a.m. / p.m.

matilia

Member
Swiss French
Hello!
I've got some questions about the time...

Can we use am or pm after any time?
- it's five to ten am?
- it's half past four pm?
- it's twenty-two past three am?

And similarly can we use in the morning / afternoon / evening after any time?
- it's half past eight in the morning?
- it's nine thirty in the evening?

In short, my question is: can we use in the morning / afternoon / evening and the am/pm system interchangeably?

Thanks for your help, I'm supposed to teach that to my students and I don't even know it myself!
 
  • wildan1

    Moderando ma non troppo (French-English, CC Mod)
    a.m. and p.m. are used to clarify or be officially precise--they are not needed in most cases.

    We'll have a late lunch at 1:30 doesn't require the further clarification of p.m.

    She starts work at 8 -- same thing.

    My plane is arriving at 9, however, will immediately get the response: AM or PM?

    PS - The correct punctuation for these abbreviations is with a period/full stop after each letter - a.m. / p.m. If they are capitalized, however, no punctuation is used: AM / PM
     

    matilia

    Member
    Swiss French
    I'd say you can use both to clarify but "am/pm" just sounds clumsier after times with (half-) past/(quarter) to etc. in them.
    Which would mean that you'd use am/pm only when you give numbers without any prepositions? Like:
    - it's eight thirty am
    - it's three pm
    - it's nine fifty am
    ...
     

    mdb

    Senior Member
    UK English
    Which would mean that you'd use am/pm only when you give numbers without any prepositions? Like:
    - it's eight thirty am
    - it's three pm
    - it's nine fifty am
    Well yes. It's certainly not a grammatical rule but I think it just sounds clumsy in the other cases.
    I also agree with everything wildan said though, it's not that often that either are used really because of how many times the information can be inferred.
     

    matilia

    Member
    Swiss French
    Well, that's certainly true too!
    In any case things are much clearer now! I hope it'll be the case for my students too :)
    Thanks!
     
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