Site Search:

Telling Time #3, by Dennis Oliver

  Telling time is important for daily conversation.
Because telling time has its own rules, here is the
third Hint on this topic.
  3.   Telling Time in English:
Quarter Hours and Half Hours
      A quarter hour (1/4 of an hour) is
15 minutes, a half hour (1/2 of an
hour) is 30 minutes, and three quarters
of an hour (3/4 of an hour) is 45 minutes.
There are special expressions for time
given in quarter hours and half hours:
       

 What Time is It?

It's 2:15.

It's a quarter after 2.
It's a quarter past 2.
It's 15 minutes past 2.
It's 15 past 2.
It's 15 minutes after 2.
It's 15 after 2.

 

It's 2:30

It's half past two.

 

It's 2:45

It's a quarter before 3. /
It's a quarter until 3. /
It's a quarter 'til 3. /
It's a quarter to 3. /
It's a quarter of 3.

It's 15 minutes before /
until / 'til / to / of 3.

It's 15 before / until /
'til / to / of 3.

Special Notes:

  1.  

In English, at the half hour (2:30, 9:30,
11:30, etc.), we do not say "half + the
next hour" or "thirty before (etc.)
the next hour or "half before (etc.) the
next hour":

wrong: 5:30 = *half six / *thirty
before (etc.) six / *half before (etc.) six

right: 5:30 = half past five or five-thirty

     
  2.  

In English, at 15 minutes before an
hour (2:45, 7:30, 10:45, etc.), we do
not say "15 minus (or less) the next hour":

wrong: 7:45 = *eight less 15 or *eight
minus 15

right: 7:45 = seven forty-five or
a quarter / fifteen (minutes) before /
until / 'til / to / of eight

Dave's ESL Cafe is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Banner Advertising | Bookstore / Alta Books | FAQs | Articles | Interview with Dave
Copyright 1995-2007 Dave's ESL Cafe | All Rights Reserved | Contact Dave's ESL Cafe | Site Map