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It’s Time to Learn How to Tell the Time in English

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Learn how to tell the time in English. We use the time to sequence events, to compare their duration and the intervals between them, and quantify the speed at which objects move and things change.

To measure time, we can use anything that repeats itself regularly. One example is the dawn of a new day. Two more are the phases of the moon, and the seasons of the year. Even in ancient times, people developed calendars to keep track of the number of days in a year.

Telling the time in English is more complicated than just reading some numbers from the clock…

How to Tell the Time in English

What Time Is It? How to Tell Time in English

To tell time in English, you can use the following phrases and expressions:

  • “It’s (number) o’clock.” For example, “It’s 3 o’clock.”
  • “It’s (number) past (hour).” For example, “It’s ten past two.”
  • “It’s (number) to (hour).” For example, “It’s quarter to four.”
  • “It’s (number) minutes past (hour).” For example, “It’s thirty minutes past six.”
  • “It’s (number) minutes to (hour).” For example, “It’s twenty minutes to eight.”
  • “It’s half past (hour).” For example, “It’s half past six.”

You can also use “AM” (ante meridiem) and “PM” (post meridiem) to distinguish between the morning and the afternoon/evening respectively.

Example: 1:00 AM would be “It’s one o’clock AM” 1:30 PM would be “It’s half past one PM”

Units of Time

  • 1 aeon = ~1 billion years (in astronomy)
  • 1 millennium = 1000 years
  • 1 century = 100 years
  • 1 decade = 10 years
  • 1 lustrum = 5 years
  • 1 year = 12 months ≈ 365 days (366 days in leap years)
  • 1 month ≈ 28 to 31 days ≈ 4 weeks
  • 1 fortnight = 14 days = 2 weeks
  • 1 week = 7 days
  • 1 day = 24 hours
  • 1 hour = 60 minutes
  • 1 minute = 60 seconds
  • 1 second = SI base unit of time
  • 1 millisecond = 1/1,000 second
  • 1 microsecond = 1/1,000,000 second
  • 1 nanosecond = 1/1,000,000,000 second
  • 1 picosecond = 1/1,000,000,000,000 of a second
  • 1 femtosecond = 1/1,000,000,000,000,000 of a second
  • 1 attosecond = 1/1,000,000,000,000,000,000 of a second
  • 1 Planck time = smallest measurable unit of time

Learn to Talk About the Time of Day

To talk about the time of day, you can use expressions such as:

  • “What time is it?”
  • “What’s the time?”
  • “Can you tell me the time?”

You can also use specific times or time ranges to indicate when something is happening or has happened, such as:

  • “I’ll meet you at noon.”
  • “I woke up early this morning.”
  • “I’m usually in bed by 10 pm.”
  • “I’ll see you later this afternoon.”
  • “I’ll be free around dinnertime.”

When telling the time, you can use numbers, such as “It’s 3 o’clock” or “It’s quarter to four” or “It’s half past six”. You can also use expressions such as “It’s early,” “It’s late,” or “It’s the middle of the night.”

It's Time to Learn How to Tell the Time in English 1


Knowing how to tell the time in English is a valuable skill that can help you in many aspects of daily life, whether you are traveling, working, or studying. Being able to ask for the time and to understand and give time-related information can help you avoid confusion and misunderstandings, and will allow you to better plan your day and schedule your activities.

Additionally, understanding how to use the different phrases and expressions for telling the time, such as “o’clock”, “past”, “to”, and “half past”, as well as the use of “AM” and “PM”, will help you to communicate more effectively with native speakers.


Thursday 1st of April 2021

Well done. But some of the images is blurd.

Lucky Singh

Monday 23rd of November 2020

About parts of body


Monday 23rd of November 2020


Wednesday 28th of October 2020

It's great!!! Thanks


Tuesday 6th of October 2020

I like the way you represent the time. The only thing is pictures are blurred, can't use to show the children online.