How to say the time in English – Examples and Reference

Analogue Digital Normal Use Hints Timetables, TV, etc.
6:00 It's 6 o'clock.
6:05 It's 5 past 6. past and the previous hour (here: 6) It's six oh five.
6:15 It's quarter past 6. It's six fifteen.
6:30 It's half past 6. It's six thirty.
6:35 It's 25 to 7. to and the following hour (here: 7) It's six thirty-five.
6:45 It's quarter to seven. It's six forty-five.
6:55 It's 5 to 7. It's six fifty-five.
7:00 It's 7o'clock.

1. The 12-hour-system in English

In English there is no 24-hour-system (sometimes it is used on TV and in timetables).

15:00 is 3 o'clock (p.m.) (on TV: fifteenhundred). That's why you use a.m. (Latin: ante meridiem) and p.m. (post meridiem) in situations where it is necessary to point out that you want to say in the morning or in the evening. In other situations (or when it is clear that school starts in the morning and the party in the evening) it is left out.

Germany England
0:00 midnight
0:01 12:01 am
8:00 8:00 am
12:00 noon
12:01 12:01 pm
14:00 2 pm
18:00 6 pm
23:59 11:59 pm

2. When to use o'clock

o'clock (abbreviation: of the clock) only on the hour

3. Quarter past and to

quarter → 15 minutes
half → 30 minutes

4. The minutes

multiplies of 5: leave out the word minutes (but: 6.01 → It's one minute past 6.)