# How do you Brits tell time?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andrew W, Jul 30, 2002.

1. ### Andrew W Supporting Actor

Joined:
Jun 19, 2001
Messages:
531
0
Trophy Points:
0
In the US we use very boring terms like "nine thirty" for 9:30 where Brits say "half past nine" which sound much more civilized.

What do you say for something like 9:23? do you say "twenty three past nine" or do you round up and just say "half past"?

Would 9:40 be "two thirds past nine"?

What about "quarter til ..." or expression for before the hour?

Andy

2. ### BrianB Producer

Joined:
Apr 29, 2000
Messages:
5,205
1
Trophy Points:
0
nine twenty three.

twenty minutes to ten.
quarter till three = 2:45.
quarter past three = 3:15.

half nine = 9:30

3. ### Jack Briggs Executive Producer

Joined:
Jun 3, 1999
Messages:
16,738
129
Trophy Points:
0

4. ### andrew markworthy Producer

Joined:
Sep 30, 1999
Messages:
4,762
12
Trophy Points:
0
It tends to be the case that Brits will use the 'past' and 'to' system for whole multiples of five minutes. Thus:

9.05 = 'five past nine'
9.10 = 'ten past nine'
etc to
9.30 = 'half past nine'
then
9.35 = 'twenty=-five to ten' etc

It would be more usual to say 'five past nine' rather than 'five *minutes* past nine'.

For minutes other than whole multiples of five, we would tend to use the 'numerical readout' system. Thus, 9.23 would be called '9.23' rather than '23 minutes past nine'. That is, if we didn't approximate it to the nearest multiple of five. Thus, 9.23 might become 'it's just gone twenty past nine' or 'it's nearly twenty-five past nine'.

All this tends to apply to reading the time from an analogue face. For digital clocks, the chances are that someone will just read the digital readout, and 9.30 would be read out as '9.30'.

5. ### Yee-Ming Producer

Joined:
Apr 4, 2002
Messages:
4,375
16
Trophy Points:
610
Location:
"on a little street in Singapore"
Real Name:
Yee Ming Lim

6. ### Andrew W Supporting Actor

Joined:
Jun 19, 2001
Messages:
531
0
Trophy Points:
0

7. ### Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

Joined:
Dec 15, 1998
Messages:
2,041
0
Trophy Points:
0
Andrew, I don't know what US you live in, but I hear people saying half past all the time, but quite often on TV I hear Brits saying half nine or whatever. I use terms such as ten til or quarter after and I hear many others do the same.

8. ### Rachael B Producer

Joined:
Jun 5, 2000
Messages:
4,703
31
Trophy Points:
1,610
Location:
Knocksville, TN
Real Name:
Rachael Bellomy
What a silly thread! Everybody know the Brits tell time by the shadows at Stonehenge.

Joined:
Jun 8, 2000
Messages:
112