♔ TELLING THE TIME

key_smallIn English, to tell someone what the time is, we can say "The time is..." or, more usually, "It's...".
 
Here is a typical dialogue:
 
Question: What's the time, please? / What time is it, please?
 
Answer: It's six o'clock.  /  It's six.
 
theclock
 
 
 
 

There are two common ways of telling the time.

 
1.  A Formal but easier way:  you say the hours first and then the minutes.
 
Example: 5:20 - It's five twenty.
 
For minutes 01 through 09, you can pronounce the '0' as oh.
 
Example: 10:03 - It's ten (oh) three.
 
 
2.  A More Popular way: You say the minutes first and then the hours. Use past and the preceding hour for minutes 01 through 30. Use to and the forthcoming hour for minutes 31 through 59.
 
Example: 5:20 - It's twenty past five.
 
 
* In American English:
 
 
Beside PAST Americans often use AFTER.
 
Ex: 06:10 = It’s ten past/after six.
 
 
But in time expressions with half past it is not usual to replace past by after.
 
 
Beside TO Americans often use BEFORE, OF or TILL.
 
Ex: 05:50 = It’s ten to/before/of/till six.
 
 

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