Telling the Time, Definition and Examples

English Telling the Time, Definition and Examples


English Telling the Time, Definition and Examples


There are two ways to tell the time;

The first of the ways to say the hours; As we see on a digital clock display, it is to say the hours and minutes respectively.

  • It is eight thirty.
  • It is two fifteen.

How to telling the time expressions;

Only o’clock ”is used at full hours.

  • It is eleven o’clock.


The half past expression is used when the clock shows half.

  • It is half past one.


We use quarter past to say it’s a quarter past the hour.

  • It is quarter past three.


We use quarter to to indicate that the clock is a quarter.

  • It is quarter to one.


We need to pay attention to the hours when the last or the remaining minutes before the time comes. We need to use PAST (past) and TO (after) in half of the time. In cases where the time is expressed in a 12-hour time zone, AM and PM are used with the said time.

“AM” means before noon. Night is an abbreviation used to specify the time zone between 24:00 and 12:00 noon. PM stands for afternoon. An abbreviation used to specify the hours between 12:00 and 24:00.

  • My sister called me at 8 AM.

In this sentence, AM is used to express the time.  AM is used from 12 noon to 12 noon.


The day before yesterday 
  • They arrived the day before yesterday.


  • Emma left home yesterday morning.


Last night 
  • I didn’t sleep too well last night.


In the afternoon
  • It was very hot in the afternoon.


This morning 
  • What did you do this morning?


Last week 
  • Last week, my car broke down.


Immediately / straight away 
  • The telephone rang, and she answered it immediately.


  • The report had been prepared earlier.


Five minutes ago 
  • Have you seen a little girl here five minutes ago?


  • I have piano lesson today.


Next week 
  • Their wedding is next week.


  • We are going to a zoo with the class tomorrow.


  • I think I’ll go to bed early tonight.


This week 
  • I will be in the office this week, so you should give me a call.


Next month 
  • The next Batman movie will be released next month.


  • It will be dark soon.


  • In ten minutes’ time / in ten minutes I’ll be ready in ten minutes.

I’ll call you in an hour.



Other time expressions

  • I’ve worked here for ten years.


  • He’s never been to Australia.


  • We rarely use this method in our studies.


  • We only see each other occasionally.


  • Sometimes, Grandpa would tell us stories about his childhood in Germany.


  • If you wash your face too often, it can get too dry.


Usually / normally 
  • I usually wear plain colour shirts.
  • I normally park behind the café.


  • Rebecca, as always, was the last one to arrive.


Asking The Time

We can use some questions for asking the time which are given below;


  • What time is it?
  • What is the time?
  • Do you have the time?
  • Do you know what time is it?
  • Could you tell me the time, please?
  • Do you happen to have the time?
  • Have you got the right time?
  • What time do you make it?


Answering the questions


  • It’s exactly or about or almost or just gone …
  • Sure, it is 3:00
  • Sorry, I am not wearing a watch.
  • 2:30
  • It is 4:20
  • It is ten past ten.
  • The time is 8 o’clock.