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Old 07-10-2011, 08:57 PM   #16
Hellmark
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I had though "five thirty five" would seem less formal.

In the States, I have heard "quarter of six" but it's rare and pretty much archaic now vs. five-forty-five.
Guess depends on where you are. Here I hear stuff like "Quarter till Six" or simply "Quarter till", all the time. When people are giving the exact time, they'll say "Five forty seven", but often it's rounded off to quarters and halves, are at least the nearest 10. "10 past 7" is common.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:18 PM   #17
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To me, five thirty five almost sounds more military... a small step away from "oh five thirty five".
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:20 PM   #18
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I suspect it's largely a matter of whether or not you grew up with analog clocks or digital. If you're used to digital clocks, it's quite natural to give the exact time. With analog clocks - ones with a clock face - it's rather more natural to round off based on the position of the hands. At 5:45, the minute hand is on the left side, and it therefore closer to the next hour than the last one.
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:21 PM   #19
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I sometimes here the exact minute given from a watch/phone readout, but usually it's a rounded number, or "just about seven". I don't get the impression most younger folks use "quarter" much, nor really "half past" either. I have run across "half seven" in a British book, and at first didn't know whether that was 6:30 or 7:30?
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Old 07-10-2011, 09:49 PM   #20
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British Time

I always thought "half seven" meant half past seven. At least I hope that's correct as I read a lot of British mysteries. But, so far, it hasn't made any difference in my life, and I've been reading mysteries for 50 years.

It's 0535 hours or 1735 hours, if you've spent any time in the military. Or, since I'm an engineer who still wears an "old time" digital watch, it may be 1737 or 5:37.
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Old 07-11-2011, 12:33 AM   #21
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It's always twenty five past or a quarter to in this house, but we're old fogies, and grew up with analog clocks. When it gets to the half hour though, something thirty or halfpast seems interchangeable.
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Old 07-11-2011, 02:42 AM   #22
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I always thought "half seven" meant half past seven. At least I hope that's correct as I read a lot of British mysteries. But, so far, it hasn't made any difference in my life, and I've been reading mysteries for 50 years.
I read it differently... Whenever I see "half seven", I read 6:30. So, half past six. (it's the way it works in Dutch )

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It's 0535 hours or 1735 hours, if you've spent any time in the military. Or, since I'm an engineer who still wears an "old time" digital watch, it may be 1737 or 5:37.
Even though we do use the 24-hour clock here, during normal speech, we'll say "five over half six". For both 5:35 and 17:35. The context will make clear which of the two is meant. (five over half six tomorrow morning?)
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Old 07-11-2011, 03:26 AM   #23
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I read it differently... Whenever I see "half seven", I read 6:30. So, half past six. (it's the way it works in Dutch )
German, too. But then some of them use forms like "quarter seven" (6:15) and three-quarters seven" (6:45), too. Confuses the heck out of some of their compatriots, too. Anyway, "20 to 5" and similar is very common.
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Old 07-11-2011, 04:49 AM   #24
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I think it depends on age, most people of my age (early twenties) and under would say five thirty five, because we use digital clocks. The only exception is for half and quarter past which is more likely to be said as half past six rather than six thirty.

Older people tend to say twenty five to six as they were brought up with analogue clocks. Personally if I hear that it takes me a few seconds to figure out what the person is going on about.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:21 AM   #25
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Hmm. I've never really thought about this before. I'm 21 and I always use quarter past, ten past, five minutes to, etc. Even if someone asks me the time and I'm looking at an digital clock I'll still say it like that instead of just reading out what's in front of me.

Although I'm more likely to say six-thirty than half past six.
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Old 07-11-2011, 05:21 AM   #26
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Older people tend to say twenty five to six as they were brought up with analogue clocks.
And as for some of us fogies:

My colleagues have mentioned that they have noticed that I'm quite likely to use some really old-fashioned English when giving a time. At hh:25 or hh:35, if I glance at my analogue watch, I will usually say "five-and-twenty past" or "five-and-twenty-to". This colloquialism was quite common where I was dragged up, rural Devonshire in the 50s and 60s.

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Old 07-11-2011, 05:40 AM   #27
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Smile Half of a quarter to.......

Taustin's digital/analogue suggestion is a good point - if not timely ? Sorry....

From my maternal family side - deep south Irish - I still use the "half" and "quarter of" phrases occasionally, I hardly notice them until the odd person says "when ?".

Certainly I remember my early rural Irish time-keeping being fairly independent of watches of any sort, mainly things like "after dark", "before sunset", "mid-day", and the like, until second-hand watches filtered down. Then it was always very general, the "half 3" for example being more of a guide than any accurate statement.

In sharp contrast to the
" any idea what time the train arrives please ?"
" Oh , around 3.47.."

That's definitely the fault of the digital watch.........
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Old 07-11-2011, 06:01 AM   #28
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In sharp contrast to the
" any idea what time the train arrives please ?"
" Oh , around 3.47.."

That's definitely the fault of the digital watch.........
I'd have said "oh, around a quarter to four". Or "at thirteen to four". Saying "about" when you're going into such detail (47), is silly!
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:00 AM   #29
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As Chicago said, it's "twenty five or six to four".
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Old 07-11-2011, 07:12 AM   #30
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5:35 is "just gone half five" and it stays there until "nearly quarter to six"

Can't be havin' with these new fangled digital times
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