Nothing else to add, I just want to make sure.

  • 2
    Don't make the mistake of assuming that a noun has to be a concrete noun or an abstract noun, Dee. They've been arguing about things like 'hole' (is it distinguishable by sight, or is it deducible, its surroundings being distinguishable by sight?) for years. I'd say that 12:30 has more of an 'existence' than a hole but less than a clock. But then we could start worrying about whether there is a deeper referent (the actual instant in time) behind the unique identifier (12:30) assigned to it. Leave it to the psycholinguists. Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 14:38
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2 Answers 2


Times of day,when expressed as digits, are, in essence, numerals, and numerals, in the words of the ‘Longman Grammar of Spoken and Written English’, ‘form a rather self-contained area of English grammar.’ Numerals aren’t nouns of any kind, because they cannot be modified in the way that nouns can be modified. We can’t speak of a nice 12:30 or the 12:30 I was looking at yesterday.

  • The worst seven o'clock I remember? The most enjoyable lunchtime for months? Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 18:08
  • If it's just considered a number word, then it would be a determiner. As for the nouns not being modified in the way nouns are, how would you modify length, patience, love, etc... (the "idea" form of nouns, ie., abstract nouns), with an adjective?
    – Dee
    Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 18:16
  • @TimLymington. Sure, but those aren't numerals, and in any case the worst seven o'clock is an unlikely, but not impossible, thing for anyone to say. I've edited my answer slightly in the hope of making it clearer. Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 18:16
  • @Dee; Truly, madly, deeply. (OK, a cheap shot, but I couldn't resist. Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 18:20
  • The argument is seen to be contestable when one considers noon and midnight: we can’t speak of a nice noon or the noon I was looking at / had yesterday either, yet these words, synonymous with time-descriptor numerals, are considered nouns. And some numerals are used in plural forms: He was in his 80s in the 1960s. The temperature is in the mid-thirties. Commented Feb 17, 2013 at 23:54

Is it breaktime yet? Every breaktime is a great time!
I can replace this with: It is 10:00 am yet? Every 10:00 am is a great 10:00 am! I call this a noun.

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