At five o'clock

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moseen

Senior Member
Farsi
Hello everybody!
in the sentence below, is "five o'clock" countable or uncountable? why doesn't it have "the"?

I'll see you at five o'clock.
 
  • LVRBC

    Senior Member
    English-US, standard and medical
    Maybe "why" is not the best question - much of English usage simply is what it is. We say, "I'll see you at five o'clock," because that's what we say. I can see you are looking for generalizable rules, and that may be a good way to approach some languages, but not this one.
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    Maybe "why" is not the best question - much of English usage simply is what it is. We say, "I'll see you at five o'clock," because that's what we say. I can see you are looking for generalizable rules, and that may be a good way to approach some languages, but not this one.
    "five" is a definite, why doesn't it have "the"?
     

    LVRBC

    Senior Member
    English-US, standard and medical
    Perhaps the question that would best help you learn English is not "why" but "how." How does one say X in English?
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Two things:

    (1) 'Five o'clock' is derived from 'five of the clock' (meaning 'five according to the clock'), and so there was originally a the in the expression.

    (2) Think of 'five' as functioning as a kind of a name - it is the name of the hour. When we use numbers as name substitutes, we do not use articles. If have numbered items in this way, we say, 'This is (number) three' and so on without any article. We also say, 'This is our neighbour from number seven' (referring to a house number).'
     

    moseen

    Senior Member
    Farsi
    Perhaps the question that would best help you learn English is not "why" but "how." How does one say X in English?
    Thank you.
    You appear to be assuming that everything definite needs a definite article. It's not the case.
    Thank you.
    Because we don't say it that way, which overrules anything you might have heard or read.
    Thanks a lot.
    Two things:

    (1) 'Five o'clock' is derived from 'five of the clock' (meaning 'five according to the clock'), and so there was originally a the in the expression.

    (2) Think of 'five' as functioning as a kind of a name - it is the name of the hour. When we use numbers as name substitutes, we do not use articles. If have numbered items in this way, we say, 'This is (number) three' and so on without any article. We also say, 'This is our neighbour from number seven' (referring to a house number).'
    I understand thank you for your help.
     
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