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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.

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2 Answers 2

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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, 2012 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. Feb 3, 2012 at 14:11

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