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How should one say times aloud in 24-hour notation?

Which words can be used to say time in 24 hour format? If, for instance, for 4:00 one might say "four o'clock", is it also correct to say "sixteen o'clock" for 16:00? Is it different for a casual conversation and for a presentation of some kind? It is also probably different for US and UK, and maybe for Europe too.


It's rare for people to say "sixteen o'clock". Many people would be more likely to convert the time to 12-hour clock and say "four PM" out loud.

It's common to read out 24-hour times that end in 00 as "hundred".

  • 16:00 - "sixteen hundred"
  • 16:45 - "sixteen forty-five"
  • 16:05 - "sixteen oh-five"

Sometimes, you hear something like "sixteen hundred hours". This is sometimes described as "military time". It sounds illogical, but it is commonly understood.

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In the UK, 0400 is o four hundred hours. 1600 is sixteen hundred hours. No one says sixteen o'clock. Otherwise, much as Slim says.

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  • Interesting, I think of "x hundred hours" mostly an American thing. – slim Feb 3 '12 at 14:06
  • @slim: And, as you say, military. On reflection, I think you're right though. We're just as likely to say 'o four hundred' and 'sixteen hundred', if it's clear that it's time we're talking about. – Barrie England Feb 3 '12 at 14:11

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