English Telling Time

    Beginner English - Level A1


    In this unit, learn time expressions and how to tell time are presented.


    Time expressions

    Greenville, South Carolina at Falls Park in downtown at night.

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    English A1

    Time Expressions

    Asking for the time and telling time are two different forms of talking about time. Here are a few possible questions to use when asking what time it is:

    Normal Emphasis
    What time is it?
    What is the time?
    Do you have the time?
    Do you know what time it is?
    Have you got the time?

    More Polite
    Do you happen to have the time?
    Can you tell me what time it is?
    Could you tell me the time, please?

    To answer questions about time, choose from the following examples:

    The time is 1 o'clock. (more formal)
    It is (It's) five thirty / 5:30.
    3 pm. 
    A quarter to 4.
    Whenever the time is on the hour, use "o'clock" after the number. For example: It is now 12 o'clock. When talking about time with reference to the nearest hour, you can use a variety of expressions.

    I have to leave at half past six. (6:30)
    The show starts at a quarter after two. (2:15)
    Wow! It's ten after eleven and John still isn't here! (11:10)
    Beth left at five minutes past eight. (8:05)
    It is four minutes to ten. (9:56)

    "Till" can be used in place of "to":

    We are meeting them at ten till seven. (6:50).

    Time of Day
    Note that the time of day is not clear using the 12-hour clock in English. Absent the a.m./am/AM (morning) or p.m./pm/PM (afternoon/evening) marker, context and adverbs of time provide the missing information:

    I will call you at nine tonight. (9 pm)
    The concert begins at 2 o'clock in the afternoon.

    Additional Activities

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