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.