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    #1

    Midnight

    Sorry if my question would sound a bit silly, but still...

    When it is 12 o'clock at night, can one say something like 'It is 12 a.m.' or is it completely impossible and one is left with the only choice - 'It's midnight'?

    Thank you in advance.

  1. 5jj's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: Midnight

    We often say "It's 12 o' clock" as an alternative to "It's midnight".

    We don't say "It's 12 a.m." This is perhaps because many people aren't sure whether it's a.m or p.m.

  2. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Midnight

    Quote Originally Posted by shatilof View Post
    Sorry if my question would sound a bit silly, but still...

    When it is 12 o'clock at night, can one say something like 'It is 12 a.m.' or is it completely impossible and one is left with the only choice - 'It's midnight'?

    Thank you in advance.
    The answer by 5jj is correct. Technically, AM means before midday and PM means after midday, which makes 12:00 a sort of middle of the road in either case. That said, there are conventions about the usage of noon and midnight. In AmE (and I believe in other varieties of English) convention dictates that noon is 12 PM and midnight is 12 AM.

    This is the usage note from American Heritage Dictionary:

    Usage Note:
    By convention, 12 AM denotes midnight and 12 PM denotes noon. Because of the potential for confusion, it is advisable to use 12 noon and 12 midnight.

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