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Midday/ Midnight

Cours gratuits > Forum > Forum anglais: Questions sur l'anglais || En bas


Midday/ Midnight
Message de alishisap posté le 19-07-2013 à 15:58:28 (S | E | F)

I would like to know if it is necessary to use "midday/midnight" or "twelve/nought" when the time is not "on the dot".
I know one we must say "it is midday/midnight".
However, for example, which of the following sentences is true?
"It is five minutes to midday" or "it is five minutes to twelve" (11.55 am)?
"It is half past midnight" or "it is half past nought" (00.30 am)?
Thank you in advance.

Modifié par lucile83 le 19-07-2013 18:41

Réponse: Midday/ Midnight de jonquille, postée le 19-07-2013 à 17:22:48 (S | E)

I'm not sure how it is said in the UK, but here (northeast USA), we would say:
"It's five minutes to twelve." (Or, maybe to be specific between noon/midnight, you might hear: "...5 minutes to noon.)
For your second sentence, I think it's more common to hear: It's twelve thirty (in the morning).
Hope this helps!

Réponse: Midday/ Midnight de kadzona, postée le 19-07-2013 à 19:03:10 (S | E)
Hello from the UK, where we often rely on the good old BBC for reassurance about the correct way to say things.

So: 12.00 midday is usually spoken of as "twelve noon" and 12.00 in the middle of the night is "midnight".

As for 11.55 a.m. - that's how it's usually said. "It's eleven fifty-five" or even "It's five (minutes) to twelve". People can usually tell whether it's midday or midnight by the amount of light in the sky!

The late night radio stations say things like "It's five minutes to midnight": as for 00h 30 - if they say anything at all, they say "It's half past midnight".

Just to complicate things, SOME British people don't know that 12h.00 is neither a.m. nor p.m. - that it is, simply, the "M" - meridian - the middle of the day. So some write/say 12.00a.m. for the middle of the night and 12.00p.m. for the middle of the day; this doesn't make what they say/write correct.

It is desirable to use 12 midnight and 12 noon where clarity is needed. To avoid ambiguity, railways, bus lines, airlines and insurance companies use 12:01 am for an event that begins during the day and 11:59pm for the ending of a day.

Réponse: Midday/ Midnight de alishisap, postée le 19-07-2013 à 19:48:15 (S | E)
Thank you so much.

So, to sum up, depending the place where we are, there are various ways to say that.
But usually, as you said, we can say "twelve" around midday (between 11.31 am and 12.30 pm) and "midnight" between 11.31 pm and 12.30 am.
I find it is not logical to use 12.00 am for midnight and 12.00 pm for midday, but I think we get used to it.

See you !

Réponse: Midday/ Midnight de traviskidd, postée le 20-07-2013 à 02:26:11 (S | E)

While the "m" in a.m. and p.m. stands for "meridiem" (midday), it would be strange indeed to write "12:00m" for noon. Now, "a.m." is simply the period of time beginning at midnight and lasting up to but not including noon, and "p.m." is the period of time beginning at noon and lasting up to but not including midnight.

11:55a.m. is said "eleven fifty-five", or "five (minutes) 'til/to/of twelve/noon" (the choice of preposition depends largely on the region).

12:30a.m. is said "twelve thirty (in the morning)". In the U.S. we rarely say "half past" (it sounds quite British), and we *never* say "nought". (The use of "nought" as "zero" is archaic and almost completely obsolete, and in any case the hour of midnight is (almost) always twelve, and never zero.)

See you.

Réponse: Midday/ Midnight de alishisap, postée le 20-07-2013 à 10:30:31 (S | E)
Thank you for this clarification.
Eventually, in , it is better to use "twelve" in all cases to be sure.
But I have another question : if we want to tell exactly the time of a passed fact, do we have to use "a.m." and "p.m." in oral or rather "in the morning" etc. ?
For example, in oral, would we say "she played tennis yesterday at seven o'clock a.m./p.m." or rather "[...] at seven o'clock in the morning/evening" ?
By the way, thank you lucile for your correction, it is enjoyable.

Réponse: Midday/ Midnight de violet91, postée le 20-07-2013 à 11:18:11 (S | E)
Hello ( sorry , I had started too fast and forgotten about it )

Three -two-one-zero ...go !
What a discussion for rather simple things ! Thank you jonquille and travis for precising American English doesn't always work as British English does .I didn't know ' half past ' sounded British !
Most people know everywhere the 'm' in ´a.m' and ´p.m' refers to the 'M ' in Greenwich Mean Time ´ .
Mean as displayed in huge red letters and figures above the line drawn on the ground of Greenwich ( museum) being the abbreviation of Meridiem ( Latin for middle of the day) .
I may be lucky or so ...but totally used to speaking and listening to natives (GB) , I shall say I ´ ve never heard any confusion .
They would say midday or midnight just like us ; their sights are as good as ours ! All British children are taught very early ( first or second year at primary schools I should think ) what ante-meridiem and post - meridiem mean and how it became a.m or p.m .
French pupils learn that while studying English at secondary schools :included in the first year curriculum .
True too , these letters are necessary in written information ( trains, all means of conveyance ,radio and television programmes, timetables , appointments ) for people to avoid any confusion .
True that they would go ' five to 12 a.m ' or 'five past 12 ' , or just ´five to' or ´five past ´in an oral exchange , people knowing what they mean ( visible context ) .
- 11:55 a.m (or A.M ) can be said : five to twelve / five minutes to twelve / ...finally as digital clocks read : 11.55 ( French marking) : eleven fifty five .( schoolteachers generally much prefer the two first ways .)

Have a nice day ! It is twelve minutes past eleven a.m , by the way .

Réponse: Midday/ Midnight de bluestar, postée le 20-07-2013 à 12:07:56 (S | E)

To answer alishihap's last question:
For example, in oral, would we say "she played tennis yesterday at seven o'clock a.m./p.m." or rather "[...] at seven o'clock in the morning/evening" ?
What would usually be said here is:
She played tennis yesterday morning (or evening) at seven.
- "o'clock" is usually omitted as being understood.

Réponse: Midday/ Midnight de gerondif, postée le 21-07-2013 à 06:42:35 (S | E)
normalement, en grammaire "classique", on ne peut pas rajouter ou enlever de minutes à un nom commun:
noon,(soleil vertical, pas d'ombre portée), midday(milieu de la journée) et midnight (milieu de la nuit) ne sont pas des nombres, il ne peut pas être "milieu de la nuit moins dix" ou "soleil vertical et quart", donc , normalement,it is ten to midnight coince !

Par contre, comme am et pm portent à confusion, on peut préciser: It is twelve noon / it is twelve midnight.

Alors que minuit est la fin de la journée pour nous, c'est le début du jour suivant pour l'anglais, donc it is twelve a.m. signifie le tout début du jour suivant et it is twelve pm le tout début de l'après midi (post meridiem) (voir le post de Traviskidd)

Après, ne confondez pas un horaire et une heure:
il est seize heure trente: It is four thirty pm (horaire)
il est quatre heures et demie: it is half past four pm /in the afternoon (heure)
il est la demie: it is half past

limite du français:une seule traduction francaise pour:
il est six heures cinq: it is five past six (heure) // it is six o five (horaire)

par contre on différenciera plus facilement:
Viens at seize heures quinze: Come at four fifteen pm
Viens à quatre heures et quart: Come at a quarter past four (pm) (in the afternoon)

Réponse: Midday/ Midnight de alishisap, postée le 21-07-2013 à 11:11:17 (S | E)

D'accord, je comprends mieux le pourquoi du comment, notamment en ce qui concerne la distinction entre un horaire et une heure en anglais.
Tout dépend du contexte.
Merci également à violet91 et bluestar pour leurs précisions.
J'ai conscience d'être pointilleux sur ce point qui n'a a priori pas l'air extrêmement important mais c'est le genre de chose qu'on utilise quotidiennement, c'est pourquoi je me suis permis de vous embêter.

Modifié par lucile83 le 21-07-2013 12:06

Réponse: Midday/ Midnight de traviskidd, postée le 21-07-2013 à 13:49:29 (S | E)

Just to confirm what bluestar said, we rarely say "a.m." or "p.m." when speaking. Usually the context of the situation makes it clear, but if not we will say "in the morning/afternoon/evening".

See you.


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