English Telling Time
In this module, time expressions and how to tell time are presented.
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:
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?
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.
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.
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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages
The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.