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    #1

    What time do you make it?

    What time do you make it?

    What is wrong with asking someone the time this way?

    I asked native speakers of the English language on two occasions for the time as in question, and they did not seem to understand what I was asking for. I do agree that it is an uncommon expression but I like it, and I was once told that its just another way of asking the time.

    I found a thread in the forum, from the other year, explaining that one asking for time this way, addresses the question to another person not having a watch, in which case, I understand the meaning would be:

    What time, do you think, it is now?

    Although it makes sense to me, I do not understand why people were so surprised. It is still asking for the time. Is it old-fashioned? I don't want to stop using it but maybe I should?
    The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.
    Mark Twain

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: What time do you make it?

    "What time do you make it?" seems perfectly OK to me.

  2. lotus888's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: What time do you make it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Auldlangsyne View Post
    What time do you make it?

    What is wrong with asking someone the time this way?

    Maybe you meant "What time do you make it to be?"

    It's a rather uncommon phrase in American English. You'd more commonly hear:

    What time do you think it is?



    --lotus

  3. Jill Dorchester's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: What time do you make it?

    Personally, when I hear "What time do you make it?" I picture two people synchronizes their watches.....either two soldiers, or two crooks planning a caper, or two undercover police officers planning a mission.

  4. riquecohen's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: What time do you make it?

    I'm glad that the OP likes the question, but it certainly isn't the way to ask someone the time in AmE,(except in the situations that Jill and Lotus describe.) Bhai has said that it's OK in BrE, but if you want to ask somebody in the US what the time is, the most common phrases are "Do you have the time?", "What time do you have?" and "What time is it, please?"

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    #6

    Re: What time do you make it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill Dorchester View Post
    Personally, when I hear "What time do you make it?" I picture two people synchronizes their watches.....either two soldiers, or two crooks planning a caper, or two undercover police officers planning a mission.
    The meaning depends on which side of the pond you live then, by the sound of it. Since they were Britons, I draw a conclusion that they might have been oblivious of any of the examples. Had it been otherwise I would have been informed what time it was, most likely followed by a questioning look , but still.
    The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.
    Mark Twain

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    #7

    Re: What time do you make it?

    Quote Originally Posted by riquecohen View Post
    I'm glad that the OP likes the question, but it certainly isn't the way to ask someone the time in AmE,(except in the situations that Jill and Lotus describe.) Bhai has said that it's OK in BrE, but if you want to ask somebody in the US what the time is, the most common phrases are "Do you have the time?", "What time do you have?" and "What time is it, please?"
    I think that it would never cross my mind to ask anybody do you have the time? as it sounds to me a bit like do you have a minute? (e.g., for a quick chat). But that is certainly good to know all the differences, especially that I meet Americans every now and then.

    The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter - 'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.
    Mark Twain

  5. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: What time do you make it?

    How good is your spoken English? You only have to make a few errors of intonation, and that request could be perplexing.
    What time do you make it? What time do you make it? What time do you make it? All of these might elicit a 'Huh?' from me. And if 'time' is pronounced even slightly wrongly - given that it's the only content word in the sentence - the whole meaning could be lost.
    Maybe tapping your wrist with your finger at the same time as the request would increase understanding. Or you could buy a watch.
    (All of the above would be understood in Aus. We tend not to say "Do you have the time?" It can lead to some extremely lame Carry On comebacks.)
    Last edited by Raymott; 17-Nov-2014 at 13:06. Reason: typo

  6. MikeNewYork's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: What time do you make it?

    "What time do you have?" is far more natural for me than "What time do you make it?"

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    #10

    Re: What time do you make it?

    Quote Originally Posted by Auldlangsyne View Post
    The meaning depends on which side of the pond you live then, by the sound of it.
    Not really IMO- I would be more likely to use it in BrE when I was checking the time, if I didn't trust my watch, for instance, or synchronising. If I just wanted to know the time,I'd ask What time is it? or Do you have the time?

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