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Learn how to tell the Time and Date in English

We use many difference words and phrases in English. This fact and how we use them always causes students problems when learning the English language. Are you confused if lunch should be 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.? Remember a few simple rules, learn how to tell the time and date in English and make your life easier!

How to tell the time and date in English?

How to tell the Time in English

Telling time in English is quite complicated. We use a mix of terms when referring in particular to the times of the day. We refer to a.m. in the morning (9 a.m.) and p.m. in the afternoon and evening (9 p.m.) and then others (for example, in Spain or in Germany) use only the 24 hour clock, such as 1400 hrs or 1100 hrs. Confusing? Yes, very!

When arranging a meeting or an appointment it’s obviously important to get the time exactly right so as to avoid embarrassment and turn up late.

For example:

The meeting was organised for 10:45 a.m.

This meeting was to take place in the morning exactly 45 minutes after the hour of ten o’clock. It’s important that we pronounce it as ten forty five in the morning and not ten and forty five.

In the same way 11:20 is twenty minutes after eleven o’clock in the morning and we pronounce it as eleven twenty not eleven and twenty. You have the option to refer to 8 a.m. or 8:00 hrs or 2 p.m. or 14:00 hrs. Both are acceptable but always best to make sure that the person you are meeting understands clearly.

We use prepositions IN ON AT when we are talking about time in English. I explain how to use English Prepositions of Time in my my short video lesson below. Hopefully, this will clear the matter for you.

I just want to concentrate a little bit more on prepositions ON and IN. When we are talking about time we can use both ON or IN but the meaning is different.

For Example:

My meeting tomorrow is at 9 a.m. and I would like to be on time. = at 9 a.m.

His bus was late but he was still in time for work where he had to start at 9 a.m. every day. = before 9 a.m., he was not late.

Learn how to tell the time and date in English correctly

How to tell the Date in English

Dates sometimes cause difficulties when reading text in English.

Let us look at some examples:

1885, 1915, 1984, 2000, 2015.

When reading (or speaking)  these dates in English you should say:

1885 = Eighteen eighty five
1915 = Nineteen fifteen
1984 = Nineteen eighty four
2000 = Two thousand or the year two thousand (NOT twenty hundred as we sometimes hear)
2015 = Two thousand fifteen or twenty fifteen

Dates of the month are also confused. Let us take some typical dates of each month:

13th February, 10th March, 1st April, 22nd January.

In each case we should read and pronounce as follows:

The thirteenth of February, the tenth of March, the first of April and the twenty second of January.

I hope this will help you better understand how to tell the time and date in English. Watch out for more blogs in the weeks ahead!

To help you increase your vocabulary in English I wrote some other posts for you. Please, check out:

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Intermediate English lessons via Skype with native English teacher

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