What would be the most frequent/common way of telling the time when the minute is between 01 and 09? Is there any difference between BE and AmE?

5:03 ->

1) five oh three

2) five three

3) three past five

  • The speaking clock (UK) says Five; three, and thirty seconds pip pip pip. But person to person 'five-o-three;' or 'three minutes past five.' 5 oh 3 in a planning meeting; Three minutes past five to meet a friend.
    – Hugh
    Aug 26, 2015 at 14:35
  • Welcome to EL&U; as this question is about basic usage, however, it might be better-suited to our sister site for English Language Learners. The short answer is that the typical AmE usage would be five-oh-three, though three after five or three past five would be understood, and it would be substantially similar if using 24-hr time (which is very rare in the US, even in things like airline timetables). I venture that five-three would not be well-understood, and would avoid it with American audiences.
    – choster
    Aug 26, 2015 at 14:49
  • “Five three” is how tall my daughter is, not a time.
    – Jim
    Aug 26, 2015 at 19:24
  • 'Five foot three' is how tall my daughter is, not 'five three'. Conventions differ. However, although 'five past three' is standard (at least in the UK), 'four past three' is not. The minutes is not optional here. // I'm fairly sure this is a duplicate. Aug 26, 2015 at 21:21
  • Is this the morning? Then I'd probably say: "It's about five in the morning" OR "5 am" people don't bother with two or three minutes. If I wanted to be more precise I'd say: "It's nearly five past five [in the morning/afternoon]"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 29, 2015 at 20:43

1 Answer 1


In the U.S., the time would be five oh three.

(And the daughter would be five three.)

  • 1
    But if you're reading from a digital clock, it's easy to say: "It's five ten" or "it's five seventeen". Not sure about the 03 though, I might be tempted to ignore it and say "It's almost five past five"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Aug 29, 2015 at 20:57
  • @Mari-LouA - Thanks for reminding me. One could say "It's a couple of minutes past three. Aug 30, 2015 at 5:30

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