12 o' clock

Sicanius

Senior Member
Italian
Hi everybody,

I hope this question does not sound too silly, but I was wondering whether it is correct/common to say 12 o' clock for an appointment. I don't know why but I have the feeling that the expression midday or midnight would be preferred instead... Am I wrong?

Example (I know that you probably don't use o' clock in writing, but here I intend spoken English):
- Shall we meet at 12 o' clock?

Other doubt. If you say midday, does it only mean 12pm? In Italian (at least in my region) mezzogiorno is often used to indicate lunch time in general, and not precisely 12pm... Is it the same in English?

Many thanks,
Sic.
 
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  • edfnl

    Senior Member
    italian
    E comunque se qualcuno mi dice "ci vediamo a mezzogiorno" e si presenta alle due me lo mangio °_°
    Insomma, non so in Sicilia, ma io se dico mezzogiorno intendo proprio le 12:00, minuto più minuto meno (salvo diverse specifiche!)
     

    Sicanius

    Senior Member
    Italian
    E comunque se qualcuno mi dice "ci vediamo a mezzogiorno" e si presenta alle due me lo mangio °_°
    Insomma, non so in Sicilia, ma io se dico mezzogiorno intendo proprio le 12:00, minuto più minuto meno (salvo diverse specifiche!)
    Sì, infatti, sono spesso sucessi fraintendimenti di questo tipo :rolleyes:
    Ma mi chiedevo se in inglese succede la stessa cosa... E se quindi "at noon" (come mi ha giustamente corretto Paul) e "12 o' clock" sono assolutamente intercambiabili nell'inglese parlato...

    Also, what about "at midday"!

    Sic.
     

    baldpate

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    Hi Sicanius,

    in everyday speech, I would not normally add o' clock : "Shall we meet at 12?" ; "I'll be there by 5, at the latest" ; "The party starts about 8 - bring a bottle".

    If I want to emphasise the preciseness of the time I am stating, I might however add o' clock, often accompanied by another word or frame emphasising exactness.
    "The boss said I must be at my desk by 9 o' clock every morning, no later."
    "The performance start at 8 o' clock sharp! Be there, or they won't let you in"
    "I've got a very full schedule on Tuesday. I can see you for 5 minutes only, at 11 o'clock precisely"

    As far as midday is concerned, I think we would tend to say noon if we wanted a word to mean the precise time 12 o' clock. But to me it is a rather formal, 'scientific' word : "Noon is the time of day when the sun is at its highest", "The air temperature reading should be taken at noon each day in shaded location of the roof of the Meteorological Office".
    I don't think I would say "I'll meet you at noon outside the restaurant".

    I would tend to use midday (without any qualification) to mean at approximately 12 o' clock. However, if I said "I'll meet you at midday precisely", I mean 12 on the dot, and you'd better not be late!
     

    petereid

    Senior Member
    english
    ....mezzogiorno is often used to indicate lunch time in general, and not precisely 12pm... Is it the same in English? Yes.

    "Midday" is ok for me. It is never precisely 12.00 noon just "approximately".
    "See you in the pub at midday"
     

    edfnl

    Senior Member
    italian
    What I meant is that I completely disagree with :mezzogiorno is often used to indicate lunch time in general, and not precisely 12pm.
    For me (Lazio) mezzogiorno is only 12.00 and not 12.45 or 13.20. JUST 12 pm!!!
     

    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    What I meant is that I completely disagree with :mezzogiorno is often used to indicate lunch time in general, and not precisely 12pm.
    For me (Lazio) mezzogiorno is only 12.00 and not 12.45 or 13.20. JUST 12 pm!!!
    I agree with you, edfnl! When I say that I'll meet someone at midday/noon I mean at 12.00 pm, otherwise I would say around midday/noon. (I prefer midday)
     

    Sicanius

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you very much baldpate and peterid :):)

    At the beginning I though it was a trivial question, but I actually learnt a lot from your answers! ;)

    Let me try so summerize your comments to see if I have understood correclty:
    a) the expression at noon is quite formal or technical, and generally avoided in everyday speech;
    b) o' clock is not generally used (and its mainly proper of written English); unless followed by anoterh phrase indicating exactness;
    c) the expression at midday is correct when arranging appointments, it is common in everyday speech and does not indicate exactly 12pm, but more or less lunch time (unless followed by other specifications).

    PS: edinl is definitely right! the Italian word mezzogiorno in many regions (and perhaps in standard Italian) means exactly 12pm. I was aware of this, that's why I added "at least in my region" (i.e. Sicily) :D


    EDIT: Hi Charles, I just saw your post! Thank for your comment. What if you say "Shall we have a meal together some day at midday?". Does it still mean 12pm sharp?
     

    edfnl

    Senior Member
    italian
    Si, avevo immaginato che sapessi che nel resto d'Italia (nel resto che conosco io almeno) si intende 12pm e basta, ho pensato che fosse comunque necessario specificare, per evitare fraintendimenti!!
     

    merse0

    Senior Member
    Italy - Italian
    What if you say "Shall we have a meal together some day at midday?". Does it still mean 12pm sharp?
    Un'eccezione al significato di mezzogiorno = le 12.00 è la seguente:

    "il pasto di mezzogiorno" inteso come seconda colazione/lunch in alternativa al "pasto della sera" inteso come cena/dinner.
     

    TrentinaNE

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (American)
    a) the expression at noon is quite formal or technical, and generally avoided in everyday speech; :cross:
    No. At noon is an alternative to saying 12:00. When I say "I'll meet you for lunch at noon," I am expecting my friend to be there at 12:00, not 12:30 or 2:00. :)

    c) the expression at midday is correct when arranging appointments, it is common in everyday speech and does not indicate exactly 12pm, but more or less lunch time (unless followed by other specifications).
    This may be true in Britain and/or Australia, but not in the U.S. I rarely hear midday, and certainly not when arranging appointments, because it is too vague. In AE, mid-morning, noon, and mid-afternoon are much more common than mid-day.

    Elisabetta
     

    baldpate

    Senior Member
    UK, English
    It looks as if I may be in the minority in feeling "noon" to be a rather formal word. But at least we are all agreed that there is nothing approximate about it : it means 12 midday, precisely.
     
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    You little ripper!

    Senior Member
    Australian English
    EDIT: Hi Charles, I just saw your post! Thank for your comment. What if you say "Shall we have a meal together some day at midday?". Does it still mean 12pm sharp?
    Sic, that sentence sounds strange in English. Would you say, Perché non andiamo a pranzo qualche giorno alle dodici?? In English it is more natural to say, Let's have lunch together some day!, and then when we had decided on the day, What about midday/noon/12 pm?

    It looks as if I may be in the minority in feeling "noon" to be a rather formal word. But at least we are all agreed that there is nothing approximate about it : it means 12 midday, precisely.
    I'm part of that minority then, because the reason I said earlier that I prefered midday to noon is precisely for that reason - noon sounds too formal. :)
     
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