Could you help me on this? In my native language I would speak about the "night" starting from around 11 pm till 4 in the morning. So every time I see an English phrase like "2 o'clock in the morning" I get confused.

  • 4
    "One o'clock in the morning" means one o'clock at night. – Robusto Sep 8 '15 at 14:02
  • Do you think '2 o'clock in the morning' might somehow actually mean '2 o'clock in the afternoon', as that's the only alternative? I suppose I can see your point if someone says '11 o'clock at night' for 11pm, but again, unless you're above the arctic circle, the distinction with '11 o'clock in the morning', or any normal representation of 11am, is surely clear. – JHCL Sep 8 '15 at 14:10
  • Yes, English usage is confusing. We'd talk about 'night driving' from dusk till say dawn, but 'one (etc) o'clock in the morning'. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 8 '15 at 14:28
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    I always related it to what I was doing. If I have to get up, it is 1 in the morning, if I have not yet gone to bed, it is 1 at night. – mplungjan Sep 8 '15 at 14:41
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    The really annoying people are those who include 12.00am or 12.00pm on announcements, especially airlines. What are you do suppose if you see that the flight leaves at 12.00am on 18th September? 12.00 is neither am nor pm, it is either noon or midnight. – WS2 Sep 8 '15 at 14:45

Actually, its a bit confusing because even in English, both (morning and night) could be correct depending on the context.

Firstly, its fine to say that 11PM to 4AM is night time, because the sky is obviously dark outside and visibility is almost non-existent.

But its also correct to say "2AM in the morning" because all the international timezones consider 12:00 AM midnight to be the time when the date changes. And since by definition, morning is the time when a day starts or begins, its perfectly fine to say "I'm writing this answer at 2AM in the morning" because the day (17th June) has just started two hours ago.


Morning means after I wake up. Night means after I go to bed. 1 o'clock in the morning means you've woken me up so knock off that damn racket. 1 o'clock at night means I've have fun staying up late so stop complaining about the racket I'm making. So yes they both mean 1 am.

The way we talk about time has a lot to do with how we feel about it.

1 pm is of course expressed as 1 o'clock in the afternoon.

  • Fun is that 12 noon is 12 m., and 12 midnight can be either 12 p.m. or 12 a.m., depending on your inclination. – JEL Sep 10 '15 at 3:18
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    12pm is always noon. 12 am is always midnight. – Jim Jun 17 '16 at 4:43

The dark hours after 12 midnight can colloquially be referred to as either morning or night. It is considered morning because it is ante meridian (a.m.), but can be considered night because the sun isn't up.

My personal experience indicates that anything between 4:00 a.m. and 12 noon typically isn't referred to as "night". Reasons? Here is some speculation:

  • During the winter months, the sun sets before 5:00 p.m. in many parts of the country, so "five o'clock at night" could refer to either 5:00 a.m. (it's still dark) and 5:00 p.m. (the sun has set).
  • During the summer months, the sun rises before 6:00 a.m. in many parts of the country.
  • Nobody calls the day, night. – tchrist Sep 8 '15 at 14:05
  • 'The country' seems to assume something about membership demographics. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 8 '15 at 14:25
  • @EdwinAshworth I can't speak for the UK regarding this usage, but the ambiguity of "night" during the winter would apply in the UK as well as the US, though the ambiguity of "night" during the summer would be abbreviated (since the UK doesn't keep DST). – Paul Rowe Sep 8 '15 at 14:29
  • I'm just rather concerned that 'the country' isn't specified. It doesn't appear to be 'the one' where 'the language' largely originated. – Edwin Ashworth Sep 8 '15 at 14:40
  • Daylight Saving is practiced in the UK, by the way. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_Time_in_Europe – JHCL Sep 8 '15 at 14:46

Anything AM can be referred to as morning, and anything PM as night. Generally these will be broken into morning (AM), afternoon (PM), evening (PM) and night (PM). People sometimes confuse the earlier AMs because it's still dark outside, but 2 AM is 2 in the morning, not night.

  • what time would you say represents 'the middle of the night'? – JHCL Sep 8 '15 at 17:47
  • @JHCL midnight. – tox123 Feb 2 '16 at 13:36

1:00 am is not in the morning.

Since 12:00 am is considered midnight then the hours that follow 12:00 till dawn or sunrise is night time.

IMO, morning starts at sunrise and not before.

  • Standard English usage would disagree with you. – Azor Ahai Jun 17 '16 at 4:33

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