Telling Time In English

There are two common ways of saying what time it is.

  • 6:05 – six (oh) five or five past six
  • 6:10 – six ten or ten past six
  • 6:15 – six fifteen or a quarter past six
  • 6:25 – six twenty five or twenty five past six
  • 6:30 – six thirty or half past six
  • 6:45 – six forty five or a quarter to seven
  • 6:50 – six fifty or ten to seven
  • 7:00 – seven o’clock

The expression o’clock is used only at the hour.


  • Wake me at six (o’clock).
  • Wake me at ten past six. (NOT … ten past six o’clock.)

In American English after is often used instead of past. It is also possible to use of, before and till instead of to.

  • Ten past six (= 6:10, Great Britain)
  • Ten after six (= 6:10, US)
  • Ten to nine (= 8:50, GB)
  • Ten of nine (= 8:50, US)

Asking what time it is

You can use any of the following expressions.

  • What time is it?
  • What is the time?
  • Have you got the time? (Informal)
  • Could you tell me the time?
  • What time is it by your watch?

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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