Which of the followings is the most common way to say 3:15 in American English?

  1. A quarter past three
  2. A quarter after three
  3. Three fifteen

Also, in the last example "three fifteen", where do you put the stress (fif-TEEN or FIF-teen)?

  • Just curious, are you asking as a Brit, or a non-native-English speaker? – IQAndreas Dec 25 '13 at 12:25
  • I think 1 and 3 are both equally common. – Scott Dec 25 '13 at 19:15
  • As a non-native speaker. I'm more inclined to use American English but we learned the "X after Y" form in school (British English.) – Fabien Snauwaert Dec 26 '13 at 3:53
  • 1
    @Fabien: as a British English speaker I would never say a quarter after three – Henry Dec 28 '13 at 23:25

It's most commonly three fifteen /ˈθri fɪfˈtin/. In the latter word, the stress is on teen.

The other two choices are also fine, with past somewhat more common than after. The article a isn't always included.

  • 2
    Agreed. In these days of digital clocks, three fifteen is becoming even more common than in the past. And (for 2:45) quarter of three is losing ground against two forty-five. – GEdgar Dec 25 '13 at 14:49

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