For ordinary speaking, use clock-face time. Say the minutes first.

ten past six

a quarter past six

half past six

twenty-five to seven

a quarter to seven

We say a quarter (with or without a), but half (without a):
It's quarter to eight or It's a quarter to eight.
It's half past ten.

We say o'clock only for the exact hour: It's six o'clock.

For talking about timetables and exact arrangements, we often use digital time. Say the hour before the minutes.

We use the 24-hour clock for written timetables.

[1]: 24-hour clock [2]: Digital time [3]: Clock-face time


[1] 09:00
[2] 9:00 a.m.

[1] 09:15
[2] 9:15 a.m.

[1] 14:20
[2] 2:20 a.m.

[1] 21:55
[2] 9:55 a.m.


nine a.m. = [3] nine o'clock in the morning

nine fifteen a.m. = [3] a quarter past nine in the morning

two twenty p.m. = [3] twenty past two in the afternoon

nine fifty-five p.m. = [3] five to ten in the evening

noon = twelve o'clock exactly in the day
a.m. = twelve midnight to twelve noon
midnight = twelve o'clock exactly at night
p.m. = twelve noon to twelve midnight
midday = the hours in the middle of the day

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Appendix 13