How to Tell the Time in English

Time is part of our everyday lives. If we know the time it can stop us from being late and missing important moments.

This is a good video that explains really well how to tell the time

Ways to Tell the Time in English

There are two common ways of telling the time.

  • Formal way to tell the time in English
  • Informal way to tell the time in English

Formal Way to Tell the Time in English

Say the hours first and then the minutes.

7:00 It is seven o’ clock
7:45It’s seven forty-five
8:00It is eight o’ clock
8:15It’s eight fifteen
9:00 It is nine o’ clock
9: 26It’s nine twenty six
10:00It is ten o’ clock
10:15It’s ten fifteen
11:00 It is eleven o’ clock
11:20It is eleven twenty
12:00 It is two o’ clock
12: 35 It is twelve fifteen
1:00 It is one o’ clock
1:15It is one fifteen
2:00It is two o’ clock
2:25It is two twenty five
3:00It is three o’ clock
3:50It is three Fifty
4:00 It is four o’ clock
4:15 It is four fifteen
5:00 It is five o’ clock
11: 40It is eleven Forty

Popular Ways to Tell the Time in English

Say the minutes first and then the hours.  

Use past and the preceding hour for minutes 01 through 30.

7:15It’s fifteen minutes past seven
7:30It’s half past seven
8:15It’s quarter past seven
8:30It is half past eight
9:20It’s twenty minutes past nine
9:30 It’s half past nine
10: 25It’s twenty five minutes past ten
10:30 It’s half past ten
11:30 It’s half past eleven
2:15 It’s quarter past two
2:30 It is half past two

Use to and the forthcoming hour for minutes 31 through 59

7:45It’s fifteen minutes to eight
8:45It’s a quarter to nine
1:40It’s twenty minutes to two
2:40It’s twenty to three
4:45It’s a quarter to five
5:45 It’s a quarter to six
6:45It ‘s a quarter to seven
6:50It’s ten to seven
7:45It is a quarter to eight

Prepositions used with Time

atI will meet you at 7
inWe will see you in an hour

How to Ask for the Time in English

Excuse me. What time is it, please?
It’s exactly eight o’clock.
Excuse me. Do you have the time, please?It’s half past twelve.
Excuse me. Could you tell me the time, please? It’s about half past eleven.
What time is itIt is ten past ten.
Do you know what time is it? It is 4:20
Do you happen to have the time? Sure, it is 3:00
What time does the store open?It opens at 8:00
What time does the bank close?It closes at 4:00 PM
What time does the movie start?The movie starts at 5:00
What time should we meet?We should meet at 4:00
When does the supermarket open?The supermarket opens at 8:00
When does the store open?The store opens at 9:00

Common Collocations and Expressions with Time

A collocation is made up of two or more words that are commonly used together in English. Think of collocations as words that usually go together.

Spend timeI need to spend time with my family
Hard timeI had a hard time solving the math test
Time Flies Time flies when you are having fun
Time is moneyDon’t forget that time is money
On timeYou have to be on time for the next meeting
In the nick of time I made it just in the nick of time
Free timeI don’t have a lot of free time
Waste timeI don’t like wasting time, time is money
Make time forI need to make time for my family and friends
Run out of timeWe are running out of time
Pass the timeExercising is a good way to pass the time
Kill the timeI killed a little bit of time writing on my blog
Take your timeTake your time and let me know when you are ready
Have a great timeI had a great time last night
Take some time offI need to take some time off, I am tired

How to Tell the Time in English Worksheets

These are some how to tell the time in English Worksheets

  1. How to Tell the Time Worksheet (Longman – Worksheet)
  2. Telling the Time Using Clocks  (
  3. Telling the Time (

How to Tell the Time in English Exercises

These are some how to tell the time in English Exercise

Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English