Midnight, noon 12am, 12pm?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by mordapa, Jan 5, 2005.

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  1. mordapa New Member

    Spain - Spanish
    My boss says 12am is midnight and I think it is noon. Who's right? I hope it is me...A psychological victory, you know.
  2. dave

    dave Senior Member

    UK - English
    When I asked the same question of someone far wiser than me some years ago, I was told that neither 12.00am nor 12.00pm exist as correct expressions of time.

    In the 12-hour clock, midnight is simply 12.00 midnight, and midday is simply 12.00 noon.

    Of course, in the 24-hour clock any confusion is avoided by using 00.00 and 12.00.

    I am very intereted to know if my understanding is correct, as I have been using this format for some time!
  3. Rob625

    Rob625 Senior Member

    Murlo (SI)
    English - England
    Strictly speaking, neither of you is right. A.m. stands for "ante meridiem", which means "before midday", while p.m is "post meridiem", after midday. Noon is midday, so it is neither am nor pm.
  4. gatoviejo

    gatoviejo Senior Member

    Hi mordapa!
    Change your BOSS - he is right. :thumbsup:
    learn the clock :D

    Salu2 g@to :D
  5. Artrella Banned

    Yes!!! I agree with you, Rob!!! Besides it is not 12 am or pm. Because there is only one 12 and the other is 0:00.

    So 12:00 is midday and 0:00 is ...?? midnight?

    To Gato: Nice your clock!!! I thank God it is in English, because the hours in German.... uuuuhhh!!! :confused: :p :confused:

    Art :) ;) :p
  6. kenny74 Member

    Technically it is 12 midnight or 12 noon. If you have a digital watch, however, it will flash up 12am for midnight, so I suppose your boss is closer.
  7. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    The AM/PM indicator switches at 12:00.

    11:59 PM --> 12:00 AM --> 12:01 AM

    12:00 AM is midnight. For obvious reasons, "midnight" and "noon" are used instead of "12:00". Note that it is redundant to say "12 noon" or "12 midnight" -- of course it is 12, that is the definition of the word.
  8. elroy

    elroy Motley mod

    Chicago, IL
    US English/Palestinian Arabic bilingual
    I agree with Nick.

    12:00 p.m. = noon; signals the entry into post meridium
    12:00 a.m. = midnight; signals the entry into ante meridium

    If you stop and think about it, Rob, technically there is no midday, because there is an even number of hours (and minutes, and seconds) in a day! The day is divided into 24 hours, 12 of which pertain to "AM" and 12 of which pertain to "PM." "AM" runs from 12:00 a.m. (midnight) to 11:59:59 a.m.; "PM" runs from 12 p.m. (noon) to 11:59:59 p.m. If you calculate correctly, each section of the day does contain exactly 12 hours (minus the confounded transitional second!)

    For these reasons, I maintain that 12:00 p.m. is noon and 12:00 a.m. is midnight.
  9. Tobycek Senior Member

    England, English
    Although 12 o'clock shouldn't be either am or pm, the fact is that if someone writes 12am they mean midnight, if they write 12pm they mean noon/midday.
    12am would never ever be midday - sorry Mordapa!

    By the way, I actually disagree slightly with you Nick :D
    I think saying "12 noon" or "12 midnight" is OK, because it is most natural to begin a description of the time in English with a number, whether it's 3, 6, 11 or 12.
    So people would naturally say 12, and then go on to clarify which one they mean.
    If the Devil's looking for a new advocate...??
  10. Tormenta

    Tormenta Senior Member


    Well, if the day is divided into 24 hours, where does the second "12" come from? :confused: :rolleyes: :D
  11. abc Senior Member

    Vietnam, Vietnamese
    From a clock with only 15 digits and one face.;):D


    To me and the people I'm living with noon is 12:00 p.m. and midnight is 12:00 a.m..


    Yes, it's redundant, but we sometimes need redundancy for emphasis and/or clarification.
  12. camry jewel richardson Banned

    Philippines- (Filipino, English)
    hello ...

    just for better understanding and for someone not cofusing
    just make or use military time .... like 12hrs for 12:00 noon
    and then 24hrs for 12:00 midnight??! sounds not confusing,

  13. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    Just FYI:
    00:00 is midnight in military time. There is no hour 24.
  14. Artrella Banned

    OK! We have 12:00 is midday and 24:00 is midnight, so no confusion here!
    Here, digital clocks have 24 hours, no a.m no p.m!

    ;) :) :p
  15. gatoviejo

    gatoviejo Senior Member

    Hi Art! :)
    My wrist watch is a digital-clock and has the choice of two modes.
    So I can change;
    either: 12 hour mode (it shows 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. too)
    or: 24 hour mode (from 00:00 to 23:59)
    Midnight is 00:00. I've never seen 24:00 on any whatch.
    What do you think about?

    kisses g@to :p
  16. Lancel0t

    Lancel0t Senior Member

    Philippines - Filipino/English
    Well, as far as military time is concern, the time starts at 0000H up to 2359H that is why you can't see 2400H on your watch. :)
  17. Artrella Banned


    Yes, Gato! You are right! When it turns to 23:59 then it comes 00:00!!! :eek: Oh! But I'll try to find one watch that has 24:00!! You know me!!! I'm so curious!! HA HA HA !!

    Kissie Gato!! Art :) ;) :p
  18. camry jewel richardson Banned

    Philippines- (Filipino, English)
    hi ....

    thanks for correcting me, i'm just human and i'm not perfect,
    i do appreciate it very much ........


  19. camry jewel richardson Banned

    Philippines- (Filipino, English)
    wanna find one??! i'll discover one for u ..... ha ha ha!!!

  20. Nick

    Nick Senior Member

    Western USA
    USA, English
    Then you would have to minus one hour every time you looked at your watch. Sounds like a good gift :p
  21. kens

    kens Senior Member

    Canada - English
    My watch has a 24!!!! :) --- but it's analog, does that count? It has a 12 where the six should be, and a 24 where the twelve should be. So I know whether it's morning or afternoon!

    Does that make you happy, Artrella? ;)
  22. akldb New Member

    England English
    So assuming there is an ambiguity about whether 12pm is midday or midnight. What date is it at midnight. I have to get a proposal in by 12pm on the Friday 1st. Feb. Is this midnight on Thursday/Friday, midday Friday or midnight Friday/Saturday.

    Shame people can't be more explicit or do what insurance companies do and use the 24 hour clock but never have the insurance start/finish exactly on the hour. Then there is no ambiuity. I note that "United States Government Printing Office Style Manual 2000, Section 9.54: References to Meridian in Statements of Time" uses 12pm for midnight.
  23. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    12 o'clock has vanished from my vocabulary. This was the subject of an earlier, and much longer thread with some serious arguments.

    In my vocabulary there is "noon" or "midnight", so my count up might look like this:

    11:59 a.m., Noon, 12:01 p.m. ...11:59 p.m., Midnight, 12:01 a.m.

    There is no room for 12:00 a.m. or 12:00 p.m. in my vocabulary. And judging by the length of this thread there is enough confusion over the meaning of these that you are more communicative by not using them than by using them. Stick with "noon" and "midnight" and no one will be confused.
  24. SwissPete

    SwissPete Senior Member

    94044 USA
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    1. But if you enter times into an Excel spreadsheet, you have to know if 12 is AM or PM.
    2. The argument about using 24-hour time is totally logical, but it will never happen in the US. Say "it's 15:07", and watch the reaction...
  25. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English

    Easy. I will simply never use a computer, and thus never encounter Excel.
  26. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    There is a very high probability that your proposal has to be submitted by noon on that date.
    Phone them and ask.
    That will give you a definitive answer.
    Asking us will give you yet another long discussion - or it would if I hadn't closed the thread :)
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