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    #1

    after instead of past in American English

    Is it common in American English to use the preposition after instead of past in the sentences like:
    The movie starts at a quarte after seven.

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    #2

    Re: after instead of past in American English

    If someone asks me what time it is, I might say, "It's quarter after seven." If someone asks me what time a movie starts, I would more likely say, "The movie starts at seven fifteen."

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    #3

    Re: after instead of past in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by northpath View Post
    at a quarter
    .

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    #4

    Re: after instead of past in American English

    I am likely to omit the "a."

    Let's see - the movie starts at quarter after, it takes about 20 minutes to get there, we want time to allow time to get popcorn... I think we need to leave no later than 6:30.
    Last edited by Barb_D; 01-Aug-2016 at 13:27.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #5

    Re: after instead of past in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by northpath View Post
    Is it common in American English to use the preposition ‘after’ instead of ‘past’ in the sentences like:
    The movie starts at a quarte after seven.
    I always say past. "A quarter after seven" sounds odd to me, but maybe I just haven't been listening.
    I am not a teacher.

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    #6

    Re: after instead of past in American English

    Update from my 19-year-old:

    I've been looking at digital clocks since I popped out of the womb and I would never say "quarter after/twenty after." I'd say "7:15" or "7:20." This "past" / "after" thing you're asking about is a generational thing for people used to analog clock faces.

    She readily accepts that we say "quarter after" and knows what we mean, but it's not her native way of expressing time at all.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #7

    Re: after instead of past in American English

    When reviewing time expressions with my students, I've always told them they can use 'after' or 'past'.

    I'm usually more concerned that they're not mixing up 'before/to/until/till/of' with 'after/past' than I am with which one they actually choose. As long as they're expressing the correct side of the hour they mean to say, I tell them to just pick one and stick with it.

    I mention the other options, but tell them it doesn't really make any difference which one they choose to use, as long as they understand and correctly recognize the equivalencies.
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    #8

    Re: after instead of past in American English

    There is a children's story I read a long time ago about a little girl who was entrusted by her mother to leave for school by herself. She knew she had to leave at a quarter after 7. And she knew a quarter was 25 cents. So she left at 7:25.

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    #9

    Re: after instead of past in American English

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    Update from my 19-year-old:

    I've been looking at digital clocks since I popped out of the womb and I would never say "quarter after/twenty after."
    Neither would I, but for geographical rather than generational reasons- it's not common in BrE to use after here.

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    #10

    Re: after instead of past in American English

    I just thought it was interesting when I was asking if she would say "quarter after" or "quarter past," her answer was "Neither."
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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