Free English Lessons

How to Tell the Time in English – Video Lesson

by Oli Redman on 31 October, 2016 , No comments

What time is it now? What time do you get up, and go to bed? In this lesson, you can learn how to tell the time in English.

Let’s learn how to tell the time in English.

1. Asking for the Time

Here are some common ways:

  • What’s the time?
  • What time is it?

You can use these anywhere. If you want to be more polite, say:

  • Could you tell me the time please?
  • May I have the time?

2. How to Tell the Time

Here’s a clock.

Clock showing 3:20

There are two ways to tell the time.

The first way is to say the hour first, and then the minutes.

  • hour + minutes
  • It’s three twenty.

Here’s another example:

  • It’s one thirty-five.

Clock showing 1:35

Now you try. What’s the time?

Clock showing 11:47

  • It’s eleven forty-seven.

You can also add a.m. or p.m. afterwards. Use a.m. for the morning, before twelve, and p.m. for the afternoon and the evening, after twelve. For example,

  • It’s eleven forty-seven a.m.

If the minutes are 00 – we simply say o’clock.

Clock showing 7:00

  • It’s 7 o’clock.

Clock showing 3:00

  • It’s 3 o’clock.

So now you know one simple way to tell the time.

3. How to Tell the Time With Past and To

There’s another way to tell the time.

You say the minutes first, followed by past or to, and then the hour.

  • minutes + past/to + hour

We say past for this side:

How to use 'past' when telling the time in English

And we use to for this side:

How to use 'to' to tell the time in English

For example:

Clock showing 2:05

  • It’s five past two.

What’s the time now?

Clock showing 12:20

  • It’s twenty past twelve.

Clock showing 3:55

  • It’s five to four.

Clock showing 8:50

  • It’s ten to nine.

When you tell the time like this, instead of saying 30, we say half.

Clock showing 10:30

  • It’s half past ten.

Clock showing 9:30

  • It’s half past nine.

And instead of saying fifteen, you say quarter.

Clock showing 7:15

  • It’s quarter past seven.

Clock showing 8:45

  • It’s quarter to nine.

In this way of telling the time, we don’t usually say a.m. or p.m. Instead, we say

In the morning, in the afternoon or in the evening.

  • It’s quarter to nine in the evening.

If the time is twelve o’clock at night, we can say it’s midnight. If the time is twelve o’clock in the day, we can say midday, or noon.

That’s the end of the lesson, thanks for watching!


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Oli RedmanHow to Tell the Time in English – Video Lesson