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The proper way to write "time" in English? [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2014-5-16 23:21:11 |Display all floors
What is the right way to write "time" in English?
When we google it, we can find various ways of expressions, for example, 5:00PM, 5.00PM, 5:00p.m., 5.00p.m., 5:00 in the afternoon, 5 in the afternoon and 5PM. Some people say "5 in the afternoon" may be more proper in business. But it seems that in China there is no fixed expression, we just choose one as our wishes.
But the terms "p.m." are abbreviations of the Latin post meridiem, so I wander if in other foreign language like German, it can also be used.

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Post time 2014-5-27 10:25:21 |Display all floors
5:00PM, 5:00p.m
These two are my choice

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Post time 2014-6-4 08:35:34 |Display all floors
There are many accepted ways in English to write the time.

Firstly there is the "civil" clock which divides the day in to two equal sections of 12 hours.  Properly the period before "Midday" is called a.m. which is short of the Latin, ante meridiem, or "before midday".  Once the meridian is crossed it becomes p.m. which means "post meridiam".  These terms are only found in the English Language.

The meridian (meridiam) is defined scientifically as the point where the sun reaches it's highest point on the arc it scribes through the sky from dawn until dusk. However this definition is now only used in sciences like astronomy as one complete revolution of the Earth takes a bit under 24 hours, to be exact 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4 seconds.  This lead to the development of a simpler system where midday is fixed and the day is evened out in to 24 hours.  The excess time is consolidated in to a leap day every 4 years when an extra day is added to the calendar (29th Feb).

There are no universal ways of saying what the time is, it varies depending on the time system adopted by a country.  In English speaking countries where the 12 hour clock is predominant you end up with expressions such as 7.30AM,  11pm, 9.34 a.m. or 7.15 P.M. the use of either in capitals or lower case, with or without fullstops/periods is acceptable.

Then there are expressions such as 8 tonight, 8 this evening, 10 in the morning, Friday morning at 11.  1 O'clock in the afternoon, 5.30 after work etc.  Too further add to the confusion English and other languages often employ specific spoken working for various times, such as "Tis 5 and 10 past 6" meaning the time is between 5 and 10 past 6.  or "Quarter past" meaning it's 15 minutes past the hour, or "Quarter to", meaning it's 15 minutes before the hour" or "Half past" meaning it's roughly 30 minutes past the hour.  Plus there are other names as well, the 'witching hour (bewitching time) is Midnight to 1am in English folk law, this was the time witches and other foul demons were out and about and good folks were supposed to be asleep and safe in their beds.



The other main time units are the 24 hour clock. This commences at midnight and uses 24 hours numbered sequentially followed by minutes and then seconds and if needed decimal seconds. It's laid out in ISO 8601 which defines the standard for international use.   

24 hour time has only one correct manner of writing and it is HH:MM:SS.decimal second  eg: 17:42:34.284 being 17 hours, 42 minutes, 34.284 seconds.

In the USA and Canada in particular this time format is known as Military time.

This is by no means comprehensive but it does I hope give you an idea of the complexity of the issue.
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Post time 2014-6-4 11:48:08 |Display all floors
Ratfink Post time: 2014-6-4 08:35
There are many accepted ways in English to write the time.

Firstly there is the "civil" clock which ...

It really helps. Thank you very much

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Post time 2014-6-4 12:06:43 |Display all floors
xiaoqingmuzi Post time: 2014-6-4 11:48
It really helps. Thank you very much

You are most welcome.
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Post time 2014-6-22 12:51:29 |Display all floors
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