Learn How to Tell the TIME Properly in English


Tell the TIME! How to tell the time in English through pictures and examples. Learn these common expressions to improve your English speaking and enlarge your vocabulary words.

How to Tell the TIME

Asking The Time

Common ways for asking the time:

  • What time is it?
  • What is the time?
  • Do you have the time?
  • Do you know what time it is?

More polite ways to ask the time (especially from a stranger)

  • Can you tell me what time it is, please?
  • Could you tell me the time, please?

The question forms we use to ask at what time an event will happen:

  • What time…?
  • When..?

Giving the Time

  • It’s exactly or about or almost or just gone …
  • Sure, it is…
  • 4:30
  • It is…
  • It is seven past ten.
  • The time is 9 o’clock.
  • Sorry, I am not wearing a watch.

Giving the time at Full Hours: (O’clock /…:00)

We use It is or It’s to respond to the questions that ask for the time right now.

  • It is five o’clock. (5:00) or It’s five (less formal)
  • It’s ten o’clock (10:00) or I’s ten (less formal)
  • It is seven o’clock (07:00) or It’s seven (less formal)
  • It’s one o’clock (01:00) or It’s one (less formal)

Giving the time at Half Hours: (…:30)

We use structure “It is half past…” to give the time at half hours.

  • It is half past eleven. (11:30) or eleven thirty (less formal)
  • It is half past seven. ( 07:30 ) or seven thirty (less formal)
  • It is half past one.( 01:30 ) or one thirty (less formal)

Giving the time at Quarter Hours: (…:15 or …:45)

We use two forms of sentence for giving the time at quarter hours:

It is (a) quarter past … (15 minutes after the hour)

It is (a) quarter to … (15 minutes before the hour)

  • It is (a) quarter past eight. (8:15) or eight fifteen (less formal)
  • It is (a) quarter to three. (02:45) or two forty-three (less formal)
  • It is (a) quarter past twelve. (12:15) or twelve thirteen (less formal)

Giving the time at other hours

There are two ways for giving the time at other hours:

Use Past or To (Formal), for example:

  • We use PAST for (01 minute to 30 minutes)
  • We use TO for (31 to 59 minutes)

           It is(it’s) … minutes past /to …

  • It’s five minutes to nine. (08:55)
  • It’s three minutes past seven. (07:13)
  • It is nine minutes to three. (2:51)
  • It’s eight minutes past one. (01:08)

Use the structure: “It’s + hour + minutes”, for example:

  • It’s eight fifty-five. (08:55)
  • It’s seven thirteen. (07:13)
  • It is two fifty-one. (2:51)
  • It’s one zero-eight. (01:08)

A.M and P.M

We don’t normally use the 24-hour clock in English.

We use a.m. (am) for the morning and p.m. (pm) for the afternoon and night.

  • 3am = Three o’clock in the morning.
  • 3pm = Three o’clock in the afternoon.

How to Tell the Time in English – Image

Learn How to Tell the TIME Properly in English

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