Ask the Editor
Archive
Jane Mairs, Director of English language Learning Publishing
How to write the time
Tuesday April 24th 2012
Question
How to write the time
Answer

Question

A reader recently asked whether to write “noon” or “12:00 pm” or “12 Noon” on an agenda for a meeting.

Answer

The short answer is that although there is nothing wrong with “noon,” I recommend using “12:00 pm,” for the sake of clarity and consistency. The other times listed on your agenda will presumably be written with numbers followed by “am” or “pm” (9:00 am, 10:15 am, 1:30 pm, etc.), and it will be easier to understand if “12:00 pm” is written the same way, especially on an agenda that includes a beginning and an end time for each item, as in this example:

10:45 am – 12:00 pm          Presentation on new business development       


On the general subject of how to write times, there are lots of other variables that confuse people.  For example, all of the following are acceptable ways to write 11:30 in the morning:

  • 11:30 am
  • 11:30 AM
  • 11:30 A.M.
  • 11:30 a.m.
  • 11:30am


In addition, when writing the times 1:00 pm, 2:00 pm, etc., it is perfectly acceptable to omit the zeroes and write 1 pm, 2 pm, instead.

Finally, note that while in the US we use a 12-hour clock, some countries use a 24-hour clock, or military time. Therefore, one hour past noon is 1:00 pm on a 12-hour clock, but 13:00 using a 24-hour clock.



I hope this helps.

Archive