Telling the time

A blog post about a recent topic in my class regarding telling the time. In simple English we might say “It’s eleven fifteen” (11.15am). However, usually we might say “It’s a quarter past eleven”. How does this work?

Key words: Half, quarter, past, to

Key phrases: quarter past, half past, quarter to

Why? “It’s a quarter past the hour” means it’s 15 minutes since this hour began.

Time - Quarter past and half past. Whiteboard photo by Andrew Blyth

Time – Quarter past and half past. Whiteboard photo by Andrew Blyth

For instance:

  • 11.15am is “It’s a quarter past eleven” or “… a quarter past the hour”.
  • 11.30am is “It’s half past eleven”
  • 11.45am is “It’s a quarter to twelve”

Also, we can add and subtract information, and use numbers:

  • “It’s a quarter past”
  • “It’s half past”
  • “It’s a quarter to”
  • “Let’s meet at a quarter past”
  • “I have a booking for half past two”
  • “We’re late. We’ll get there at five minutes to twelve”
  • “We’re late. We’ll get there at five minutes to” (11.55am)
  • “Let’s meet at twenty past three this afternoon” (3.20pm)
  • “The booking is for ten past eight this evening” (8.10pm)

If you have any questions, please ask or leave a comment below.

Typing speed

It’s interesting that many people cannot type in the most efficient way. I learnt to type as a child, and then professionally after university. I wish that I had been properly taught when I was in high school, because I would have been able to get my assignments done a lot quicker. Nowadays, for any job in an office or government department in western countries, you need to show a certificate of typing achievement.  What typing speeds do you need?

  • For typical government jobs: About 25 words per minute (wpm)
  • The average typist does about 41 wpm
  • Men about 44 wpm, women 38 wpm
  • About half of the population cannot exceed 50 wpm
  • Fastest ever was Stella Pajunas in 1946 at 216 wpm on an electronic typewriter.
  • The Dvorak keyboard is about twice faster than the common Qwerty type.
CC Unsplash 2014,

CC Unsplash 2014,


  1. Typing Study, yourself to touch type,
  3. Typing Test English.


World Teachers Day

It’s World Teacher’s Day every year on the 5th October (Wikipedia, World Teacher’s Day.Org). The day in which we don’t necessarily celebrate teachers, but instead, promote education. Fight ignorance and superstition with facts, knowledge, and rational thought. Teach and learn how to sense, analyse, think, and communicate.

We will ensure that teachers and educators are empowered, adequately recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems. ... Incheon Declaration, World Education Forum, 2015 (UNESCO).

World Teachers Day, Nelson Mandela quote.

World Teachers Day, Nelson Mandela quote. Image from,