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Punctuation, Time

Note 35 – ‘The time’ in writing

For the background to my writing challenge, please read my first blog by clicking the following link –  If you would prefer to dive straight into note 35, then please read on…

How to write the time

Graham King in The Collins Improve your Punctuation, suggests using the 12-hour clock in writing, rather than the 24-hour clock (unless required for technical reasons).  If, however, you choose to write the time out in words it would be five-past eight in the morning or half-past eleven at night.

There doesn’t appear to be a fixed rule for writing the time in the 12-hour clock format.  Which do you prefer from the four ways listed below?  

(a) 8:05 am  or 11.30 pm 

(b) 8:05 p.m. or 11:30 p.m.

(c) 8.05 pm  or 11.05 pm

(d) 8.05 p.m or 8.05 p.m.

Graham King recommends using a single dot between the hours and minutes and no dots between the am or pm, as in c above, whereas William Strunk and EB White in The Elements of Style suggest writing the time a little more formal as in b above.

My thoughts: I believe that consistency is key here; pick a style and stick to it.  Personally, I’m going to go for 1c.

The exception: 12 o’clock

Graham King doesn’t recommended putting am or pm after 12.00, when writing in the 12 hour clock format.  He suggests the following in all cases:

  • 12.00 midday
  • 12.00 midnight

Hope you’ve had an enjoyable day – I’ve loved every minute of it.  If you read yesterday’s blog you will know that I went to The Kensington Roof Gardens last night.  It was an enjoyable experience –  the party was great, the gardens were smart and there was free-flowing champagne all night.  Not being a lover of champagne, I thankfully didn’t have a sore head this morning, hence having an enjoyable day today!

Until tomorrow…


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My other blog:


Twitter: @madeirasandra  and  @tipsandluxuries 

Reference list

Graham King The Collins Improve your Punctuation, UK

William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White  The Elements of Style, fiftieth anniversary edition (2009), USA


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer



  1. Pingback: Note 301 – How great titles can make blogs more popular « My writing challenge - February 25, 2012

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