# Thread: ordinal numbers and time of day (5th o'clock?)

1. ## ordinal numbers and time of day (5th o'clock?)

Hello,

To my logic, after the fashion of 3rd (day) of March, it should be 3rd (hour) p.m.

Can anyone help me understand this? Have ordinal numerals ever been used in this context in English? They are in my language .

2. ## Re: ordinal numbers and time of day (5th o'clock?)

Originally Posted by JarekSteliga
Hello,

To my logic, after the fashion of 3rd (day) of March, it should be 3rd (hour) p.m.

Can anyone help me understand this? Have ordinal numerals ever been used in this context in English? They are in my language .
"Five o'clock" is an abbreviation of "Five of the clock".

3. ## Re: ordinal numbers and time of day (5th o'clock?)

Thank you for attending to my post, but why is it not 5th of the clock? By the same token why is it not 1995th or 2014th (provided the date here is read as a single number instead of a pair of numbers).

When it is said "it is the 3rd year of his work", why is it not said "2014th year of the AD era"? Have ordinal numerals ever been used in English with reference to hours / years?

Curious thing is how ordinal numeral is after all used in the expression "in the 11th hour". Is this some echo of the past norm?

4. ## Re: ordinal numbers and time of day (5th o'clock?)

Originally Posted by JarekSteliga
Thank you for attending to my post, but why is it not 5th of the clock? By the same token why is it not 1995th or 2014th (provided the date here is read as a single number instead of a pair of numbers).

When it is said "it is the 3rd year of his work", why is it not said "2014th year of the AD era"? Have ordinal numerals ever been used in English with reference to hours / years?

Curious thing is how ordinal numeral is after all used in the expression "in the 11th hour". Is this some echo of the past norm?
It could be "It's the fifth hour of the clock", it wouldn't be natural in most contexts, though. It cannot be "It is fifth o'clock".

5. ## Re: ordinal numbers and time of day (5th o'clock?)

I quite understand that "It's fifth o'clock" would not be natural. I fully respect the current rules of English as I am trying to learn them and am not attempting to change anything . I merely wanted to intrigue the native speakers in this forum and hear their reaction .

6. ## Re: ordinal numbers and time of day (5th o'clock?)

Originally Posted by JarekSteliga
I merely wanted to intrigue the native speakers in this forum and hear their reaction .
My reaction is simply that that's the way it is.

7. ## Re: ordinal numbers and time of day (5th o'clock?)

Ordinal hours were used in the times for prayers in places like monasteries, but they're not exactly clock times: Little Hours - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

8. ## Re: ordinal numbers and time of day (5th o'clock?)

Originally Posted by JarekSteliga

To my logic....
Nobody ever said English was logical.

9. ## Re: ordinal numbers and time of day (5th o'clock?)

I'm not a teacher nor a native English speaker (but Polish is somehow similar to Russian)

In Polish you probably say things the same way Russians do: 5 minutes of the fifth hour (04.05 or 16.05)

Russians look forward to the next full hour, whereas in English (and many other European languages) one looks back to how many minutes have past after the last full hour. At least untill half past.
So, if you want to learn how to speak English correctly, forget about ordinal numbers in this context.

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