# How do you read it aloud?

Status
Not open for further replies.

#### optimistic pessimist

##### Senior Member
Dear all,
When the time is 10 minutes past 9 o'clock, you say "It's nine ten".

Then, when you need to tell the strict time, say, 25 seconds past 9:10, do you say, "It's nine ten twenty-five"? If you don't, how do you say it?

In my native language, Japanese, it's easy to say it. However, I haven't even think of how to say it in English until recently.

This is a question a biginning level learner asked me, which I coudn't answer.

Thank you!

OP

#### Heterological

##### Member
...or nine-ten and twenty-five seconds.

#### Raymott

##### VIP Member
And before the hour, you'd say, it's 10 minutes and 25 seconds before nine. (It's eight forty-nine and 35 seconds).
08:49:35
Note that, however you say it, you need to include the word "seconds".

#### emsr2d2

##### Moderator
Staff member
Dear all,
When the time is 10 minutes past 9 o'clock, you say "It's nine ten".

Then, when you need to tell the strict time, say, 25 seconds past 9:10, do you say, "It's nine ten twenty-five"? If you don't, how do you say it?

In my native language, Japanese, it's easy to say it. However, I haven't even think of how to say it in English until recently.

This is a question a biginning level learner asked me, which I coudn't answer.

Thank you!

OP

In BrE, we would usually say "It's ten past nine", although some people will say "It's nine ten".

If you want to be very precise, you would add "...and twenty-five seconds".

Edit: Apologies for duplication of info. When I started typing this response, there were no other replies!

Last edited:

#### Rover_KE

##### Moderator
Staff member
I've never found it necessary to specify the number of seconds when giving someone the time.

I can't be sure my watch is that accurate.

Even if it were, by the time I'd said 'It's ten past nine and twenty-five seconds', it would be ten past nine and twenty-seven seconds.

Anybody who has a good enough reason to know the time with that degree of accuracy will make their own arrangements and not rely on a random passer-by to say 'ten past nine and twenty-five seconds - no, twenty-six seconds - no, twenty-seven seconds - no, twenty-eight seconds.

This is ridiculous.

Rover

#### emsr2d2

##### Moderator
Staff member
I've never found it necessary to specify the number of seconds when giving someone the time.

I can't be sure my watch is that accurate.

Even if it were, by the time I'd said 'It's ten past nine and twenty-five seconds', it would be ten past nine and twenty-seven seconds.

Anybody who has a good enough reason to know the time with that degree of accuracy will make their own arrangements and not rely on a random passer-by to say 'ten past nine and twenty-five seconds - no, twenty-six seconds - no, twenty-seven seconds - no, twenty-eight seconds.

This is ridiculous.

Rover

Maybe not a random stranger in the street asking the time, no, but there are professions/circumstances where exact timings are very important. I imagine that in some scientific circumstances, aeronautical etc etc.

I'm sure that someone at NASA probably thinks it's very important to know that the last Shuttle took off at "eleven fifty five and twelve seconds" (or something similar - I have no idea what NASA does and doesn't need to know)!

So I agree that saying "It's nine thirty and seventeen seconds" is unlikely, but answering "What time did X happen?" with "At nine thirty and seventeen seconds" may well be important to get right.

Last edited:

#### Rover_KE

##### Moderator
Staff member
. . .there are professions/circumstances where exact timings are very important. I imagine that in some scientific circumstances, aeronautical etc etc.

Agreed.

that's why I said

Anybody who has a good enough reason to know the time with that degree of accuracy will make their own arrangements

Rover

#### emsr2d2

##### Moderator
Staff member
Yes, but knowing that people who need to know will make their own arrangements really doesn't help the OP who I'm sure asked the question in all good faith, and probably had a reason for wanting to know!

#### joham

##### Key Member
This is a very interesting topic. In China, some people sometimes said 'It's now nine ten and thirty-five seconds' in Chinese. I think this was merely a habit of saying things (perhaps deriving from a kind of show-off state of mind: I have a watch, at the early stage when watches were introduced into China), although they knew the hearer didn't need a precise time like that. Nowadays people depend on cell phones instead of watches for the time. So the '...and thirty-five seconds' is seldom heard now.

Perhaps Japanese and Chinese have something in common about how to tell the time?

Last edited:
Status
Not open for further replies.