In tellling-time constructions like the following:

It's half past ten.

It's a quarter to two.

What is commmonly used in AmE before past and to?

My guess is that only half, a quarter and numbers 0 through 29 [possibly followed by minute(s)] are used.

How far off from the actual American usage am I?

  • 1
    I think no Yank would use zero or one in such constructions, and to-the-minute precision is rather alien to the construction with "to," so only multiples of five are likely to to be involved in that. (Where to-the-minute precision is desired, we usually just go with the full "it's eight fifty-six" pattern.) Oh, and we seldom bother to utter the word "minutes" in any of these constructions; maybe "one minute past three" and possibly "two minutes past three" but beyond that just the number without the unit. Jul 27 '16 at 17:26
  • 2
    If it were 3:01 I would say 'three oh one'
    – user180089
    Jul 27 '16 at 17:44
  • 1
    My grandmother and aunt were fond of saying, eg, "It's ten of." (They'd leave you to guess the hour.) But I don't recall hearing that construction in years. With digital everything most of the "past" and "to" notations have become archaic.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 27 '16 at 18:10