Date and time notation by country: Wikis


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     dd-mm-yyyy      dd-mm-yyyy and yyyy-mm-dd
     mm-dd-yyyy      mm-dd-yyyy and dd-mm-yyyy
     yyyy-mm-dd      mm-dd-yyyy, dd-mm-yyyy, and yyyy-mm-dd

Different style conventions and habits exist around the world for dates and times in writing and speaking. Examples:

  • The order that a year, month, and day are written.
  • How weeks are identified.
  • The 24-hour clock and/or the 12-hour clock.
  • The punctuation used to separate elements in all-numeric times.

Conventions for date and time can also differ substantially in writing and speaking.

International standard ISO 8601 defines unambiguous written all-numeric big-endian formats for dates, such as 1999-12-31 for December 31, 1999; and time, such as 23:59:59 for 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds (one second before midnight).

These standards notations have been adopted by many countries as a national standard (e.g., BS EN 28601 in the UK and similarly in other EU countries, ANSI INCITS 30-1997 (R2008), and FIPS PUB 4-2 in the United States (FIPS PUB 4-2 withdrawn in United States 2008-09-02[1])). They are, in particular, increasingly widely used in computer applications.


Australia has signed up to use the ISO 8601 notation through the national standard AS 3802:1997.[citation needed]



The most common written date format in Australia is d/m/yyyy (e.g., 31/12/2006). This is the recommended short date format for government publications.[2] The first two digits of the year are often omitted in everyday use and on forms (e.g., 31/12/06).

The format month_name date, year is also common. For example The Australian and The West Australian both use January 22, 2010 on their printed newspapers. The month precedes the date – i.e. the reverse of the numeric only d/m/yyyy – but this format is unambiguous because the month name is used.

Weeks are most often identified by the last day of the week, either the Friday in business (e.g., "week ending 19/1") or the Sunday in civilian use (e.g., "week ending 21/1"). Week ending is often abbreviated to "W/E" or "W.E.". The first day of the week or the day of an event are sometimes referred to (e.g., "week of 15/1"). Week numbers (as in "the third week of 2007") are not often used, but may appear in some business diaries in numeral-only form (e.g., "3" at the top or bottom of the page). ISO 8601 week notation (as in 2007-W3) is not widely understood.


The 12-hour notation is the default in Australia. The 24-hour clock is widely understood, and commonplace in technical fields such as aviation, computing, navigation, and the sciences. The before noon/after noon qualifier is usually written as "am" or "pm". A colon is the preferred time separator[citation needed]. Thus, a time looks like 3:51 pm.

Austria, Germany, Switzerland


The traditional all-numeric form of writing Gregorian dates in German is the little-endian day.month.year order, using a dot on the line (period or full stop) as the separator (e.g., “31.12.1991” or “15.4.74”). Some typesetters prefer the space after the second dot to be slightly larger than the first. Years can be written with two or four digits; the century may also be replaced by an apostrophe: “31.12.’91”. Numbers may be written with or without leading zero, but commonly they are only discarded in days when literal months are being used (e.g., “09.11.”, but “9. November”). In everyday practice, leading zeros seem to be much less common in Germany than in Austria and Switzerland. The use of a dot as a separator matches the convention of pronouncing the day and the month as an ordinal number, because ordinal numbers are written in German followed by a dot.

In 1995 in Germany, this traditional notation was replaced in the DIN 5008 de:DIN 5008 standard, which defines common typographic conventions, with the ISO 8601 notation (e.g., “1991-12-31”). The latter is beginning to become more popular, especially in IT-related work, and in 2001 the traditional format was re-introduced to DIN 5008 so it still can be used if there is no misunderstanding. The expanded form of the date (e.g., “31. Dezember 1991”) continues to use the little-endian order and the ordinal-number dot for the day of the month.

Week numbers according to ISO 8601 and the convention of starting the week on Monday were introduced in the mid 1970s (DIN 1355). These conventions have been widely adhered to by German calendar publishers since then. Week numbers are prominently printed in calendars and are widely used in the business world. It is common to hear people say “I’m still free in week 36” or to have a company write “We expect delivery in week 49”. Especially in business communication, written or spoken, it is common to use week numbers with the abbreviation of Kalenderwoche (literally: calendar week), so the last example would be in German "Wir erwarten die Lieferung in der 49. KW" or just a little shorter "Wir erwarten die Lieferung in KW 49".

Television broadcast weeks continue to start on Saturdays, two days before the DIN 1355 week.

Weekday names are commonly (and according to DIN 1355) abbreviated with two letters (Mo, Di, Mi, Do, Fr, Sa, So), whereas month names are abbreviated (if at all) with three letters (Jan, Feb, Mrz, Apr, Mai, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Okt, Nov, Dez).


In written German, time is expressed practically exclusively in the 24-hour notation (00:00–23:59), using either a colon or a dot on the line as the separators between hours, minutes and seconds. Example: 14:51 or 14.51. The standard separator in Germany was the dot (DIN 1355, DIN 5008) until 1995, when the standards changed it to be the colon, in the interest of compatibility with ISO 8601. The traditional representation with dot allows to drop the leading zero of hours and is usually followed by the literal string “Uhr” (e.g., “6.30 Uhr”). Just as with the date format, leading zeros seem to be less common in Germany than in Austria and Switzerland although the Austrian Standard OENORM also recommends the zero only for table-form dates like "Abfahrt: 08:30 Uhr" and not for running text.[3]

In spoken language, the 24-hour clock has become the dominant form during the second half of the 20th century, especially for formal announcements and exact points in time. Systematic use of the 24-hour clock by German TV announcers, along with the proliferation of digital clocks, may have been a significant factor in this development. In Switzerland, only the 12-hour clock is used in speech.

A variant of the 12-hour clock is also used, in particular in informal speech for approximate times. On some radio stations, announcers regularly give the current time on both forms, as in "Es ist jetzt vierzehn Uhr einundfünfzig; neun Minuten vor drei" ("It is now fourteen fifty-one; nine minutes to three").

There are two variants of the 12-hour clock used in spoken German regarding quarterly fractions of the current hour. One always relates to the next full hour, in other words, it names the fraction of the currently passing hour. For example, "dreiviertel drei" (three-quarter three, see table below) stands for "three quarters of the third hour have passed".

The other variant is relative; this one is also used for multiples of five minutes.

Time Absolute Relative
14:00 “zwei Uhr/zwei/um zwei” (two o’clock)
14:05 “fünf nach zwei” (five past two)
14:10 “zehn nach zwei” (ten past two)
14:15 “viertel drei” (quarter three) “viertel nach zwei” (quarter past two)
14:20 “zwanzig nach zwei” (twenty past two) / “zehn vor halb drei” (ten to half three)
14:25 “fünf vor halb drei” (five to half three)
14:30 “halb drei” (half three)
14:35 “fünf nach halb drei” (five past half three)
14:40 “zwanzig vor drei” (twenty to three) / “zehn nach halb drei” (ten past half three)
14:45 "dreiviertel drei" (three-quarter three) “viertel vor/auf drei” (quarter to three)
14:50 “zehn vor drei” (ten to three)
14:55 “fünf vor drei” (five to three)
15:00 "drei Uhr/drei/um drei" (three o’clock)

The phrase "dreiviertel drei"(three-quarter three) is only used in southern Germany and often leads to misunderstandings for northern Germans.

Note that these phrases are exclusive to the 12-hour clock, just as the "(hour) Uhr (minutes)" format is exclusive to the 24-hour clock.

The controversy between the "absolute" and "relative" ways of giving the time is largely one of regional dialect differences: the "relative" variant (as in "viertel/Viertel vor/auf drei") is the much more common one as it is used in a wide diagonal strip from Hamburg to Switzerland,[4] leaving some of the German south-west and most of eastern Germany as well as the eastern half of Austria with the "absolute" variant (as in "dreiviertel drei" or "drei Viertel drei"). For half-hours, the absolute form as in "halb zwei" is used everywhere. The term controversy may be insofar appropriate as "relativists" often complain about not being able to decode the "absolute" way of telling the time, resulting in missed appointments etc.



In Belgium, dates are written as:

  • dd/mm/yyyy ("22/10/2007")
  • dd/mm/yy ("22/10/07")
  • fully written out ("22 oktober 2007" in Dutch, or "22 octobre 2007" in French).


In written language, time is expressed exclusively in 24-hour notation using a colon in the middle. For example: 22:51.

In spoken and informal language, the 12-hour clock is still mostly used though. However, "am" or "pm" is never used. Instead, people use a sentence to make it clear (for instance "om 9 uur 's avonds" in Dutch, or "à 9 heures du soir" in French, meaning literally "at 9 o'clock in the evening").



In Brazil, dates follow the "day month year" order, using a slash as the separator. Example: 20/06/2008 or 20/06/08. Leading zeros may be omitted: 9/5/08. In formal writing, months are spelled out and not capitalized, e.g., "20 de junho de 2008" (lit. 20 of June 2008). Besides, day (except the first) and year numbers are read as ordinals and year numbers are not grouped as in English. So, for instance, Brazilians never say "dezenove dezoito" ("nineteen eighteen") for 1918, but they spell it as "mil, novecentos e dezoito" ("one thousand, nine hundred and eighteen"). Below are some examples of dates and various formats of writing and reading them.

Date: 01/05/1927 or 1/5/1927 or 1o de maio de 1927 or 1o. de maio de 1927.
Read as: primeiro de maio de mil, novecentos e vinte e sete (first of May of one thousand, nine hundred and twenty-seven).
Or informally as: um do cinco de mil, novecentos e vinte e sete. (one of the five of one thousand, nine hundred and twenty-senven).

Note: If the century in question is specified in the context (this is particularly true for years of the twentieth century) only the final part may be read. For example, the above date might be very shortly spelled as "um do cinco de vinte e sete" (one of the five of twenty-seven).

Date: 2/12/1967 or 02/12/1967 or 2 de dezembro de 1967.
Read as: dois de dezembro de mil, novecentos e sessenta e sete (two of December of one thousand, nine hundred and sixty-seven).
Or informally as: dois do doze de mil, novecentos e sessenta e sete (two of the twelve of one thousand, nine hundred and sixty-seven).

Within a month, days are referred to as "no dia"+"ordinal number that corresponds to the date". Let us suppose a test is set up for April 15 and hearers know what the month in question is. In situations like this, the speaker usually says "O teste será no dia quinze" ("The test will be on the day fifteen"). Again, if we suppose the month in question is April, then "(o) dia quinze do mês passado"="(the) day fifteen of last month" means March 15 and "(o) dia quinze do mês que vem"="(the) day fifteen of next month" is used for May 15.


The 24-hour notation is always used in formal and informal writing; an "h" or ":" is used as separator and "min" denotes minutes in formal writing, e.g., 7h45min (formal) or 14:20 (informal). In formal writing full hours are written just with an "h", e.g., 6h (not 6h00min). It is uncommon, however, to actually speak in an 24h notation; one usually says 'sete da noite" (seven in the night) for 19h.


Canada has signed up to use the ISO 8601 format for date and time through national standard CSA Z234.5:1989.


The Canadian Standards Association has adopted the ISO 8601 yyyy-MM-dd (e.g., 2009-06-09) date format; however, the European dd/MM/(yy)yy (e.g., 09/06/(20)09) date format is still widely known, especially in Québec because of its cultural links to France[citation needed]. The American MM/dd/(yy)yy (e.g., 06/09/(20)09) date format is also known because of the influences from the United States. In more casual use, the 3 different date formats can cause ambiguity. For example, this all-numeric date format "01/02/03" can be 3 different expanded date forms. It can be British "01 February 2003", American "January 02, 2003", and some might even think it could be ISO 8601 for "2001 February 03", even though the ISO standard always uses four digits for the year. Today, people are more exposed to the American date format and the ISO 8601 date format due to the updated technology. The ISO 8601 date format is an easy date format to understand because it always starts from the biggest number first and then goes down to the smallest number last, year(2009)-month(06)-day(09), and the format always includes the date with a 4-digit year, so it is free from ambiguity.

In Canada, all 3 date formats are used, “yyyy-MM-dd or yyyy MMMM dd (big-endian)”, “dd/MM/(yy)yy or dd MMMM yyyy (little-endian)” and “MM/dd/(yy)yy or MMMM dd, yyyy (middle-endian)”. All short date formats should display leading zeros for any numbers below 10. The separator is usually a hyphen or a slash. Expanded date formats may display leading zeros (e.g., 2009 June 9) or may not (e.g., 2009 June 9) for numbers below 10. They may also include the weekday name. The ISO 8601 expanded date form would look like “2009 June 09, Tuesday” the British expanded date form would look like “Tuesday, 09 June 2009” and the American expanded date form would look like “Tuesday, June 09, 2009”. There may also be abbreviations for words in any date format (e.g., 2009-Jun-09, Tue). Weekday name and month abbreviations are usually the first 3 or 4 letters of the word (Weekday abbreviated names: Sun, Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat—Months: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec). Calendars mostly show Sunday as the first day of the week.

The ISO 8601 and the British date formats are pronounced using the "day month year" date format. For example, “2009 June 09, Tuesday” and “Tuesday, 09 June 2009” are pronounced “Tuesday, the ninth of June two thousand nine”.[citation needed] The American date format is pronounced using the "month day year" format. For example, “Tuesday, June 09, 2009” is pronounced “Tuesday, June ninth, two thousand nine”.


In Canada, similar to the United States, the 12-hour clock is used in ordinary life by the English-speaking population. French speakers, however, often use the 24-hour clock. The 24-hour clock is also routinely used in health care settings, such as hospitals, as well as by airlines, environmental services, railways, bus lines, ferry services, and the military.



In Colombia the standard dd/mm/yyyy is widely used, also roman numbers are commonly used to represent the month as in:


Also long date format is used, example:

31 de Diciembre de 2008 (31 of December 2008)


Colombia uses a 12 hour format for clocks, but a format specifying the place of the sun is more commonly used for informal communication. This is because there are no time seasons, so that sunset and dawn are at approximately the same time every day. For example:

Time Span/Example Media Noche (Midnight) Madrugada(Early Morning) Mañana(Morning) Medio Día (Noon) Tarde(Afternoon) Noche(Night)
Time Span 12:00 am – 12:59 am 1 am - 5:59 am 6:00 am – 11:59 am 12:00 pm – 12:59 pm 1:00 pm – 6:59 pm 7:00 pm – 11:59 pm
Example Media noche 3:20 de la madrugada 8:25 de la mañana Medio día 6:30 de la tarde 7:30 de la noche

Czech Republic

In the Czech Republic exist two different standardized lines of date and time writing.

First one are Rules of Czech Orthography as mandatory for educational system (elementary schools etc.). These rules are based on traditional writing and due to teaching in schools it's widely used by common people. Date is written in "day month year" order, each part separated by space, day and month as ordinal numbers, year as cardinal (1. 12. 2009). The month can be replaced by full name in genitiv case (1. prosince 2009). As archaic is considered month in roman digits (1. XII. 2009). Time of day format is dot separated hours and minutes without space (3.15). However to express time period the colon must be used (3:15).

Second line is defined by Czech State Norm (ČSN 01 6910) based on ISO standards. It accepts ISO format (2009-12-01 and 03:15) however it allows simplified traditional formating and/or globalized formating like leading zeros or omitted spaces (01.12.2009) too. The second norm is intended for technical devices and tabular output. However due to globalization and import of foreign goods, the time format with colon instead of period (3:15 or 03:15) is accepted and used by ordinary people more than the traditional typographical school system.

The 24-hour counting is used for official and exact purposes, the 12-hour cycle is used in daily life, especially in spoken language. The week starts on Monday.

After passing 2000 year, the year value is almost always written in full four-digit form. In spoken language, especially by elder people, years referencing to second half of 20th century are abbreviated by stripping the century digits (89 instead of 1989). Such abbreviation is usually marked up with leading apostrophe ('89) or with horizontal bar above both digits.



In Denmark the official[citation needed] (and commonly used) standard is D.MM.YYYY (e.g., 24.12.2006 for Christmas Eve, or 1.5.2006 for Labour Day). This is by far the most common system. Dots are the most common separator, although you still see slash and hyphen (especially in handwriting): 24/12-2005.

Days and months are written in lower case, often beginning with the definite article "den" (or abbreviated "d."), e.g. "mandag d. 4. januar" ("Monday the 4th of January")[5].

Week numbering is also very common both written and orally, albeit less so in private life.

The week always begins on Mondays and ends on Sundays.

ISO 8601 is adopted as a national standard[6], but it is not widely used.


Written time is almost always in the 24-hour clock. In spoken language, a mixture of the two systems are used:

  • When giving exact times, or when speaking in official settings (radio, TV, etc.), the 24-hour clock is always used.
  • When speaking informally, the 12-hour clock is often used. Minutes are usually rounded off to the nearest five minutes like this: <the hour>, <5, 10 or 20 [minutes]> <past, to> <the hour/the following hour>, a quarter <past, to> <the hour/following hour>, half <the following hour> or five <past, to> half <the following hour>. More accurately like this: <1-29 [minutes]> past <the hour>, half <the following hour> or <29-1 [minutes]> to <the following hour>. In these styles, the word for "minutes" is usually but not always left out.

East Africa


In many East African languages, the start of the daily time system is at dawn, not midnight.[citation needed] Thus, what would be seven o'clock in the morning in English becomes one o'clock in the morning in Swahili and other East African languages. This also affects the date: the whole night is the same date as the preceding day. For example, Tuesday does not become Wednesday until morning breaks, rather than changing at midnight.

For multi-lingual speakers in East Africa, the convention is to use the time system applicable to the language one happens to be speaking at the time. A person speaking of an early morning event is, in English, would report that it happened at eight o'clock. However, in repeating the same facts in Swahili, one would state that the events occurred at saa mbili ('two hours').[7][8]

The Luganda form, ssawa bbiri, is equivalent to the Swahili in that it means literally 'two hours'.[9]



In Ethiopia, a 12-hour clock is still used that counts 12, 1, 2, ..., 10, 11 from dawn till dusk, and again 12, 1, 2, ..., 10, 11 from dusk to dawn. Unlike the convention in most countries, the start of the day is dawn, rather than midnight.



The all-numeric form for dates is in the order "day month year", using a period as the separator. Example: 31.12.2002 or 31.12.02. Years can be written with two or four digits, and numbers may be written with or without leading zero. Three-lettered month names are not commonly used (except in mistranslated computer software), the Finnish language has month names differing from most other languages. When a date is written with a full month name, a period is placed after the day to indicate an ordinal: "31. joulukuuta 2002". Month names are lower case.


The 24-hour notation is used in writing, with a period as the standardized and recommended separator (e.g. "15.07" or "8.27"). However, colon is almost exclusively used instead of period in computing environments. The 12-hour clock is still used in the spoken language and idiomatic expressions.



In France, the all-numeric form for dates is in the order "day month year", using a slash as the separator. Example: 31/12/1992 or 31/12/92. Years can be written with two or four digits, and numbers may be written with or without leading zero. When three-lettered months are used, juin (June) and juillet (July) are abbreviated as JUN and JUL respectively.


The 24-hour notation is used in writing with an h as a separator (h for heure, meaning hour). Example: 14 h 05 (1405 [14:05] hours or 2:05 pm). Though the correct form includes spaces on both sides of the h, it is common to see them omitted: 14h05. The minutes are usually written with two digits; the hour numbers can be written with or without leading zero.

Greater China


The date format follows the Chinese hierarchical system, which has traditionally been big-endian. Consequently, it agrees with ISO 8601 — year first, month next, and day last. Example: 2006-01-29. The hyphen is often replaced with other separators, such as a dot or a forward slash. Example: 2006.01.29. A leading zero is optional in practice. Chinese characters that mean year, month, and day are often used as separators too. Example: 2006年01月29日.

Since the characters clearly label the date, the year may be abbreviated to two digits when this format is used. The exception to this guideline is in Taiwan, where a separate calendar system is used, with years numbered to the founding of the Republic of China in 1912. Thus, the year 2006 corresponds to the "95th year of the Republic" or in Chinese Minguo 95 (民國95年). In official contexts, this system is always used, while in informal contexts, the Gregorian calendar is sometimes used. To avoid confusion, the Gregorian year is always written out in full in Taiwan. Example: 95.01.29 refers to 2006-01-29, not 1995-01-29 (which would be rendered as 84.01.29). Another means to distinguish between the two systems is to place the terms Gongyuan (公元, common era) and Minguo (民國, Republic) before the year. Example: 2006 is rendered as either 公元2006年 or 民國95年.

The day of the week is often appended to the date and commonly enclosed in parentheses. Example: 2006年01月29日 (星期天).

In speech, the date is spoken in the same format as it is written. Using the previous example: 2006 (èrlínglíngliù) 年 (nián) 01 (yī) 月 (yuè) 29 (èrshíjiǔ) 日 (rì) 星期天 (xīngqītiān).

Hào (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: ) is a colloquial term used to express the day of the month instead of rì (Chinese: ). It is rarely used in formal writing. Using the previous example: 2006 (èrlínglíngliù) 年 (nián) 01 (yī) 月 (yuè) 29 (èrshíjiǔ) 號 (hào) 星期天 (xīngqītiān). Hào is more often used when the month is understood from the context, i.e.: 29號 for the 29th.

Dates written in Hong Kong and Macau are often formatted in the DD.MM.YYYY style due to European influences. Nonetheless, the Chinese form of the dates is still read in the same way as described above.


Both the 12-hour and 24-hour notations are used in spoken and written Chinese. However, to avoid confusion, time on schedules and public notices are typically formatted in the 24-hour system. Example: 19:45. Chinese characters that mean hour (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: pinyin: shí) and minute (Chinese: pinyin: fēn) are sometimes used instead of the standard colon. Example: 19時45分. 正 (zhèng) is used to mean exactly on the hour. Example: 19時正.

It is not uncommon to see Chinese numerals instead of Arabic numbers, but tourist attractions will usually use Arabic numerals for the convenience of foreigners.

Spoken Chinese predominantly uses the 12-hour system and follows the same concept as A.M. (上午 shàngwŭ) and P.M. (下午 xiàwŭ). However, shàngwŭ and xiàwŭ precede the time. Example: 下午7:45 or 下午7點45分 (xiàwǔ qī diǎn sìshíwǔ fēn). Diǎn (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: ) is a variation of shí and typically used in speech and often in writing. Zhōng (simplified Chinese: traditional Chinese: ), which literally means clock, can be added to a time phrase, usually when it contains either only hours or only minutes. Example: 7點鐘 or 12分鐘. If the number of minutes is less than ten, the preceding zero is included in speech. Example: 上午8:05 (shàngwŭ bādiǎn língwǔfēn). Time written in the 24-hour system can be read as is. Example: 19:45 (shíjiǔdiǎn sìshíwǔfēn).

A sample of other phrases that are often used to better describe the time-frame of day are listed below:

Traditional Simplified Pinyin Meaning
凌晨 língchén approaching morning/dawn (from midnight to before dawn)
早上 zǎoshàng morning (from dawn to about 9:00 or 10:00)
上午 shàngwŭ day before noon (from 9:00 or 10:00 to noon); also used in computer systems (e.g., Windows) to denote "a.m."
中午 or 正午 zhōngwŭ or zhèngwŭ midday/noon (from 12:00 to 12:59)
下午 xiàwŭ day after noon (from 13:00 to before dusk); also used in computer systems (e.g., Windows) to denote "p.m."
傍晚 bàngwǎn approaching evening/night (from dusk to about 20:00 or 21:00)
晚上 wǎnshàng evening/night (from 20:00 or 21:00 to midnight)


03:00 = 淩晨3點 (língchén sān diǎn) or 淩晨3點鐘 (língchén sān diǎnzhōng)
19:00 = 傍晚7點 (bàngwǎn qī diǎn) or 傍晚7點鐘 (bàngwǎn qī diǎnzhōng)
Note: These phrases that describe the time-frame of day are used only with the 12-hour system.

Time can alternatively be expressed as a fraction of the hour in speech. A traditional Chinese unit of time, the (kè), was 1/96 of the 24-hour day cycle or 15 minutes, equivalent to "quarter of an hour" in English. A quarter-after is 一刻 (yī kè) or 過一刻 (guò yī kè), which literally mean "one kè" or "one kè past", respectively. A quarter-to is 差一刻 (chà yī kè), which literally means "one kè less". 半 (bàn), which means half, is used in conjunction with the relative hour to mean "at the half-hour". Examples:

6:45 = 7點差一刻 (qī diǎn chà yī kè) or 差一刻7點 (chà yī kè qī diǎn)
8:15 = 8點一刻 (bādiǎn duō yīkè)
9:30 = 9點半 (jiǔdiǎn bàn)

Attention must be drawn to the time 02:00. It is written as 2時 (èr shí) but almost always read as 兩點 (liǎng diǎn). The number two, 二 (èr), takes the form of 兩 (liǎng) when followed by a measure word, in this case, 點 (diǎn). Note that this does not apply to 12:00. Noon is 12點鐘 (shí èr diǎnzhōng) or 正午 (zhèngwǔ) or 午時 (wǔshí). Midnight, on the other hand, is 淩晨12點鐘 (língchén shí èr diǎnzhōng) or 零時 (língshí), which literally means zero hour.

Cantonese has an additional method of expressing time as a fraction of the hour. This system divides the hour into 12 units, each five minutes long. Each unit, therefore, corresponds to one of the numbers written on an analogue clock. The character for this unit is uncertain since it is only used in speech, however the Cantonese pronunciation is ji6 and homonymous to the character 字 (zì, Cantonese: ji6). This method can be used in two ways - with the relative hour and without. When the relative hour is included, the unit must be preceded with the measure word 個 (ge, Cantonese: go3). Example: 3:05 is 3點1個字 (sāndiǎn yīgezì, Cantonese: saam1 dim2 yat1 go3 ji6), usually simply 3點1. When the relative hour is not included, the unit is omitted as well; the position of the minute hand is described instead, using the verb 踏 (tà, Cantonese: daap6), which literally means "step on", meaning "resting on top of" in this context. Examples:

five-after = 踏1 (tà yī, Cantonese: daap6 yat1)
ten-after = 踏2 (tà èr, Cantonese: daap6 yi6)
fifteen-to = 踏9 (tà jiǔ, Cantonese: daap6 gau2)
ten-to = 踏10 (tà shí, Cantonese: daap6 sap6)

The half-hour mark is never described using this unit of five minutes, however. 3:30 is still 3點半 (sāndiǎn bàn, Cantonese: saam1 dim2 bun3), as previously described. Half-past the hour is 踏半 (tàbàn, Cantonese: daap6 bun3).

Greece and Cyprus

In Greece and Cyprus, the all-numeric form for dates is in the little endianness order of "day month year". Years can be written with 2 or 4 digits. For example, either 24/5/2004 or 24/5/04.

The 12-hour notation is used in verbal communication, but the 24-hour format is also used along with the 12-hour notation in writing. The minutes are usually written with two digits; the hour numbers are written without a leading zero.



Date is traditionally expressed in big-endian form, like ISO 8601. Numeric date elements are followed by a dot. The format yyyy. month d. is commonly used, the name of the month can be abbreviated (standard are ‘jan.’, ‘febr.’, ‘márc.’, ‘ápr.’, ‘máj.’, ‘jún.’, ‘júl.’, ‘aug.’, ‘szept.’, ‘okt.’, ‘nov.’, ‘dec.’[10]). Months can also be written using Roman or Arabic numerals.[11] Examples:

  • 1999. augusztus 1.
  • 1999. aug. 1.
  • 1999. VIII. 1.
  • 1999. 08. 01. or recently 1999-08-01

As year and day elements in Hungarian are ordinal numbers, they are followed by a dot. However, unless a suffix is added, they are said as cardinal numbers. Also note that stacking of symbols when writing in Hungarian is considered a bad practice, therefore when a suffix is attached to the date using a hyphen, the dot is omitted.

  • 1999. augusztus 1-jén (on August 1, 1999)

A single year is followed by a dot unless it is

  • followed with a suffix ‘1999-ben’ (in 1999)
  • the object of the sentence ‘1999 szép év volt.’ (1999 was a nice year.)
  • followed with a postposition ‘1999 után’ (after 1999)
  • a genitive ‘1999 tele’ (winter of 1999)
  • in parentheses ‘születésének éve (1999)…’ (the year of his/her birth (1999)…).

Monday is the first day of the week.


Like in most countries, the 24-hour clock is used in formal and 12-hour clock in informal contexts. The time format is “hh óra mm perc”, but the numeric form can also be used.[11] Example:

  • 10.35

The following are commonly accepted divisions of the day that can be said before the time:

  • hajnal (dawn) – 1–5 a.m.
  • reggel (morning) – 6–9 a.m.
  • délelőtt (before noon) – 10–11 a.m.
  • délután (afternoon) – 1–5 p.m.
  • este (evening) – 6–11 p.m.

Additionally, dél (noon) and éjfél (midnight) may be used.

Each hour is divided into four equal periods and are verbally referred to as in the following examples:

  • negyed 8 (quarter 8) – 7:15
  • fél 8 (half 8) – 7:30
  • háromnegyed 8 (three-quarter 8) – 7:45

Combining the above with 5 perc múlva (5 minutes before) or 5 perccel múlt (5 minutes after) is commonly used when asked for the time. Example:

  • 5 perc múlva háromnegyed 8 – 7:40
  • 3 perccel múlt 7 – 7:03


ISO 8601 has been adopted as Indian Standard IS 7900:2001 (Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times - first revision)[12]


The DD-MM-YY is the predominant short form of the numeric date usage in India. The MM-DD-YY format is never used. Almost all government documents need to be filled up in the DD-MM-YYYY format. An example of DD-MM-YYYY usage is the passport application form.[13]

Both uses of the expanded form are used in India. The DD MMMM YYYY usage is more prevalent over the MMMM, DD YYYY usage. The MMMM DD, YYYY usage is more prevalent by media publications such as the print version of the Times of India[14] and The Hindu[15]

In India, dates in astrology or religious purposes are written in a year-month-day format.[citation needed] This order is also found while reading dates in South Indian languages. (For example, 15 August 1947 would be read in Tamil as 1947 ஆம் ஆண்டு ஆகஸ்ட்(August) 15 ஆம் நாள்.) Whereas, north Indian languages, notably Hindi, follow a "day month year" format for reading the dates (15 August 1947 will be read as 15 अगस्त (August) सन 1947).[citation needed] However, in written form, it is traditionally in "day month year" order, using a slash or hyphen as the separator. This order is used in both the traditional all-numeric date (e.g., "31/12/99" or "31-12-99") as well as in the expanded form (e.g., "31 December 1999"). Sometimes, the ordinal number for the day before the month is written down (e.g., 31 December 1999). When saying the date, it is usually pronounced by the ordinal number of the day first then the word "of" then the month (e.g. 31 December 1999). The use of its big-endian date notation is not very prevalent.[citation needed]

Sundays are the start of the week.


Both the 12-hour and 24-hour notations are widely used in India. The 12-hour notation is widely used in daily life, written communication, and is used in spoken language. The 24-hour notation is used in situations where there would be widespread ambiguity. Examples include railway timetables, plane departure and landing timings, and TV schedules. A colon is widely used to separate hours, minutes and seconds (e.g., 10:00:15).



In Ireland, the date is written in the order "day month year", with the separator as a slash, dot, hyphen, or just left blank. Years can be written with two or four digits. Examples:

  • 31/12/1992 or 31/12/92;
  • 31.12.1992 or 31.12.92;
  • 31-12-1992 or 31-12-92;
  • 31 12 1992 or 31 12 92;

"31 December 1992" is also used, or in Irish "31 Nollaig 1992".

When dates are spoken, they are generally given in "day month year" order: "the 31st of December 1992".

The week is generally considered to begin on Monday in Ireland (Sunday being "the seventh day"), although some people consider the week to start on a Sunday.


The 24-hour notation is more commonly used in text (e.g., timetables, newspapers, etc.) and is written "14:05" or "14.05". Whenever 12-hour notation is used, it is written the same way, as "2:05PM" or "2.05PM". "AM" or "PM" can be written as either "AM/PM", "A.M./P.M.", "A.M/P.M", "am/pm", "a.m./p.m.", or "a.m/p.m". It can be written directly after the time (e.g., 2:05PM) or one space after (e.g., 2:05 PM).

When talking about the time, it is usually said in traditional 12-hour format.


  • 14:00 is said as "two o'clock", "two", or "two (o'clock) in the afternoon". In Irish it is "a dó a chlog".
  • 14:01 - 14:14 and 14:16 - 14:29 is said as "... past two". In Irish it is "... tar éis a dó".
  • 14:15 is said as "a quarter past two". In Irish it is "ceathrú tar éis a dó".
  • 14:30 is said as "half past two" or "half two". In Irish it is "leathuair tar éis a dó".
  • 14:31 - 14:44 and 14:46 - 14:59 is said as "... to three". In Irish it is "... chun a trí".
  • 14:45 is said as "a quarter to three". In Irish it is "ceathrú chun a trí".

In addition to this, the system of saying the exact time (e.g., 14:55 is said as "fourteen fifty-five") is also widely used.

People in Ireland commonly juggle using both systems of time.

Korea (South)

The most formal manner of expressing the full date and/or time is to suffix each of the year, month, day, ante/post-meridiem indicator, hour, minute and second (in this order, i.e. with larger units first) with the corresponding unit and separating each with a space:

  • nyeon for year;
  • weol for month;
  • il for day;
  • 오전 ojeon for a.m.; 오후 ohu for p.m.;
  • si for hour;
  • bun for minute; and
  • cho for second.

For example, the ISO 8601 timestamp 1975-07-15 09:18:32 would be written as “1975년 7월 15일 오전 9시 18분 32초”.

The same rules apply when expressing the date or the time alone, e.g., “1975년 7월 15일”, “1975년 7월”, “7월 15일”, “15일 오전 9시 18분” and “오전 9시 18분 32초”.

The national standard (KSXISO8601, formerly KSX1511) also recognizes the ISO-8601-compliant date/time format of YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS, which is widely used in computing and on the Korean internet.


In written documents, the date form above (but not the time) is often abbreviated by replacing each unit suffix with a single period; for example, 1975년 7월 15일 would be abbreviated as “1975. 7. 15.” (note the trailing period and intervening spaces).


Both the 12-hour and 24-hour notations are widely used in Korea.

12-hour clock is predominantly used in informal daily life, and the ante/post-meridiem indicator is often omitted where doing so does not introduce ambiguity.

The 30th minute after every turn of the clock is commonly—especially in spoken Korean—abbreviated as 반 ban, which literally means “half”; in this context, “half an hour (past a turn of the clock).”  For example, 13:30 is either expressed as “오후 1시 30분” or “오후 1시 반”.

When the time is expressed in the HH:MM:SS notation, the Roman ante/post-meridiem indicators (AM and PM) are also used frequently.  In addition, they sometimes incorrectly follow the convention of writing the Korean-style indicator before the time; it is not uncommon to encounter times expressed in such a way, e.g., “AM 9:18” instead of “9:18 AM”.

Two words, 정오 jeong-o and 자정 jajeong, are sometimes used to indicate 12:00 and 0:00 respectively—much in the same way the English words noon and midnight are used.

The 24-hour notation is more commonly used in text and is written "14:05" or "14시 5분". Examples include railway timetables, plane departure and landing timings, and TV schedules. In movie theaters it is also not uncommon to see something like 25:30 for the 01:30 AM movie.



In The Netherlands, dates are written as:

  • dd-mm-yyyy ("31-10-1999")
  • dd-mm-yy ("31-10-99")
  • month written out ("31 oktober 1999")
  • month abbreviated ("31 okt 1999")
  • occasionally month as a roman number 31 X 1999


Dutch TV listings magazines invariably use 24-hour notation

In written language, time is expressed in the 24-hour notation, with or without leading zero, using a full stop or colon as a separator, sometimes followed by the word uur (hour) or its abbreviation u. For example: 22.51 uur, 9.12 u., or 09:12. In technical and scientific texts the use of the abbreviations h, min and s or is common. For example 17 h 03 min 16 s.[16] Use of the twelve-hour clock in numeric writing is not standard practice, not even in informal writing, and writing e.g., "1.30" for 13:30 would be regarded as odd.

In spoken language, most often time is expressed in the 12-hour clock. However, "a.m." and "p.m." are never used. Instead, an apposition is added, for instance 21:00 is said as "9 uur 's avonds" (9 o'clock in the evening). Half hours are relative to the next hour, for instance 5:30 is said as "half 6". Quarter hours are expressed relative to the nearest whole hour, for example 6:15, "kwart over 6" (quarter past six) and 6:45, "kwart voor zeven" (quarter to seven). Minutes are usually rounded off to the nearest five minutes and are expressed relative to the closest half-hour. For instance 05:35 is "5 over half 6" (literally "5 past half to 6").

In cases that a 24-hour clock is used in spoken language, usually the written form is pronounced with the hours as a number, the word "uur" (hour) and the minutes as a number. Hours over 12 are not combined with phrasings using "half", "quarter", "to", or "past".



Norway uses two date systems:

  • D.MM.YYYY (e.g., 24.12.2006 for Christmas Eve, or 1.5.2006 for Labour Day) is by far the most common system, and is the one recommended by the Norwegian Language Council. Dots are the most common separator, although you still see slash and hyphen (especially in handwriting): 24/12-2005.
  • YYYY-MM-DD (the ISO 8601-standard) is used to some extent in official documents and in computer related materials.

Week numbering is also very common both written and orally, albeit less so in private life.

The week always begins on Mondays and ends on Sundays.


Written time is almost always in the 24-hour clock. In spoken language, a mixture of the two systems are used:

  • When giving exact times, or when speaking in official settings (radio, TV, etc.), the 24-hour clock is always used.
  • When speaking informally, the 12-hour clock is often used. Minutes are usually rounded off to the nearest five minutes, and are given according to the closest half hour period: «Klokka er ti på halv fire» («the clock is ten to half four», i.e., 15:20 or 03:20) and «klokka er fem over halv sju» («the clock is five past half seven», i.e., 18:35 or 06:35).

There are two ways of pronouncing numbers:

  • The "modern", standard counting: «Klokka er tjueto» («The clock is twentytwo»). The modern variant is used in all official radio programmes and when speaking officially.
  • The traditional counting: «Klokka er toogtjue» («The clock is twoandtwenty»). The traditional variant is often used in more informal settings.

Many numbers also have different pronunciations depending on dialect (for instance «tjue» and «tyve», both means twenty).



In the Philippines, the country's ways of writing dates are similar to that of the United States (see below) except that the days are usually said with a cardinal number (e.g., "December thirty-one") in English. Consequently, it is the only country whose immigration embarkation/disembarkation forms ask passengers to write pertinent dates in the mm-dd-yy format.[citation needed] Sometimes though, especially in selected written communication in offices, the country uses the "day month year" format. In the Filipino language, the "day month year" notation is the proper way of expressing the dates (e.g., "ika-31 ng Disyembre" which stands for the 31st of December) however the "month day year" is also used sometimes (e.g., "Disyembre 31").


The Philippines uses the 12-hour clock in most oral or written communications, whether formal or informal. The use of the 24-hour clock is usually confined to airports, military, police and other technical purposes.



The first system for denoting abbreviated dates used roman numerals for months (e.g., 11 XI 1918 for Independence Day). The current year can be replaced by the abbreviation "br." and the current month can similarly be replaced by the abbreviation "bm.", in which case the year is omitted altogether. The roman notation still prevails in private communication, except for date stamps where Arabic numerals are used (as in "Berlin, 9.05.1945"). The authorities changed the order of the date stamps in 1979 to follow Polish industrial standard PN-90/N-01204 (Polskie Normy) similar to ISO 8601; 1981-12-13 has been the preferred format since then.

The month name is written where enough space is provided for the date; the month is in genitive case (because of the meaning e.g., “first day of May”) and the ordinals are often followed by a period to indicate they are ordinal; the date is often preceded by the abbreviation "dn." (day) and followed by the abbreviation "r." (year), as in "dn. 1. maja 1997. r.". The month name can be abbreviated to three initial letters where an actual date stamping device is used, e.g., on letter envelopes.

Poland adopted the ISO 8601 standard for date format in official, especially electronic, communication in 2002. For everyday usage and for less official papers, however, the traditional formats d.m.[yy]yy or[yy]yy (i.e., 7.8.2008, 07.08.2008, 07.08.08) are very common in Poland because of speaking order: "day month year".


A 12-hour clock is used in private communications; a verbose day time is appended to distinguish among morning, forenoon, noon, afternoon, evening and night. The clock starts at midnight and at noon (except when DST is used). A 24-hour clock is used in official documents, the clock starts at midnight (except when DST is used). The day breaks at 4 AM according to common sense albeit several broadcasters extend their published schedules till 6 AM.

When the hour goes by itself, it is preceded by the abbreviation "godz." (for hour); when it is accompanied by minutes, this introductory abbreviation is not needed. Minutes are traditionally superscribed to the hour and underlined, as in 1745 (even in typewritten documents). According to Polish printed publishings norm, a dot is used to separate hours and minutes when not using superscription but popularity of electronic devices caused the dot to be often replaced with a colon (less official).



Serbian language uses either all-numeric form of dates in the little-endian date-month-year order, or the same order in which numerical month is replaced with its literal name. The dot is used as a separator, and matches the convention of pronouncing day, month and year as ordinal numbers (31. 12. 2006.). Note that dot is placed after the year as well.

Years can be written either with four or two digits, and in the latter case, century is usually replaced with an apostrophe (31. 12. ’06.). Leading zero is rarely used, and in those cases which are considered bad practice, only with months (6. 05. 2006.). When literal names of the months are used they are not capitalized, and the four-digit format for the year is always used (31. decembar 2006.). Yet another alternative is to use Roman numerals to indicate the month. In this case a dot is omitted (31. XII 2006.).

Day of the week always precedes the date (nedelja, 31. 12. 2006.), is separated by comma, but can be abbreviated to the first three letters, which are then capitalized (NED, 31. 12. '06.) – note that in that case, the shortest date format is used. Starting day of the week is Monday, and the weekend falls on Saturday and Sunday.

Weeks are rarely referred to by their order in the year, although they are always printed in large format calendars, typically the number of a week in the month is used (third week in March, instead of week 12).


The 24-hour clock is almost exclusively used in writing, while spoken language is dominated by the 12-hour clock, usually without noting whether the hour is AM or PM – that information is derived from the context. However, when time of the day needs to be emphasized, many descriptive alternatives exist, since AM/PM are not known to Serbian language:

  • 00:00 and 24:00 - ponoć (midnight)
  • 00:00-12:00 – pre podne (before noon)
  • 03:00-10:00 – ujutru (morning) (i.e. 8 ujutru means 8 AM) or jutros (this [past] morning)
  • 12:00 - podne (noon)
  • 12:00-24:00 – posle podne or short popodne (afternoon)
  • 19:00-23:00 - uveče (evening) or večeras (this/upcoming evening)
  • 23:00-03:00 – noću (at night), sinoć (last night) or noćas (ambiguous in colloquial speech, either tonight or last night)

Note that certain periods overlap, and are given roughly, since this colloquial use of the language is not regulated and is mostly customary. Literal names for midnight (ponoć) and noon (podne) are often used instead of numerical "12 O'Clock".

In written Serbian, time is expressed by the 24-hour notation, using colon as a separator. Incorrect use of dot rarely occurs, usually in brochures or leaflets with minimalistic design.

In spoken language, when one is telling the time between full and half hour (i.e. 14:00-14:29), a reference is made to the past full hour. Once the half hour has passed (14:30-14:59), two variants can be used – one referring to the previous, and another to the following full hour. Latter variant is more frequently used.

Hour Common reading Alternative Rare alternative using quarters
14:00 dva [sata] (two [hours (o'clock)]) dva [sata] posle podne (two [hours (o'clock)] afternoon)
14:05 dva i pet (two and five)
14:10 dva i deset (two and ten)
14:15 dva i petnaest (two and fifteen) dva i četvrt (two and quarter)
14:20 dva i dvadeset (two and twenty) deset do pola tri (ten to half three)
14:25 dva i dvadeset pet (two and twenty five) pet do pola tri (five to half three)
14:30 pola tri (half three) dva i trideset (two and thirty)
14:35 dvadeset pet do tri (twenty five to three) dva i trideset pet (two and thirty five)
14:40 dvadeset do tri (twenty to three) dva i četrdeset (two and forty)
14:45 petnaest do tri (fifteen to three) dva i četrdeset pet (two and forty five) četvrt do tri (quarter to three)
14:50 deset do tri (ten to three) dva i pedeset (two and fifty)
14:55 pet do tri (five to three) dva i pedeset pet (two and fifty five)
15:00 tri [sata] (three [hours( o'clock)] ) tri [sata] posle podne (three [hours (o'clock)] afternoon)

In very formal speech, designations "hours" and "minutes" are added, while reference is made only to the previous hour, i.e. 14:45 would be dva sata i četrdeset pet minuta (two hours and forty five minutes), or sometimes even in 24-hour format, četrnaest časova i četrdeset pet minuta (fourteen hours and forty five minutes). Note that among the two words for "hour", sat is commonlz used for 1 to 12 range and čas for 0 and 13 to 24, but there are no official rules.

Also, when speaking about the present hour in the second half of the hour, the following hour is sometimes omitted from the phrase in colloquial speech, i.e. in reference to 14:45 instead of saying petnaest do tri (fifteen to three), one could say just petnaest do (fifteen to).

South Africa

South Africa signed up to use the ISO 8601 format for date and time through national standard ARP 010:1989 in 1998.


Even so, the old date format is still commonly used in the format "dd/mm/yyyy", with the "day month year" order being more common with non-numeric month designations.


The old time format is also still commonly used in the format "hh:mm AMPM" The use of "h" as a time separator is still common (e.g., 13h25 in place of 13:25), particularly when only the time is given.



In Sweden, the ISO 8601 standard is closely followed in most written Swedish[citation needed]. Dates are generally and officially[citation needed] written for example "2006-12-31", but the older forms "31/12-2006", "31/12 2006", "31/12-06", or "31/12/06" are frequently seen informally. The long form as in "31 december 2006" is also sometimes used in writing and almost always in speech (although the date is pronounced as an ordinal number). Both in the older short forms and the long form, written and spoken, the year is often left out. Numbering of weeks are frequently used in companies and schools, and are simply expressed as in "(vecka) 32" ((week) 32) in both writing and speech. On labels and in computers' notation, the year may also be included, as in "2006W32". As in the ISO standard, the week begins with a Monday and week 1 is the week containing the year's first Thursday.


Times are written without notable exceptions with the 24-hour clock, with colons as separators (although periods are sometimes used instead of colons, especially in hand written text, as it was an older Swedish standard), however seconds are usually left out if the additional precision is not required. Example: 23:59, or sometimes 23:59:00. To use leading zeros is much more common than not to use them but in speech they are often left out. Example: 04:00 is more common than 4:00. In spoken Swedish however, the 12-hour clock is much more common. Usually time is expressed in 5-minute intervals (rounded so that it can be evenly divided by 5) like this: <the hour>, <5, 10 or 20 [minutes]> <past, to> <the hour/the following hour>, a quarter <past, to> <the hour/following hour>, half <the following hour> or five <past, to> half <the following hour>. More accurately like this: <1-29 [minutes]> past <the hour>, half <the following hour> or <29-1 [minutes]> to <the following hour>. In these styles, the word for "minutes" is usually but not always left out. Finally the written notation can be pronounced as is: <the hour> <the minute>, although this isn't very common in everyday conversation. The 24-hour time is always applied on the last form, may be applied to the second form and is never used with rounded time as in the first form. Seconds are very seldom expressed at all in speech. Example: 14:27 may be pronounced as "tre minuter i halv tre" (three minutes to half three), "tjugosju (minuter) över två/fjorton" (twenty seven (minutes) past two/fourteen), or, most commonly: "fjorton och tjugosju" (fourteen and twenty seven). 16:00 may be pronounced as "fyra" (four) or "sexton" (sixteen).


Thailand also adopted ISO 8601 under national standard: TIS 1111:2535 in 1992.However, in practice, there are some variations.


Thailand mainly uses the Buddhist Era which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian year. The year AD 2006 is indicated as 2549 BE in Thailand. Despite adopting ISO 8601, Thai official date is still written in DDMMYYYY format, such as 1 January 2549 BE (AD 2006) or 1/01/2549.


In Thailand, official time is indicated in 24-hour clock system; however, a 6-hour clock system is also used, especially in spoken language. It counts 4 times from 1 to 6, with different additional words to make the distinction for night, morning, afternoon, and evening.



Dates are written in the form DD.MM.YYYY, or "DD <name of the month> YYYY". It is rare to use abbreviations for names of months.


Turkey uses the 24-hour clock system. In informal speech, however, the 12-hour system is more commonly used. When speaking in the 12-hour system, the words such as "sabah" (morning), "akşam" (evening) or "gece" (night) are generally used before telling the time to clarify whether it is am or pm (i.e., sabah 9 means 9 am, akşam 5 means 5 pm). An exception is that the hours 12.30 AM/PM are usually both referred to as "yarım" (meaning half).

United Kingdom


Dates are written traditionally in "day month year" order, using a slash as the separator. This order is used in both the traditional all-numeric date (e.g., "31/12/99") as well as in the expanded form (e.g., "31 December 1999", sometimes also "31 December 1999"). Writing the day of the month as an ordinal number (e.g., "31st December") is also common - and since the advent of automatic correction in word processors, the ordinal indicator has been lifted into superscript (e.g., "31st December") in typed documents, to match the handwritten style.

When saying the date, it is usually pronounced using the ordinal number of the day first, then the word "of" then the month (e.g., "the 31st of December 1999"). The month-first form (e.g., "December the 3rd") was common a hundred years ago, but is now less frequently used.

The "day month year" order is also the case in modern Welsh (e.g., "20 Mai 1999", "20fed Mai 1999", "20fed Mai 1999"). The "month day year" order (e.g., "Mai 20, 1999") was previously more common than it is nowadays, it not being unusual to see a Welsh "month day year" date next to an English "day month year" date on a bilingual plaque from the latter half of the 20th century. "20 Mai 1999" is read as "yr ugeinfed o Fai mil naw naw naw", with the usual soft mutation of M to F after "o" (of). 1999 can be read as either "mil naw naw naw" (thousand nine nine nine) or "un naw naw naw" (one nine nine nine).

Although ISO 8601 has been adopted as British Standard BS ISO 8601:2004, the use of its big-endian date notation remains mostly restricted to specialist use (e.g., use-by dates on medical products[17]) and computer applications.

Weeks are generally referred to by the date on which they start, referring to the Monday, e.g., "week commencing 5 March". ISO 8601 week numbers are found in diaries and are used in business.


Both the 12-hour and 24-hour notations are used in the United Kingdom. The 12-hour notation is still widely used in ordinary life, written communication and displays, and continues to be used in spoken language. The 24-hour notation is used in timetables and in some computer applications; computers running Microsoft Windows with UK regional settings default to display time in 24-hour notation. The 24-hour notation is used more often than in the United States, but not quite as commonly as in much of the non-English speaking world. To separate hours and minutes, either a dot (e.g., 10.00PM) or a colon (10:00PM) can be used. To separate hours, minutes and seconds, a colon (10:00:15) is normally used.

In British English, the expression "half hour" is used colloquially to denote 30 minutes past the hour, i.e. "half ten" means 10:30. (This differs from the same expression in German or Hungarian where it denotes 30 minutes before the hour.)

The Welsh language usage of the 12-hour and 24-hour clocks is similar to that of UK English above. However the 24-hour notation is interesting in that it only has a written, not a spoken form, e.g., written 09.00 and 21.00 are both said ("naw o'r gloch" nine o'clock, literally nine of the bell). Minutes are always either "wedi" (after) of "i" (to) the hour, e.g., 21.18 "deunaw (munud) wedi naw" (eighteen (minutes) past nine) and 21.42 "deunaw (munud) i ddeg" (eighteen (minutes) to ten). Phrases such as "y bore" ((of) the morning), "y prynhawn" ((of) the afternoon) and "yr hwyr" ((of) the evening) are used to distinguish times in 12-hour notation, much like Latin "am" and "pm", which are also in common use, e.g., 9.00yb (09.00) as opposed to 9.00yh (21.00).

United States


In the United States, dates are traditionally written in the "month day year" order, that is, in neither descending nor ascending order of significance. (In computing, this would be called a "endianness" order.) This order is used in both the traditional all-numeric date (e.g., "12/31/99" or "12/31/1999") (said with all cardinal numbers) as well as in the expanded form (e.g., "December 31, 1999") (said with the year as a cardinal number and the day as an ordinal number; e.g., "December thirty-first, nineteen ninety-nine"), with the historical rationale that it is indeed big-endian with respect to the month and day, as the year was often of lesser importance. The most commonly used separator in the all-numeric form is the slash, although the hyphen is also common. Dots have also emerged in the all-numeric format recently due to globalization.

The day-month-order has increased in usage notably since the early 1980s. The month is usually written as a name, as in "12-Dec-1999". Many genealogical databases and the MLA citation style use this format. The I-94 cards and new customs declaration cards used for people entering the United States where passengers are requested to write pertinent dates in the numeric 'dd mm yy' format.

The ISO 8601 yyyy-mm-dd format is also used within the FAA and military because of the need to eliminate ambiguity. The fully written "day month year" (e.g., 12 March 2005) in written American English is starting to become more common outside of the media industry and legal documents, particularly in university publications and in some international-influenced publications as a means of dealing with ambiguity.[citation needed] However, most Americans write "March 12, 2005". Speaking the "day month year" format is still rarely used, with the exception of the Fourth of July.

The ISO 8601 date notation YYYY-MM-DD is popular in some computer applications because it greatly reduces the amount of code needed to resolve and compute dates. It may be considered less of a break with tradition by U.S. users, since it preserves the familiar month-day order. Two US standards mandate the use of ISO 8601-like formats: ANSI INCITS 30-1997 (R2008); and NIST FIPS PUB 4-2 (FIPS PUB 4-2 withdrawn in United States 2008-09-02[1]), the earliest of which is traceable back to 1968.[citation needed]

Weeks are generally referred to by the date of some day within that week (e.g., "the week of March 5"), rather than by a week number. Calendars mostly show Sunday as the first day of the week.


The United States differs from other countries in that it uses 12-hour notation almost exclusively, not only in spoken language, but also in writing, even on timetables, for airline tickets, and with some computer software. The suffix "a.m." or "p.m." (often represented as AM and PM) is appended universally in written language. Where this is inconvenient typographically (e.g., in dense tables), different fonts or colors are sometimes used instead of a.m./p.m. Due to ambiguity of the 12-hour notation at noon and especially midnight, events are sometimes scheduled at "11:59 p.m." or "12:01 a.m." instead of 12:00 a.m. to remove ambiguity.[citation needed] Alternatively, people might specify "noon" or "midnight", after or instead of 12:00 (12:00M for 00:00 and 12:00N for 12:00). (Business events, which are increasingly scheduled using groupware calendar applications, avoid such ambiguity, since the software itself takes care of the naming conventions.)

The 24-hour notation is rarely used so far in the U.S. in public communication. It is best known there for its use by the military, and therefore commonly called "military time". In U.S. military use, 24-hour time is traditionally written without a colon (1800 instead of 18:00) and in spoken language is sometimes followed by the word "hours" (e.g., "eighteen hundred hours"). The 24-hour notation is also widely used by astronomers and some other communities (public safety, transport, aerospace, hospitals) where exact and unambiguous communication of time is critical. It is also widely used with computers, but less commonly with applications targeted at non-specialist end users.

Some style guides and most people suggest not to use a leading zero with a single-digit hour; for example, "3:52 p.m." is preferred over "03:52 p.m.". (The leading zero is more commonly used with the 24-hour notation; especially in computer applications because it can help to maintain column alignment in tables and correct sorting order, and also because it helps to highlight the 24-hour character of the given time.)

Times of day ending in :00 minutes may be pronounced in English as the numbered hour followed by o'clock (e.g., 10:00 ten o'clock, 2:00 two o'clock, 4:00 four o'clock, etc.). This may be followed by the a.m. or p.m. designator, or might not be, if obvious. O'clock itself may be omitted, leaving a time like four a.m. or four p.m..

The minutes (other than :00) may be pronounced in a variety of ways:

Minutes :01 through :09 are usually pronounced as oh one through oh nine. :10 through :59 are their usual number-words. For example, "9:45 a.m." is usually pronounced "nine forty-five" or sometimes "nine forty-five a.m.".

Times of day from :01 to :29 minutes past the hour are commonly pronounced with the words "after" or "past", for example 10:17 being "seventeen after ten" or "seventeen past ten". :15 minutes is very commonly called "quarter after" or "quarter past" and :30 minutes universally "half past", e.g. 4:30, "half past four". Times of day from :31 to :59 are, by contrast, given subtractively with the words "to", "of", "until", or "till": 12:55 would be pronounced as "five to one" or "five of one". :45 minutes is pronounced as "quarter to", "quarter of", "quarter until", or "quarter till". For example, "9:45 a.m." is often pronounced "fifteen till ten" or "quarter to ten", or sometimes "quarter to ten in the morning" (but rarely "quarter to ten a.m."). However, it is always acceptable to pronounce the time using number words and the aforementioned "oh" convention, for example 12:55 "twelve fifty-five", 12:09 "twelve oh-nine", 12:30 "twelve thirty", and 12:15 "twelve fifteen".

Other regions


In terms of dates, most countries use the "day month year" format.


The 24-hour clock enjoys broad everyday usage in most countries outside North America and the Philippines. When a time is written down or displayed, the 24-hour notation is used in these countries almost exclusively. Some regions, for example, most German, French and Romanian speakers use the 24-hour clock today even when speaking casually. In other English-speaking regions, particularly former colonies of the United Kingdom, the 12-hour and 24-hour are used interchangeably in formal communications.

It is not uncommon that the same person would use the 24-hour notation in spoken language when referring to an exact point in time ("The train leaves at fourteen forty-five …"), while using some variant of the 12-hour notation to refer vaguely to a time ("… so I will be back tonight sometime after five."). People are used to converting between the two notations without requiring mental arithmetic, and most perceive "three o'clock" and "15:00" simply as synonyms.

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ Page 171, Style Manual for Authors Editors and Printers (6th Ed.), Commonwealth of Australia, 2002, Wiley, ISBN 0-7016-3648-3
  3. ^, p.2
  4. ^ Internetumfrage nach IP-Ortung
  5. ^ Dansk Sprognævn - Retskrivningsordbogen (
  6. ^ Dansk Standard - DS:ISO 8601 (
  7. ^ Erickson, Helen L. and Marianne Gustafsson, "TIME - KISWAHILI GRAMMAR NOTES - Time: Saa Ngapi?", The Kamusi Project - The Internet Living Swahili Dictionary, Yale Program in African Languages
  8. ^ Ali, Hassan O., "Useful Swahili Words: Time", Swahili Language & Culture.
  9. ^ Chesswas, J. D. (1963) Essentials of Luganda. Oxford University Press
  10. ^ Osiris Helyesírás, 2006 (ISBN 963-389-541-3)
  11. ^ a b A magyar helyesírás szabályai, 2005 (ISBN 963-218-980-9)
  12. ^ "Standards Published". Bureau of Indian Standards. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  13. ^ "Passport Application Form" (PDF). Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "The Hindu". The Hindu. Retrieved 2008-09-20. 
  16. ^ Taaladvies: "8h30 / 8u.30 / 8.30 u. / 8.30 uur"
  17. ^ International Standard ISO 15223: Medical devices – Symbols to be used with medical device labels, labeling and information to be supplied


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