticed that my kids are more specific in their replies, using 12:18 instead of Quarter After, etc.

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