Expressing Time for beginners

Expressing time is not just about time and numbers. In this lesson, we will learn how to tell time and learn more about it.

Expressing Time in English Language

How to Express Time?

Expressing time means representing a specific time using numbers, usually hours, minutes, and seconds.

How to Ask About Time?

We use 'what time is it?' to ask about the current time. It is the most common way to ask about time. We answer this question with 'it is ...'.

What time is it? It’s 6 o’clock.

What time is it? It’s six fifty.

We use when to ask about the time of an event. For example; a movie, a concert, etc.

When is the movie? It’s at 8.

When is the concert? It’s at 10.

O’clock, Quarter, Half

The term 'o'clock' is short for 'of the clock' and is used to indicate the exact hour of the day. Each hour is composed of 60 minutes, and a quarter of an hour is 15 minutes. Similarly, half an hour is equivalent to 30 minutes, as 'half' represents the fraction 1/2.

2:00 → It’s two o’clock.

3:15 → It’s three-fifteen or it’s a quarter past three.

12:30 → It’s twelve thirty or it’s half past twelve or it’s half to one.


To indicate the minutes, we can use numbers. Take a look at some examples:

3:15 → It's three fifteen.

7:30 → It's seven thirty.

11:45 → It's eleven forty-five.

Parts of the Day

We use AM to talk about any time before noon. We use PM to talk about any time after noon.

1:00 → It is 1 in the afternoon or it’s 1 PM.

6:00 → It is 6 in the morning so it’s 6 AM.

12:00 → It’s 12 PM or it’s noon.

12:00 → It’s 12 AM or it’s midnight.

Prepositions of Time

When we talk about time, we use different prepositions such as after, to, and past.

10:20 → It’s ten twenty or it’s twenty after ten.

03:50 → It’s three fifty or it’s ten to four.

8:15 → it’s eight fifteen or It’s a quarter past eight.


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