3:00 p.m.. / three p.m.. at end of sentence

Rosi I. S. Parker

Member
Spanish-Nicaragua, English USA
I need help with two things:

1) I understand that numbers are to be spelled out when they are part of a dialog (as in a novel or quoting some one). But, do I write "time" that way, too? I think it would seem clearer to write it as hours. See below:

"He was here, but he left at 3:00 p.m.."
"He was here, but he left at three p.m.."

2) And should "p.m." be followed by a period? It looks horrible, to me.

Help!

Rosi
 
  • panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    One of the delights of modern punctuation, BE style, is that we don't have any problem with this. We don't put .s after initials or abbreviations, so he left at 3pm.

    I don't know how punctuation-heavy styles deal with this kind of thing.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    No, never two full stops.

    One of the delights of modern punctuation, BE style, is that we don't have any problem with this. We don't put .s after initials or abbreviations, so he left at 3pm.
    My impression is that even American texts would omit full stops for 'am' and 'pm', and quite often it is through the use of caps: 'He left at 3PM.'

    Note also that panj omits the space between <3> and <pm> (3pm rather than 3 pm) and I think this is getting very common now.
     

    sun 94

    Banned
    korean
    I am a little bit confused. You guy are saing that I can use both pm and PM without full stop?
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    If you're not writing for an American newspaper, I think you can safely use "pm" without full stops.

    There are four common variations, I believe:
    p.m.
    P.M.
    pm
    PM

    Note that the "capitals" are really "small caps" in the world of typesetting... and while it's fairly easy to do that in MS Word, for example, few people go to the effort. I find capital letters (PM) oversized and ugly, so I stick with the lowercased varieties.

    That only leaves you to wrestle with whether or not you'd like a space between the number and the abbreviation.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    When, many years ago, I was taught Service Writing - ie the correct way of writing in the UK armed forces - there was a total ban on the use of full stops in abbreviations. The reason was simple, abbreviations were used frequently and the repeated use of the full stop destroyed the ribbons in the typewriters.

    Not so important now, but the convention remains. Thus, for me there is never a question about how to end a sentence that ends in an abbreviation - in your example, 3 pm. Unlike panj, I leave a space between 3 and pm.
     

    Rosi I. S. Parker

    Member
    Spanish-Nicaragua, English USA
    Rosi's profile indicates American English... which uses periods. Of course, Rosi should also speak of "periods" in that case, rather than "full stops."
    Yes, AE ;) ... and, I'm not clear about speaking of "periods" rather than "full stops"?

    That only leaves you to wrestle with whether or not you'd like a space between the number and the abbreviation.
    I like, "3:00 p.m." -- for consistency, when I have to say, "5:30" (I normally leave the "periods" out when writing advertising because it's cleaner looking).

    But, I also need clarification on whether I should not even use the "numeral 3" (question No. 1), since it's believed that dialog should use spelled out numbers, not numerals. I don't want to assume that the numerals, by omission, are the only option.

    And, thank you, so much for the excellent help, everybody!
    Rosi
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    Yes, AE ;) ... and, I'm not clear about speaking of "periods" rather than "full stops"?
    Those little dots at the ends of sentences? It's my experience that BE speakers call them "full stops" and I know that AE speakers call them "periods." If you say "full stops" to an AE speaker, you'll likely get a puzzled look or a laugh.

    I like, "3:00 p.m." -- for consistency, when I have to say, "5:30" (I normally leave the "periods" out when writing advertising because it's cleaner looking).
    Yes, I do the same.

    But, I also need clarification on whether I should not even use the "numeral 3" (question No. 1), since it's believed that dialog should use spelled out numbers, not numerals. I don't want to assume that the numerals, by omission, are the only option.

    And, thank you, so much for the excellent help, everybody!
    Rosi
    I always use the numbers in dialog when I'm referring to time... for whatever guidance that offers. :) Clarity is your mission. Fast and easy comprehension is a bonus.
     

    Rosi I. S. Parker

    Member
    Spanish-Nicaragua, English USA
    Those little dots at the ends of sentences? It's my experience that BE speakers call them "full stops" and I know that AE speakers call them "periods." If you say "full stops" to an AE speaker, you'll likely get a puzzled look or a laugh.
    No wonder I was confused, Copyright :confused:. I do not called them "full stops" Is it possible you confused me with another post?


    I always use the numbers in dialog when I'm referring to time... for whatever guidance that offers. :) Clarity is your mission. Fast and easy comprehension is a bonus.
    I agree ... that's what I thought I should do. Thank you!
     
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