Learning to talk about time and tell time in English

Here is a nice site where you can print out your own worksheets. Most of them have answer keys so it is good for self-study. Link to Exercises

My students tend to have trouble with

  • eleven-thirty/half past
  • quarter past or quarter to
  • half eleven
  • twenty five past/to

and these exercises will help you there. Battling to tell the time in different languages does not mean you are stupid, just that different countries talk about time in different ways. For example ‘half eleven’ to a Sweden means half TO eleven, whereas to an English speaker it means half PAST eleven. But in both languages ‘eleven thirty’ means the same thing.

My tip with weekdays and dates and times is to double and triple check by saying things like

  • Okay, so that is 11.30 on Thursday the 8th then?
  • Just to double check – half past eleven on Thursday 8th?

13th/30th and Tuesday/Thursday are often problems. As is the fact that ‘days of the week’ are Monday to Sunday whereas ‘weekdays’ are Monday to Friday. Unless you are in a country where the week starts on Sunday…

Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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