It's 2.15 a.m.: how do you say it?

marcogaiotto

Senior Member
Italian
Hello! Would you mind giving a piece of advice?
"What's the time?" 2.15: It's --------> (a) quarter past two at night (1)
--------> (a) quarter past two a.m. (2)
--------> (a) quarter past two in the evening (3)
--------> two fifteen at night/ a.m./ in the evening (4 I/ II/ III)
Are all options acceptable? Does "in the evening" sound natural at 2.15 at night? I'd rather say (1) and (2) or (4 I/ II). "In the evening" is strange to me... Thanks a lot in advance...
 
  • Juhasz

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    I should note that I almost never say "a quarter ti/to/past/after [some hour]," so that might be clouding my judgement, but to my ear "a quarter past two a.m." and "a quarter past two at night" sound unnatural. I would only use "two fifteen a.m./at night."
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    I should note that I almost never say "a quarter ti/to/past/after [some hour]," so that might be clouding my judgement, but to my ear "a quarter past two a.m." and "a quarter past two at night" sound unnatural. I would only use "two fifteen a.m./at night."
    'Quarter past two' is my normal way of saying that time, and so 'quarter past two in the morning' is what I would say. I don't think I'd say 'at night' if it's well past midnight, though I might say 'in the middle of the night'.

    With 'a m', I would say out the numbers: 'two-fifteen eh em'.
     

    JamesM

    Senior Member
    A quarter past two would work fine for me, but I think many of those who grew up in a digital time world really have no sense of quarter-past/half-past. It's all just digits to them. :) Those digits display in the same location all the time, so there's no time that is past or before another time, spatially.

    My son, a very bright engineer, has to take a moment to translate analog clock time into digital time. It's simply not natural to him.
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Ok, The Newt, but do you think the options with "at night" and "a.m." are both ok? Thank you so much!
    I assume, marco, that you meant these "options" ...
    (a) quarter past two at night (1)
    --------> (a) quarter past two a.m. (2)
    ...
    --------> two fifteen at night/ a.m (4 I/ II/ ...)
    Contrary to The Newt, I would reply "No" to three out of four of those. The only one I'd use would be "two fifteen a.m." Otherwise, like natkretep, I'd say "quarter past two in the morning".

    Ws
     
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