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Time vocabulary


base unit of time. There are 60 seconds in one minute. The thing that is measured in seconds, minutes, hours, days is called time. Time includes:
  • Minute: Unit of time that is equal to 60 seconds
  • Hour: unit of time that is equal to 60 minutes
  • Half: 30 minutes
  • Quarter: 15 minutes
  • O’clock: used for the hour without minutes

Clocks and watches

Device to indicate time is called clock. The clock can include:

Time vocabulary
Clocks and watches
  • Grandfather clock: a tall clock with a pendulum that is in a carved wooden case. It is also called a longcase clock
  • Alarm clock: a clock that is used to awaken people at a particular time with a sound.
  • Watch: a small clock that is worn on a wrist
  • Digital watch: a watch with a display that indicates time as a number

Telling time

Past is used after the minutes 1-30. To is used after the minutes 31-59.
Telling time vocabulary
Telling time

  • 9:00 it’s nine o’clock (abbreviation: of clock)
  • 9:01 it’s one minute past nine
  • 9:03 it’s three minutes past nine
  • 9:05 it’s five past nine (also nine oh five)
  • 9:10 it’s ten past nine (also nine ten)
  • 9:15 it’s a quarter past nine (also nine fifteen)
  • 9:30 it’s half past nine (also nine thirty)
  • 9:40 It’s twenty to ten (also nine forty)
  • 9:45 it’s a quarter to ten (also nine forty-five)
  • 9:50 it’s ten to ten (also nine fifty)
  • 9:57 it’s three minutes to ten
  • 10:00 it’s ten o’clock

 12-hour clock

AM and PM
AM and PM

We use a.m. and p.m. for 12-hour clock.
  • a.m. (ante meridiem): before midday
  • p.m. (post meridiem): after midday


The 24-hour clock
The 12-hour clock
12:00  am (midnight)
9:00 am
10:30 am
12:00 pm (noon)
1:45 pm
8:15 pm

The 12-hour clock
The 12-hour clock

Asking the time

We can use different ways to ask the time:
  • What is the time? (informal)
  • What time is it? (informal)
  • What time is it, please?
  • Could you tell me the time, please? (more formal)
  • Do you happen to have the time?
  • Do you know what time is it?


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