Topics related to time in written or spoken English

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42
votes
6answers
25k views

Which day does “next Tuesday” refer to?

At what point does next Tuesday mean the next Tuesday that will come to pass and no longer the Tuesday after the Tuesday that will come to pass? And, when does the meaning switch back? ...
34
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a term to describe an event which happens every 18 months?

Obviously every year is annual. Every two years is biennial. Does the English language have a term for every 18 months?
21
votes
5answers
10k views

Why do we say “last night” and not “yesterday night”?

As from object, is there a rational reason for saying "last night" rather than "yesterday night", though you would say "yesterday morning" and "yesterday afternoon"?
20
votes
5answers
2k views

What method of counting puts Twelfth Night on January 6th?

I know English has (or at least had) some strange usages of eve and night, but I still can’t figure out how December 25th and 12 can be combined to come up with January 6th. (This stems from my ...
19
votes
13answers
2k views

What do you call the time period between notification of an event and the event?

I'm in the situation where I have an event, and I want to notify some people 15 minutes before that event happens (but it could be 30 minutes, or 1 day, or any amount of time). What do you call that ...
19
votes
1answer
54k views

What is the proper name for “AM” and “PM”?

I know that AM/PM is for ante/post meridiem, but what is it actually called? Meridian indicator? 12 hour indicator? Something way more clever?
17
votes
4answers
1k views

Word for “distance in time”

I need the correct English word for the German expression (zeitlicher) Abstand. Abstand means "distance", and zeitlich means "in time". The "distance" between building maintenance dates is about ...
17
votes
4answers
5k views

What phrase is “o'clock” contracting?

I have been intrigued by the word o'clock since I learned English. Although there is an equivalent to this word in my native language (Spanish en punto meaning on point or on the dot) I want to know ...
16
votes
3answers
68k views

What does “8/7c” stand for?

I just saw an update on Facebook saying: Watch Russell present LIVE at the 42nd Annual NAACP Image Awards. Tonight at 8/7c on FOX. What does "8/7c" mean?
14
votes
19answers
6k views

Single word for a very small amount of time [closed]

In French, if I want to quantify a very small amount of time (but not fixed: it can be 5 ms or 0.1 ms) I can use a pouième. Is there an equivalent in English? I'm not looking for an expression but ...
14
votes
5answers
2k views

The difference between “take” and “last”

We say: "the meeting will last two hours". But we say: "how long does the flight take?" Please let me know the difference between last and take and when we should use each.
14
votes
4answers
33k views

How should “midnight on…” be interpreted?

From what I understand, the word "midnight" is usually interpreted incorrectly. Midnight is written as "12am" which would imply that it's in the morning. Therefore, it should be at the start of the ...
14
votes
3answers
8k views

Saying “today morning” to mean “this morning”

As an American, I use the term this morning, but I’ve noticed some Asian Indian coworkers who always say today morning to mean what I mean by this morning. Is this an Indian English “dialectism”? Is ...
13
votes
7answers
11k views

How should one say times aloud in 24-hour notation?

A couple years ago, I switched all my personal clocks 24-hour notation. I live in the US, and 24-hour time is used very, very rarely. So, I haven't been able to listen to anyone say times aloud. ...
13
votes
4answers
2k views

Why “half past” and not “half to”?

When telling time and 30 minutes has gone past an hour, we say “half past”. For instance, half past 4 or half past 5. Why can’t we also say “half to”. For instance, half to 5 or half to 6? Shouldn’t ...
12
votes
5answers
18k views

What does 'ten of six' mean in regard to time?

I am referring of course to the expression describing time. Today a corporate trainer (From north Philadelphia) that is teaching a class at my company used it in the context that the current time was ...
12
votes
8answers
22k views

Precise names for parts of a day

I have learnt these words so far, please correct me if I'm wrong: Dawn, maybe 4am–6am? Morning, maybe 6am–9am? The food for the morning is called breakfast. People greet each other Good morning! ...
12
votes
3answers
764 views

Why is “Saturday” Romanic?

Sunday and Monday are named after the sun and moon (English < Germanic), and Tuesday through Friday are named after Anglo-Saxon/Germanic gods. This seems consistent enough so far, but then we come ...
11
votes
6answers
2k views

Can “crepuscular” and/or “twilight” apply to morning half-light as well as in the evening

I know that's "sorta" two questions in one, but I'm stuck in an argument with a guy who says both words can apply to morning half-light. I disagree and think both only apply in the evening. I think ...
11
votes
7answers
23k views

“In time” versus “on time”

Which one is correct: Submit your work in time. Submit your work on time.
11
votes
4answers
24k views

AM/PM vs a.m./p.m. vs am/pm

I used to think PM/AM was correct, but at some point, I switched to using p.m./a.m. for reasons I can't recall. I know that in practical, casual writing, people tend to use whatever form is most ...
10
votes
4answers
477 views

What exactly is “noonday night”?

In answering the question Is there a term for “midnight” that is like “noon”, I came across the phrase noonday night listed as a synonym for midnight in my copy of Roget's International ...
9
votes
6answers
10k views

Is there a term for the period between midnight and sunrise?

The period between sunset and noon is called "morning", between noon and sunset is "afternoon". Is there a term for the period between midnight and sunrise? Edit/Clarification: Wikipedia defines ...
9
votes
8answers
1k views

How to name a 15-minute period?

In Dutch, we have the word "kwartier" to denote a 15-minute period. It is derived from the word "kwart", which means quarter. It is very common to use this word in both spoken and written language. ...
9
votes
3answers
34k views

What does the phrase “half seven” mean?

I've heard the British term "half seven" (or "half nine," "half five", etc) used to tell time. I can't remember though if it means 6:30 or 7:30 (i.e. half an hour before seven, or half past seven)? ...
8
votes
6answers
696 views

What is “long” doing in “all (time-period) long”?

What part of speech is long playing the part of in the bold parts of the quotations below? For one thing, it shows at a glance how much money is on hand for any particular purpose all month long. ...
8
votes
2answers
357 views

Drink 7 to 10 days after opening?

Is this label telling the consumer that it is best to consume the drink 7 to 10 days after opening it? I know what they are getting at, but I feel like it should say "Best if consumed within 7 to ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there such a thing as a “pre-anniversary”? Or a better word?

I suddenly find myself trying to describe a date that's an exact number of years before a scheduled event and I can't think of a better word to describe it than "pre-anniversary" or maybe even ...
7
votes
9answers
5k views

Alternatives to “Good Night” when sleeping in the afternoon

It seems to be a silly question but I was puzzled when somebody bid me good night, when I was going to sleep at 1:00 PM. If somebody goes to sleep in the afternoon, is it correct to bid him "good ...
7
votes
3answers
16k views

Is there a version of brunch for a meal between dinner and lunch?

Brunch has become quite a common word in the English language. Is there a similar word for a meal in place of dinner and lunch? (A phrase will also do).
7
votes
7answers
35k views

Should I say “have a good night” at 5:00 PM?

We're off work at 5:00PM. I've never tried to say "have a good night" at this time of day. In fact, I wouldn't even say it at all unless I'd like to say it to someone who is heading to bed. When I'm ...
7
votes
5answers
29k views

“For the time being” vs. “for now”

Consider the following passages: A litter made of two rifles and two field jackets would suffice for now. That was good news; another bit was that the EPW was a lieutenant, a regimental REMF ...
7
votes
3answers
9k views

What to reply to a person saying “Good Morning” when my time zone is different? [closed]

When I'm talking to a person in opposite time zone and the person greets with "Good morning" or Good evening/afternoon as per his time, is it ok to reply "Good afternoon" (as per my time-zone) when he ...
7
votes
0answers
341 views

Pronouncing “00's” (as in 2000's) [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the name of the first decade in a century? When talking about decades in the 20th century, it is customary to refer to them using only the last two digits. For ...
6
votes
8answers
8k views

Is it proper to use the word “bandwidth” as it relates to time allotment?

I'm a web developer and I've often heard other technical and developer types say: Sorry, I don't have the bandwidth to take on your project at this time. I started using the term myself and ...
6
votes
7answers
956 views

Is there a single word for a “unit of time”?

If I were to have a text box for someone to enter an integer and dropdown list from which my user would select day(s), hour(s), minute(s) or second(s), is there a single word that would describe what ...
6
votes
5answers
3k views

Can I use “as late as” to express a deadline?

You must submit your homework as late as tomorrow. Does the sentence have the same meaning as the following one? The deadline for your homework submission is tomorrow. To be specific, I ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it correct to say “12:00am”?

I've read in various places the first minute of a day described as 12:00am. Now, whilst I personally prefer to use 24h clock notation and therefore don't have this problem as I can simply describe ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

“In 15 minutes” or “15 minutes later”?

Several years ago, when I was watching a show, it was 15:45 and the show started at 16:00. A foreigner asked me: "When will this show start?" My English is not good, and I never talked to foreigners. ...
6
votes
1answer
830 views

Question about the future “tense”

My daughter, who is in the 4th grade, was asked to answer questions about the following sentence: What time can you meet us at the school on Tuesday? She was asked questions about the usage of ...
6
votes
3answers
16k views

“In the last 3 months” vs “in the past 3 months”

What's the difference between in the last 3 months and in the past 3 months if there is any?
6
votes
2answers
193 views

After 13 years in the 21st century, what conclusion have we come to regarding the short forms of the names of the years?

Do you remember the other Year 2000 problem, regarding the nicknames of the years? If 1999 was "ninety-nine," then what would we call 2001? At the time, answers such as "one", "oh-one", "two-oh-one" ...
6
votes
3answers
10k views

Proper Timezone Acronym Usage - PT vs PDT or PST

What is the difference with using PT (Pacific Time) vs PDT (Pacific Daylight Time) or PST (Pacific Standard Time)? When you write the time, 2:00pm PT, would that be considered incorrect because it is ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

'Tonight' and 'this evening'

If I ask Are you available tonight for a drink? does tonight refer to this evening and/or this night? If not, what would be considered the beginning of the night and the end of the evening? Do ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between yesterday and one day ago?

Do yesterday and one day ago refer to the same time period? If no, what is the difference?
5
votes
6answers
1k views

How to use “summers ago”

It is November 2011 now. If I want to refer to something that happened in August 2009, which phrase do I use? two summers ago three summers ago Or is there a better phrase that conveys ...
5
votes
2answers
715 views

Is there a word that means near-daily?

I am trying to write a document that describes the frequency with which we perform a task. It is usually done daily, however I don't want to be tied to having to do it daily. Is there a more ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

How did “next day” come to mean “day of next week”?

This question touched on the confusion of the common usage of "next Tuesday" to really mean "Tuesday of next week", as opposed to the "soonest upcoming Tuesday". When one considers the actual ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

“At the end” or “in the end”

Which is correct? I am planning to buy some property at the end of 2011. I am planning to buy some property in the end of 2011.
5
votes
3answers
12k views

“In the next two weeks” vs. “next two weeks”

Which one of the following is correct if the writer intends to say a week after next week? My friend and I decided to go to the beach in the next two weeks. My friend and I decided to go to ...