Grammar Is Easy: What Time Is It?

November 16, 2017 - Priscila Pereira

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Hey, friends!

How are you doing? I hope you are having a wonderful day! In this post, you are going to learn all you need to tell the time in English!

Yes! I will show you all the rules about time in English. Additionally, I will give you some exercises at the end of the post, so make sure to leave your answers in the comments. I feel very happy to see you guys trying to participate and practice.


If you want to ask questions about the time in English, here are some options for you:

What time is it? This is the most common way to ask the time in English.

Do you have the time? Not so common, but you can use this to ask a question about the time.

What is the time? (very similar to – what time is it?)

Can you tell me what time it is? (it is another option, but too long. I prefer the first one, it is definitely the most popular one)

In addition to the question, it is important to know how to answer this question. Keep in mind that if you are asking this question OR if someone is asking you this question, you will always start with: ” IT’S” and then the time (2:00, or 2:10, the time). You can also abbreviate this answer and just say the time (2:00 or 3:10, the time).  For example:

What time is it? It’s 2 p.m OR 2 p.m

A.M. or P.M?

What’s the difference between A.M and P.M? I don’t know where you are from, but in the USA, Americans use the 12-hour system. The abbreviations A.M and P.M will help you know if it is 5.a.m in the morning or 5 p.m in the afternoon.

  • AM = Ante meridiem: Before noon
  • PM = Post meridiem: After noon

Do you need to use a.m and p.m all the time?

It depends. If it is not possible to know by the context if it is a.m. or p.m, then you REALLY need to say it. When you are having a conversation and someone asks you about the time, you don’t really need to say a.m or p.m, because the person already knows that part. If you are talking about an appointment, for example, it is better to say a.m or p.m


This is an expression we use to specify the hour in telling time. So, for example, what time is it? It is 3:00 O’clock. It’s 4 o’clock. It is exactly the hour 3 or 4. If it were 4:03, you canNOT use o’clock anymore.


Now, let’s talk about a very basic way to tell the time. Say the number for the hour and then the number for the minute Look at the following picture

    1:45 it’s one (the hour) forty-five (the minute). If necessary, include the a.m and p.m


8:15 – it’s eight (the hour) fifteen (the minute). If necessary, include the a.m and p.m



 1:35– it’s one (the hour) thirty-five (the minute). If necessary, include the a.m and p.m.



You can tell the time this way with all the possible minutes.

1:05 – one five

1:10 one ten

1:15 one fifteen

1:20 one twenty

1:30 one thirty

1:40: one forty

1:55 one fifty-five




If you look at the picture above, the clock is divided into two parts. The first half is from 0 to 30 minutes. The second half is from 31 minutes to 59 minutes. You can tell the time differently depending on the number of minutes. Look at the examples below:

1:15 – you can say One Fifteen OR  a quarter past/after one. In this case, I inverted the position. First I say the minutes and then the hour. You cannot say “fifteen” in this second option, only in the first one.
Past or after? In the USA, it is more common to use after. However, in  British English, it is more common to say past.

1:20: you can say one twenty  OR Twenty PAST/AFTET One.

1:30: you can say One Thirty OR HALF PAST one. Please observe that in this case, you canNOT use “after”. Only “PAST”.  you cannot say “thirty” in this second option, only in the first one.

1:35> here it is the second part of the clock. Now, to tell the time, speak the number of minutes TO the next HOUR. SO, it is twenty-five TO two. It is twenty-five minutes to the next hour, two. You can also say one thirty-five.

1:40 – you can say it is twenty TO two or one forty.

1:45 – you can say it is one forty-five OR it is  A QUARTER TO two. Here, you canNOT use “fifteen” either, because it is not common.

12:00 A.M or P.M?

How do you say that in English? Can you just say the number twelve? Yes, that’s possible. But here are other ways to say it!

12:00 a.m – midnight

12:00 p.m – midday, twelve p.m or noon!



Nice! Now you know everything about the time in English!

what is it??



  1. 12:00 a.m ____________
  2. 1:45 p.m ____________
  3. 3:00 a.m ____________
  4. 5:55 a.m ____________
  5. 4:10 p.m ____________
  6. 7:25 p.m ____________
  7. 8:15: a.m ____________
  8. 9:40 p.m ____________
  9. 12:00 p.m ____________
  10. 10:00 a.m ____________


There you go! Did you enjoy this post? I hope so!

Share it with your friends on your social media and help other people learn about the time in English!


Teacher Prix



Priscila Pereira

Starbucks and TV Series lover: juggling with teaching, blogging, and a YouTube life! I’m teacher Prix and I want to help you talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime in English! This blog is for English speakers who are looking for an effective blog. Get inspired by hundreds of different posts for all English levels, so that you can finally learn English easily and effectively on the internet.

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