If you want to learn how to write time correctly, you've come to the right place. This article will teach you everything you know to use time correctly in your writing.
The time can be written in letters or numerals and follows various conventions. To learn more, read on.
This guide is part of our free online Grammar Book.
Before you can learn how to write the time in your texts correctly, you need to know about the different ways of measuring time. There are two commonly used ones: the 12-hour and 24-hour formats. Let's review each one by one.
The 12-hour system uses the numbers 1 to 12 to measure time and the abbreviations' am' and 'pm' to specify whether the time mentioned is in the morning or the afternoon. The hours from 1 to 12 before noon count as the morning, and the hours between 1 and 12 after noon count as... well, afternoon.
There are a few different ways to write the time using the 12-hour system. What they all have in common is that you begin by stating the number. You can then follow the number with the abbreviation 'am' or 'pm;' the phrase 'in the morning,' 'in the afternoon,' or 'at night,' or the word' o'clock.'
Here are some examples:
Let's have lunch at 11am.
I need you in the office by 2 in the afternoon.
In January it gets dark at 3pm.
In informal writing, it's okay to use just the number to mention the time ("Let's meet at 5.") as long as it's safe to assume the person will know whether you mean morning, afternoon, evening, or night.
Here are some representations of the different ways this can look using the example time of 8 in the morning:
Some spellcheckers will even have you use a period after the first letter but not the second one. All these variations are correct, and which one you should use depends on the style guide you follow.
The main thing is to stay consistent.
The 24-hour system uses—you guessed it—24 numbers to measure the time. The numbers 1 to 12 refer to the morning hours, while numbers 13 to 24 refer to the afternoon and evening hours. Due to the system's intricacy, you don't need to use phrases such as 'in the morning,' nor must you use 'am' or 'pm.'
They're expected to land at 13:45.
The screening begins at 20:00 but there'll be some trailers before that.
I heard the meeting started at 8:00.
Top Tip! The military system also uses the 24-hour system but without the colon/period, followed by the word "hours." For example: Take off at 300 hours.
There are times you might want to write the time in letters. Like when? Well, like with all things, it's primarily up to you. Just make sure to remain consistent, whatever you choose to do.
Nonetheless, here are some guidelines you might decide to follow:
Here are some examples to illustrate some of these guidelines:
My son's so lazy; he never gets up before noon.
What do you think of meeting at five o'clock for cocktails?
It's already half past one!
That concludes this article on how to write time correctly. I hope you found it helpful.
Let's summarize what we've learned:
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