How to tell the time in English

English Speaking Topic

Telling time in English

Listen to the telephone conversation between a secretary and a man calling to make an appointment. This speaking topic will help you learn how to make a phone call, how to make an appoinment and how to tell time and date in English.

Secretary Good afternoon. Mr. Kelly’s office.
Caller Hello. It’s William Dean. Can I make an appointment with Mr. Kelly, please?
Secretary Yes, certainly. Can you come on Monday the nineteenth of June at half past three?
Caller No, I’m sorry. I can’t make that. I’m at a conference.
Secretary Well, can you come on Thursday the twenty-second of June at quarter past ten?
Caller Yes, that’s fine.
Secretary OK, so that’s Thursday the twenty-second of June at quarter past ten.
Caller Thank you. Goodbye.
Secretary Goodbye.


Language Notes:

appointment (n)
an arrangement to meet a person or be at a place at a certain time.

to make an appointment
to arrange a meeting with someone.

certainly (adv)
of course, surely, definitely

conference (n)
a meeting for consultation, exchange of information, or discussion

quarter (n)
one fourth of an hour; 15 minutes.

a quarter past ten
fifteen minutes past ten


How to tell the time in English?



A new day starts at midnight when it is 00:00 hour. The morning is a.m which starts from 00:00 to 12:00 at midday or noon. The sunrise is called at dawn at around 06:00 or 06am.

The afternoon is from 12:00pm to 06:00pm when it is sunset or at dusk. The p.m. is from 12:00 midday to 12:00 or 00:00 midnight.


telling time in English


Look at the table below and learn how to read the clock with past and to: the orange color is past and green color is to

1 five past 7 twenty five to
2 ten past 8 twenty to
3 quarter past 9 quarter to
4 twenty past 10 ten to
5 twenty five past 11 five to
6 half past 12 o clock


03:00 – It’s three o’clock. 03:35 – It’s twenty five to four.
03:05 – It’s five past three. 03:40 – It’s twenty to four.
03:10 – It’s ten past three. 03:45 – It’s fifteen to four.
03:15 – It’s fifteen past three. 03:50 – It’s ten to four.
03:20 – It’s twenty past three. 03:55 – It’s five to four.
03:25 – It’s twentyfive past three. 03:15 – It’s a quarter past three
03:30 – It’s half past three. 03:45 – It’s a quarter to four.

Click here to learn more about how to tell the time in English.

Use At+time when giving the time of a specific event.

  • The train leaves at seven o’clock
  • The yoga class starts at a quarter to six.

Use It’s or It is to answer a question that asks for the time right now.

  • What’s the time? – It’s twenty past eleven.
  • What time is it? – It is seven o’clock.

Learn more“On time” and “in time”, what is the difference?


Telling the time exercises


1. What time is it?



2. What time is it?



3. What time is it?



4. What time is it?



5. What time is it?



6. What time is it?



7. What time is it?



8. What time is it?



9. What time is it?



10. What time is it?

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