This is an English language lesson about  telling time.

Here were are a few examples of the keyword expressions.

Two o’clock

Half past six

Quarter past six

Quarter to six

Five past eight

Ten past eight

Twenty past eight

Twenty five past eight

Five to eight

Ten to eight

Twenty to eight

Twenty five to eight

One minute to eight

Six minutes to eight

A minute past eight

Six minutes past eight.

Midday.  Noon. (twelve o-clock in the middle of the day)

Midnight (twelve o-clock in the middle of the night)

Dawn (the end of the night and the beginning of daylight)

Dusk (the end of daylight and the beginning of night)


All of these keyword expressions show telling time in English.

Keep in mind the following comments

  1. Use ‘past’ to tell the time before the half hour of thirty minutes
  2. Use ‘to’ to tell the time after the half hour of thirty minutes
  3. Use ‘minute’ or ‘minutes’ after the time number if the number of minutes is not 5 10 quarter 20 or 25
  4. Count the minutes backwards after the half hour (eg 25 20 10 5)
  5. Do not add ‘minute’ or ‘minutes’ if the number of minutes if 5 10 quarter 20 25
  6. Quarter to and Quarter past are used instead of 15
  7. The half hour is for 30 minutes pasty the current hour and n ot 30 minutes to the next hour

Here are further examples of telling time which forms a complete basis for telling time.

Practice saying and writing both the digital and clock style time.

7 a.m.              seven o-clock

3.59                 one minute to four

7.30                 half past seven

7.45                 quarter to eight

8.15                 quarter past eight

7.10                 ten past seven

11.28               twenty eight minutes past eight

1.47                 thirteen minutes to two

6.05                 five past six

7.54                 six minutes to eight

3.33                 twenty seven minutes to four

12.12               twelve minutes past twelve


Further useful time expressions are:

Time’s up                    It is the end of the lesson.  No more time.  Time is up.

Time flies                    (Doesn’t time fly!)

Calling time                The tennis player is calling time and retiring after many years

Doing time                  The killer is doing time in the jail

Keeping to time          It is very important to keep to time

Killing time                 I have a couple of hours to kill before catching my flight

Timeless                      The best things in life are timeless

Untimely                     His arrival at my house was untimely

Mistimed                     The football player mistimed the challenge


Do you have time? (this is the wrong question.  It is asking if you are free to talk or meet)

Do you have the time?

What time is it? (not What time it is)

What’s the time or What is the time?

Do you have a watch? (Someone may ask you this with the intention of knowing the time)


Good luck everyone in your practice of telling the time.


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