Date and time notation by country

Date and time notation by country

Different style conventions and habits exist around the world for dates and times in writing and speaking. Examples:

*The order that a year, month, and day are written.
*How weeks are identified.
*The 24-hour clock and/or the 12-hour clock.
*The punctuation used to separate elements in all-numeric times.

Conventions for date and time can also differ substantially for writing and speaking.

International standard ISO 8601 defines unambiguous written all-numeric bigendian formats for dates, such as 1999-12-31 for December 31, 1999; and time, such as 23:59:59 for 23 hours, 59 minutes, and 59 seconds (one second before midnight).

These standards notations have been adopted by many countries as a national standard (e.g., BS EN 28601 in Britain and other EU countries, ANSI INCITS 30-1997 (R2008) and FIPS PUB 4-2 in the United States) and are, in particular, increasingly widely used in computer applications.


Australia has also signed up to use the ISO 8601 notation through the national standard AS 3802:1997.


The most common written date format in Australia is d/m/yyyy (e.g. 31/12/2006). This is the recommended short date format for government publications [Page 171, Style Manual for Authors Editors and Printers (6th Ed.), Commonwealth of Australia, 2002, Wiley, ISBN 0-7016-3648-3] . d.m.yyyy is also sometimes used. The first two digits of the year are often omitted in everyday use and on forms (e.g. 31/12/06).

Both the American and British formats for writing dates in full are common (i.e. December 31, 2007 and 31 December 2007).

Weeks are most often identified by the last day of the week, either the Friday in business (e.g. "week ending 19/1") or the Sunday in civilian use (e.g. "week ending 21/1"). Week ending is often abbreviated to "W/E" or "W.E.". The first day of the week or the day of an event are sometimes referred to (e.g. "week of 15/1"). Week numbers (as in "the third week of 2007") are not often used but may appear in some business diaries in numeral only form (e.g. "3" at the top or bottom of the page). ISO 8601 week notation (as in 2007-W3) is not widely understood.


The 12-hour notation is the default in Australia. The 24-hour clock is widely understood, and commonplace in technical fields such as aviation, computing, navigation and the sciences. The before noon/after noon qualifier is usually written as "am" or "pm". A colon is the preferred time separator Fact|date=August 2007, however the dot (period) is also common. Thus, a time looks like 3:51 pm or 3.51 pm.

Austria, Germany, Switzerland


The traditional all-numeric form of writing Gregorian dates in German is the little-endian day.month.year order, using a dot on the line (period or full stop) as the separator (e.g., “31.12.1991” or “15.4.74”). Some typesetters prefer the space after the second dot to be slightly larger than the first. Years can be written with two or four digits; the century may also be replaced by an apostrophe: “31.12.’91”. Numbers may be written with or without leading zero, but commonly they are only discarded in days when literal months are being used (e.g., “09.11.”, but “9. November”). The use of a dot as a separator matches the convention of pronouncing the day and the month as an ordinal number, because ordinal numbers are written in German followed by a dot.

In 1995 in Germany, this traditional notation was replaced in the DIN 5008 [] standard, which defines common typographic conventions, with the ISO 8601 notation (e.g., “1991-12-31”). The latter is beginning to become popular in some areas, especially computer software, but can not yet be described as very widely used. The expanded form of the date (e.g., “31. Dezember 1991”) continues to use the little-endian order and the ordinal-number dot for the day of the month.

Week numbers according to ISO 8601 and the convention of starting the week on Monday were introduced in the mid 1970s (DIN 1355). These conventions have been widely adhered to by German calendar publishers since then. Week numbers are prominently printed in calendars and are widely used in the business world. It is common to hear people say “I’m still free in week 36” or to have a company write “We expect delivery in week 49”. Especially in business communication, written or spoken, it is common to use week numbers with the abbreviation of Kalenderwoche (literally: calendar week), so the last example would be in German "Wir erwarten die Lieferung in der 49. KW".
Television broadcast weeks continue to start on Saturdays, two days before the DIN 1355 week.

Weekday names are commonly (and according to DIN 1355) abbreviated with two letters (Mo, Di, Mi, Do, Fr, Sa, So)whereas month names are abbreviated (if at all) with three letters (Jan, Feb, Mär, Apr, Mai, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Okt, Nov, Dez).


In written German, time is expressed practically exclusively in the 24-hour notation (00:00–23:59), using either a colon or a dot on the line as the separators between hours, minutes and seconds. Example: 14:51 or 14.51. The standard separator in Germany was the dot (DIN 1355, DIN 5008) until 1995, when the standards changed it to be the colon, in the interest of compatibility with ISO 8601. The traditional representation with dot allows to drop the leading zero of hours and is usually followed by the literal string “Uhr” (e.g., “6.30 Uhr”).

In spoken language, the 24-hour clock has become the dominant form during the second half of the 20th century, especially for formal announcements and exact points in time. Systematic use of the 24-hour clock by German TV announcers, along with the proliferation of digital clocks, may have been a significant factor in this development.

A variant of the 12-hour clock is also used, in particular in informal speech for approximate times. On some radio stations, announcers regularly give the current time on both forms, as in "Es ist jetzt vierzehn Uhr einundfünfzig; neun Minuten vor drei" ("It is now fourteen fifty-one; nine minutes to three").

There are two variants of the 12-hour clock used in spoken German regarding quarterly fractions of the current hour. One always relates to the next full hour, in other words, it names the fraction of the currently passing hour. For example, "dreiviertel drei" (three-quarter three, see table below) stands for "three quarters of the third hour have passed".

The other variant is relative; this one is also used for multiples of five minutes.

Examples::03:00 = 淩晨3點 (língchén sān diǎn) or 淩晨3點鐘 (língchén sān diǎnzhōng):19:00 = 傍晚7點 (bàngwǎn qī diǎn) or 傍晚7點鐘 (bàngwǎn qī diǎnzhōng):Note: These phrases that describe the time-frame of day are used only with the 12-hour system.

Time can alternatively be expressed as a fraction of the hour in speech. A traditional Chinese unit of time, the (kè), was 1/96 of the 24-hour day cycle or 15 minutes, equivalent to "quarter of an hour" in English. A quarter-after is 一刻 (yī kè) or 過一刻 (guò yī kè), which literally mean "one kè" or "one kè past", respectively. A quarter-to is 差一刻 (chà yī kè), which literally means "one kè less". 半 (bàn), which means half, is used in conjunction with the relative hour to mean "at the half-hour". Examples:

:6:45 = 7點差一刻 (qī diǎn chà yī kè) or 差一刻7點 (chà yī kè qī diǎn):8:15 = 8點一刻 (bādiǎn duō yīkè):9:30 = 9點半 (jiǔdiǎn bàn)

Attention must be drawn to the time 02:00. It is written as 2時 (èr shí) but almost always read as 兩點 (liǎng diǎn). The number two, 二 (èr), takes the form of 兩 (liǎng) when followed by a measure word, in this case, 點 (diǎn). Note that this does not apply to 12:00. Noon is 12點鐘 (shí èr diǎnzhōng) or 正午 (zhèngwǔ) or 午時 (wǔshí). Midnight, on the other hand, is 淩晨12點鐘 (língchén shí èr diǎnzhōng) or 零時 (língshí), which literally means zero hour.

Cantonese has an additional method of expressing time as a fraction of the hour. This system divides the hour into 12 units, each five minutes long. Each unit, therefore, corresponds to one of the numbers written on an analogue clock. The character for this unit is uncertain since it is only used in speech, however the Cantonese pronunciation is ji6 and homonymous to the character 字 (zì, Cantonese: ji6). This method can be used in two ways - with the relative hour and without. When the relative hour is included, the unit must be preceded with the measure word 個 (ge, Cantonese: go3). Example: 3:05 is 3點1個字 (sāndiǎn yīgezì, Cantonese: saam1 dim2 yat1 go3 ji6), usually simply 3點1. When the relative hour is not included, the unit is omitted as well; the position of the minute hand is described instead, using the verb 踏 (tà, Cantonese: daap6), which means "resting on top of" in this context. Examples:

:five-after = 踏1 (tà yī, Cantonese: daap6 yat1):ten-after = 踏2 (tà èr, Cantonese: daap6 yi6):fifteen-to = 踏9 (tà jiǔ, Cantonese: daap6 gau2):ten-to = 踏10 (tà shí, Cantonese: daap6 sap6)

The half-hour mark is never described using this unit of five minutes, however. 3:30 is still 3點半 (sāndiǎn bàn, Cantonese: saam1 dim2 bun3), as previously described. Half-past the hour is 踏半 (tàbàn, Cantonese: daap6 bun3).


In Greece, the all-numeric form for dates is in the little endianess order of day-month-year. Years can be written with 2 or 4 digits.

The 12-hour notation is used in verbal communication, but the 24-hour format is also used along with the 12-hour notation in writing. The minutes are usually written with two digits; the hour numbers are written without a leading zero.



Date is traditionally expressed in big-endian form, like ISO-8601. Numeric date elements are followed by a dot. The format "yyyy. month d." is commonly used, the name of the month can be abbreviated. Months can also be written using Roman numerals, though this form is rarely seen on computers. When written as "yyyy. mm. dd.", leading zeros are usually added, and the spaces between the elements may be omitted. Examples:

*"1999. augusztus 1."
*"1999. aug. 1."
*"1999. VIII. 1."
*"1999. 08. 01."

If the day of the week is included, it is put after the date, separated by a comma. Note that names of weeks and months are not capitalized.

*"1999. augusztus 1., vasárnap"

The pronunciation of the above date is "ezerkilencszázkilencvenkilenc augusztus egy, vasárnap" (thousand-ninehundred-ninety-nine August one, Sunday).

As year and day elements in Hungarian are ordinal numbers, they are followed by a dot. However, unless a suffix is added, they are said as cardinal numbers. Also note that stacking of symbols when writing in Hungarian is considered a bad practice, therefore when a suffix is attached to the date using a hyphen, the dot is omitted.

*"1999. augusztus 1-én" (on August 1, 1999)

When the date consists of only a year, it is treated as a cardinal number and is said and written accordingly (i.e. no dot).

*"1999-ben" (in 1999)

Monday is the first day of the week.


Like in most countries, the 24-hour clock is used in formal and 12-hour clock in informal contexts. The time format is "hh:mm", but "" may also be used, leading zeros before the hours are omitted. When the 12-hour clock is used, the period of the day is said before the time. Examples:


The pronunciation of the above are "húsz óra öt perc" (twenty hours five minutes) and "este nyolc óra öt perc" (evening eight hours five minutes) respectively.

*"20:05-kor" (at 8:05 p.m.)

The following are commonly accepted divisions of the day that can be said before the time:

*"hajnal" (dawn) – 1–5 a.m.
*"reggel" (morning) – 6–9 a.m.
*"délelőtt" (before noon) – 10–11 a.m.
*"délután" (afternoon) – 1–5 p.m.
*"este" (evening) – 6–11 p.m.

Additionally, "dél" (noon) and "éjfél" (midnight) may be used.

Each hour is divided into four equal periods and are verbally referred to as in the following examples:

*"negyed 8" (quarter 8) – 7:15
*"fél 8" (half 8) – 7:30
*"háromnegyed 8" (three-quarter 8) – 7:45

Combining the above with "5 perc múlva" (5 minutes before) or "5 perccel múlt" (5 minutes after) is commonly used when asked for the time.


ISO 8601 has been adopted as Indian Standard IS 7900:2001 (Data elements and interchange formats – Information interchange – Representation of dates and times - first revision)cite web|url=|title=Standards Published|publisher=Bureau of Indian Standards|accessdate=2008-09-20]


The DD-MM-YY is the predominant short form of the numeric date usage in India. The MM-DD-YY format is never used. Almost all government documents need to be filled up in the DD-MM-YYYY format. An example of DD-MM-YYYY usage is the passport application form.cite web|url=|title=Passport Application Form|publisher=Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India|language=English|accessdate=2008-09-20]

Both uses of the expanded form are used in India. The DD MMMM YYYY usage is more prevalent over the MMMM, DD YYYY usage. The MMMM DD, YYYY usage is more prevalent by media publications such as the print version of the "Times of India" [] and "The Hindu"cite news|url=|title=The Hindu|publisher=The Hindu|accessdate=2008-09-20]

In India, dates in astrology or religious purposes are written in a year-month-day format.Fact|date=September 2008 This order is also found while reading dates in South Indian languages. (For example, 15 August 1947 would be read in Tamil as 1947 ஆம் ஆண்டு ஆகஸ்ட்(August) 15 ஆம் நாள்.) Whereas, north Indian languages, notably Hindi, follow a day-month-year format for reading the dates (15 August 1947 will be read as 15 अगस्त (August) सन 1947).Fact|date=September 2008 However, in written form, it is traditionally in day-month-year order, using a slash or hyphen as the separator. This order is used in both the traditional all-numeric date (e.g., "31/12/99" or "31-12-99") as well as in the expanded form (e.g., "31 December 1999"). Sometimes, the ordinal number for the day before the month is written down (e.g., 31 December 1999). When saying the date, it is usually pronounced by the ordinal number of the day first then the word "of" then the month (e.g. 31st of December 1999). The use of its big-endian date notation is not very prevalent.Fact|date=September 2008

Sundays are the start of the week.


Both the 12-hour and 24-hour notations are widely used in India. The 12-hour notation is widely used in daily life, written communication, and is used in spoken language. The 24-hour notation is used in situations where there would be widespread ambiguity. Examples include railway timetables, plane departure and landing timings, and TV schedules. A colon is widely used to separate hours, minutes and seconds (e.g., 10:00:15).



In Ireland, the date is written in the order day-month-year, with the separator as a slash, dot, hyphen, or just left blank. Years can be written with two or four digits.Examples:
*31/12/1992 or 31/12/92;
*31.12.1992 or 31.12.92;
*31-12-1992 or 31-12-92;
*31 12 1992 or 31 12 92;

"31 December 1992" is also used, or in Irish "31 Nollaig 1992".

When dates are spoken, they are generally given in day-month-year order: "the 31 December 1992", but increasingly the American form of "December 31" is catching on.

The week is generally considered to begin on Monday in Ireland (Sunday being "the seventh day"), although some people consider the week to start on a Sunday.


The 24-hour notation is more commonly used in text (e.g., timetables, newspapers, etc.) and is written "14:05" or "14.05". Whenever 12-hour notation is used, it is written the same way, as "2:05PM" or "2.05PM". "AM" or "PM" can be written as either "AM/PM", "A.M./P.M.", "A.M/P.M", "am/pm", "a.m./p.m.", or "a.m/p.m". It can be written directly after the time (e.g., 2:05PM) or one space after (e.g., 2:05 PM).

When talking about the time, it is usually said in traditional 12-hour format.


*14:00 is said as "two o'clock", "two", or "two (o'clock) in the afternoon". In Irish it is "a dó a chlog".
*14:01 - 14:14 and 14:16 - 14:29 is said as "... past two". In Irish it is "... tar éis a dó".
*14:15 is said as "a quarter past two". In Irish it is "ceathrú tar éis a dó".
*14:30 is said as "half past two" or "half two". In Irish it is "leathuair tar éis a dó".
*14:31 - 14:44 and 14:46 - 14:59 is said as "... to three". In Irish it is "... chun a trí".
*14:45 is said as "a quarter to three". In Irish it is "ceathrú chun a trí".

In addition to this, the system of saying the exact time (e.g., 14:55 is said as "fourteen fifty-five") is also widely used.

People in Ireland commonly juggle using both systems of time.

Korea (South)

The most formal manner of expressing the full date and/or time is to suffix each of the year, month, day, ante/post-meridiem indicator, hour, minute and second (in this order, i.e. with larger units first) with the corresponding unit and separating each with a space:

* 년 "nyeon" for year;
* 월 "weol" for month;
* 일 "il" for day;
* 오전 "ojeon" for a.m.; 오후 "ohu" for p.m.;
* 시 "si" for hour;
* 분 "bun" for minute; and
* 초 "cho" for second.

For example, the ISO 8601 timestamp 1975-07-15 09:18:32 would be written as “1975년 7월 15일 오전 9시 18분 32초”.

The same rules apply when expressing the date or the time alone, e.g. “1975년 7월 15일”, “1975년 7월”, “7월 15일”, “15일 오전 9시 18분” and “오전 9시 18분 32초”.

The national standard (KSXISO8601, formerly KSX1511) also recognizes the ISO-8601-compliant date/time format of YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS, which is widely used in computing and on the Korean internet.


In written documents, the date form above (but not the time) is often abbreviated by replacing each unit suffix with a single period; for example, 1975년 7월 15일 would be abbreviated as “1975. 7. 15.” (note the trailing period and intervening spaces).


12-hour clock is predominantly used in daily life, and the ante/post-meridiem indicator is often omitted where doing so does not introduce ambiguity.

The 30th minute after every turn of the clock is commonly—especially in spoken Korean—abbreviated as 반 ban, which literally means “half”; in this context, “half an hour (past a turn of the clock).” For example, 13:30 is either expressed as “오후 1시 30분” or “오후 1시 반”.

When the time is expressed in the HH:MM:SS notation, the Roman ante/post-meridiem indicators (AM and PM) are also used frequently. In addition, they sometimes incorrectly follow the convention of writing the Korean-style indicator before the time; it is not uncommon to encounter times expressed in such a way, e.g. “AM 9:18” instead of “9:18 AM”.

Two words, 정오 jeong-o and 자정 jajeong, are sometimes used to indicate 12:00 and 0:00 respectively—much in the same way the English words noon and midnight are used.



In The Netherlands, dates are written as:

* dd-mm-yyyy ("31-10-1999")
* dd-mm-yy ("31-10-99")
* month written out ("31 oktober 1999")
* month abbreviated ("31 okt 1999")
* occasionally month as a roman number 31 X 1999
* "oktober" is the current spelling. Between 1954 and 2005 the word was spelled "october".


In written language, time is expressed in the 24-hour notation, with or without leading zero, using a full stop or colon as a separator, sometimes followed by the word "uur" (hour) or its abbreviation "u." For example: "22.51 uur", "9.12 u.", or "09:12". In technical and scientific texts the use of the abbreviations "h", "min" and "s" or is common. For example "17 h 03 min 16 s". [Taaladvies: [ "8h30 / 8u.30 / 8.30 u. / 8.30 uur"] ]

In spoken language, the 12-hour clock is still often used. However, "am" and "pm" are never used. Instead, people use a sentence to make it clear. For instance "om 9 uur 's avonds", meaning literally "at 9 o'clock in the evening").



Norway uses two date systems:
* D.MM.YYYY (e.g., 24.12.2006 for Christmas Eve, or 1.5.2006 for Labour Day) is by far the most common system, and is the one recommended by the Norwegian Language Council. Dots are the most common separator, although you still see slash and hyphen (especially in handwriting): 24/12-2005.
* YYYY-MM-DD (the ISO 8601-standard) is used to some extent in official documents and in computer related materials.

Week numbering is also very common both written and orally, albeit less so in private life.

The week always begins on Mondays and ends on Sundays.


Written time is almost always in the 24-hour clock. In spoken language, a mixture of the two systems are used:
* When giving exact times, or when speaking in official settings (radio, TV, etc.), the 24-hour clock is always used.
* When speaking informally, the 12-hour clock is often used. Minutes are usually rounded off to the nearest five minutes, and are given according to the "closest half hour period": «Klokka er ti på halv fire» («the clock is ten to half four», i.e., 15:20) and «klokka er fem over halv sju» («the clock is five past half seven», i.e., 18:35).

There are two ways of pronouncing numbers:
* The "modern", standard counting: «Klokka er tjueto» («The clock is twentytwo»). The modern variant is used in all official radio programmes and when speaking officially.
* The traditional counting: «Klokka er toogtjue» («The clock is twoandtwenty»). The traditional variant is often used in more informal settings. Many numbers also have different pronunciations depending on dialect (for instance «tjue» and «tyve»).



In the Philippines, the country's ways of writing dates are similar to that of the United States (see below) except that the days are usually said with a cardinal number (e.g., "December thirty-one") in English. Consequently, it is the only country whose immigration embarkation/disembarkation forms ask passengers to write pertinent dates in the mm-dd-yy format. Sometimes though, especially in selected written communication, the country uses the day-monthyear format. In the Filipino language, the day-month-year notation is the proper way of expressing the dates (e.g. "ika-31 ng Disyembre" which stands for the 31st of December) however the month-day-year is also used sometimes (e.g. "Disyembre 31").


The Philippines uses the 12-hour clock in most oral or written communications, whether formal or informal. The use of the 24-hour clock is usually confined to airports and other technical purposes.



The first system for denoting abbreviated dates used roman numerals for months (e.g., 11 XI 1918 for Independence Day). The current year can be replaced by the abbreviation "br." and the current month can similarly be replaced by the abbreviation "bm.", in which case the year is omitted altogether.The roman notation still prevails in private communication, except for date stamps where Arabic numerals are used (as in "Berlin, 9.05.1945"). The authorities changed the order of the date stamps in 1979 to follow Polish industrial standard PN-90/N-01204 (Polskie Normy) similar to ISO 8601; 1981-12-13 has been the preferred format since then.

The month name is written where enough space is provided for the date; the month is in genitive case (because of the meaning e.g. “first day of May”) and the ordinals are often followed by a period to indicate they are ordinal; the date is often preceded by the abbreviation "dn." (day) and followed by the abbreviation "r." (year), as in "dn. 1. maja 1997. r.". The month name can be abbreviated to three initial letters where an actual date stamping device is used, e.g., on letter envelopes.

Poland adopted the ISO 8601 standard for date format in official, especially electronic, communication in 2002. For everyday usage and for less official papers, however, the traditional formats d.m. [yy] yy or [yy] yy (i.e., 7.8.2008, 07.08.2008, 07.08.08) are very common in Poland because of speaking order: Day-Month-Year.


A 12-hour clock is used in private communications; a verbose day time is appended to distinguish among morning, forenoon, noon, afternoon, evening and night. The clock starts at midnight and at noon (except when DST is used). A 24-hour clock is used in official documents, the clock starts at midnight (except when DST is used). The day breaks at 4 AM according to common sense albeit several broadcasters extend their published schedules till 6 AM.

When the hour goes by itself, it is preceded by the abbreviation "godz." (for hour); when it is accompanied by minutes, this introductory abbreviation is not needed.Minutes are traditionally superscribed to the hour and underlined, as in 1745 (even in typewritten documents). According to Polish printed publishings norm, a dot is used to separate hours and minutes when not using superscription but popularity of electronic devices caused the dot to be often replaced with a colon (less official).



Serbian language uses either all-numeric form of dates in the little-endian date-month-year order, or the same order in which numerical month is replaced with its literal name. The dot is used as a separator, and matches the convention of pronouncing day, month and year as ordinal numbers (31. 12. 2006.). Note that dot is placed after the year as well.

Years can be written either with four or two digits, and in the latter case, century is usually replaced with an apostrophe (31. 12. ’06.). Leading zero is rarely used, and in those cases which are considered bad practice, only with months (6. 05. 2006.). When literal names of the months are used they are not capitalized, and the four-digit format for the year is always used (31. decembar 2006.). Yet another alternative is to use Roman numerals to indicate the month. In this case a dot is omitted (31. XII 2006.).

Day of the week always precedes the date (nedelja, 31. 12. 2006.), is separated by comma, but can be abbreviated to the first three letters, which are then capitalized (NED, 31. 12. '06.) – note that in that case, the shortest date format is used. Starting day of the week is Monday, and the weekend falls on Saturday and Sunday.

Weeks are rarely referred to by their order in the year, although they are always printed in large format calendars, typically the number of a week in the month is used (third week in March, instead of week 12).


The 24-hour clock is almost exclusively used in writing, while spoken language is dominated by the 12-hour clock, usually without noting whether the hour is AM or PM – that information is derived from the context. However, when time of the day needs to be emphasized, many descriptive alternatives exist, since AM/PM are not known to Serbian language:

* 00:00 and 24:00 - ponoć (midnight)
* 00:00-12:00 – "pre podne" (before noon)
* 03:00-10:00 – "ujutru" (morning) (i.e. "8 ujutru" means 8 AM) or "jutros" (this [past] morning)
* 12:00 - podne (noon)
* 12:00-24:00 – "posle podne" or short "popodne" (afternoon)
* 19:00-23:00 - "uveče" (evening) or "večeras" (this/upcoming evening)
* 23:00-03:00 – "noću" (at night), "sinoć" (last night) or "noćas" (ambiguous in colloquial speech, either "tonight" or "last night")

Note that certain periods overlap, and are given roughly, since this colloquial use of the language is not regulated and is mostly customary. Literal names for midnight ("ponoć") and noon ("podne") are often used instead of numerical "12 O'Clock".

In written Serbian, time is expressed by the 24-hour notation, using colon as a separator. Incorrect use of dot rarely occurs, usually in brochures or leaflets with minimalistic design.

In spoken language, when one is telling the time between full and half hour (i.e. 14:00-14:29), a reference is made to the past full hour. Once the half hour has passed (14:30-14:59), two variants can be used – one referring to the previous, and another to the following full hour. Latter variant is more frequently used.

In very formal speech, designations "hours" and "minutes" are added, while reference is made only to the previous hour, i.e. 14:45 would be "dva sata i četrdeset pet minuta" (two hours and forty five minutes), or sometimes even in 24-hour format, "četrnaest časova i četrdeset pet minuta" (fourteen hours and forty five minutes). Note that among the two words for "hour", "sat" is commonlz used for 1 to 12 range and "čas" for 0 and 13 to 24, but there are no official rules.

Also, when speaking about the present hour in the second half of the hour, the following hour is sometimes omitted from the phrase in colloquial speech, i.e. in reference to 14:45 instead of saying "petnaest do tri" (fifteen to three), one could say just "petnaest do" (fifteen to).



In Sweden, the ISO 8601 standard is closely followed in most written Swedish. Dates are generally and officially written for example "2006-12-31", but the older forms "31/12-2006", "31/12 2006", "31/12-06", or "31/12/06" are frequently seen informally. The long form as in "31 december 2006" is also sometimes used in writing and almost always in speech (although the date is pronounced as an ordinal number). Both in the older short forms and the long form, written and spoken, the year is often left out. Numbering of weeks are frequently used in companies and schools and are simply expressed as in "(vecka) 32" ("(week) 32") in both writing and speech. On labels and in computers' notation, the year may also be included, as in "2006W32". As in the ISO standard, the week begins with a Monday and week 1 is the week containing the year's first Thursday.


Times are written without notable exceptions with the 24-hour clock, with periods as separators (colons are sometimes seen as an international influence), although seconds are usually left out. Example: 23.59, or sometimes 23.59.00. In spoken Swedish however, the 12-hour clock is much more common. Usually time is expressed in 5-minute intervals (rounded so that it can be evenly divided by 5) like this: "", "<5, 10 or 20 [minutes] > ", "a quarter ", "half " or "five half ". More accurately like this: "<1-29 [minutes] > past ", "half " or "<29-1 [minutes] > to ". In these styles, the word for "minutes" is usually but not always left out. Finally the written notation can be pronounced as is: " ", although this isn't very common in everyday conversation. The 24-hour time is always applied on the last form, may be applied to the second form and is never used with rounded time as in the first form. Seconds are very seldom expressed at all in speech. Example: 14:27 may be pronounced as "tre minuter i halv tre" ("three minutes to half three"), "tjugosju (minuter) över två/fjorton" ("twenty seven (minutes) past two/fourteen"), or, most commonly: "fjorton och tjugosju" ("fourteen and twenty seven"). 16:00 may be pronounced as "fyra" ("four") or "sexton" ("sixteen").


Thailand also adopted ISO 8601 under national standard: TIS 1111:2535 in 1992.However, in practice, there are some variations.


Thailand mainly uses the Buddhist Era which is 543 years ahead of the Gregorian year. The year AD 2006 is indicated as 2549 BE in Thailand. Despite adopting ISO 8601, Thai official date is still written in DDMMYYYY format, such as 1 January 2549 BE (AD 2006) or 1/01/2549.


In Thailand, official time is indicated in 24-hour clock system; however, a 6-hour clock system is also used, especially in spoken language. It counts 4 times from 1 to 6, with different additional words to make the distinction for night, morning, afternoon, and evening.



Dates are written in the form DD.MM.YYYY, or "DD YYYY". It is rare to use abbreviations for names of months.


Turkey uses the 24-hour clock system. In informal speech, however, the 12-hour system is more commonly used.

United Kingdom


Dates are written traditionally in day-month-year order, using a slash as the separator. This order is used in both the traditional all-numeric date (e.g., "31/12/99") as well as in the expanded form (e.g., "31 December, 1999"). Sometimes the ordinal number for the day before the month is written down (e.g. "31st December, 1999"). When saying the date, it is usually pronounced by the ordinal number of the day first then the word "of" then the month (e.g. 31st of December 1999). Although ISO 8601 has been adopted as British Standard BS EN 28601, the use of its big-endian date notation remains mostly restricted to specialist use (e.g., use-by dates on medical products) and computer applications.

Weeks are generally referred to by the date on which they start, e.g., "week commencing 5 March". In business, the beginning of the week is usually considered to be Monday; but in private life Sunday is often preferred.


Both the 12-hour and 24-hour notations are used in the United Kingdom. The 12-hour notation is still widely used in ordinary life, written communication and displays, and continues to be used in informal spoken language. The 24-hour notation is used in timetables and in some computer applications. The 24-hour notation is used more often than in the United States, but not quite as commonly as in much of the non-English speaking world. To separate hours and minutes, either a dot (e.g., 10.00PM) or a colon (10:00PM) can be used. To separate hours, minutes and seconds, a colon (10:00:15) is normally used.

United States


In the United States, dates are traditionally written in the month-day-year order, that is, in neither descending nor ascending order of significance. (In computing, this would be called a "middle-endian" order.) This order is used in both the traditional all-numeric date (e.g., "12/31/99") (said with all cardinal numbers) as well as in the expanded form (e.g., "December 31, 1999") (said with the year as a cardinal number and the day as an ordinal number e.g. "December thirty-first, nineteen ninety-nine), with the historical rationale that it is indeed big-endian with respect to the month and day, as the year was often of lesser importance. The most commonly used separator in the all-numeric form is the slash, though the hyphen is also common. Dots have also emerged in the all-numeric format recently due to globalization.

The day-month-order has increased in usage notably since the early 1980s. The month is usually written as a name, as in "12-Dec-1999". Many genealogical databases and the MLA citation style use this format. The I-94 cards and new customs declaration cards used for people entering the United States where passengers are requested to write pertinent dates in the numeric dd-mm-yy format. The ISO 8601 yyyy-mm-dd format is also used within the FAA and military because of the need to eliminate ambiguity. The fully written day-month-year (e.g. 11 September 2001) in written American English is starting to become more common outside of the media industry, particularly in university publications and in some international-influenced publications as a means of dealing with ambiguity. Speaking the day-month-year format is still rarely used, with the exception of the Fourth of July, which is just a short form of the more formal "the fourth day of July".

The ISO 8601 date notation YYYY-MM-DD is popular in some computer applications because it greatly reduces the amount of code needed to resolve and compute dates. It may be considered less of a break with tradition by U.S. users (compared to European users, or compared to the dd/mm/yy format for U.S. users) because it preserves the familiar month-day order. Two US standards mandate the use of ISO 8601-like formats: ANSI INCITS 30-1997 (R2008) and NIST FIPS PUB 4-2, the earliest is traceable back to 1968.

Weeks are generally referred to by the date of some day within that week (e.g. "the week of March 5"), rather than by a week number. Calendars mostly show Sunday as the first day of the week.


The United States differs from other countries in that it uses 12-hour notation almost exclusively, not only in spoken language, but also in writing, even on timetables, for airline tickets, and with some computer software. The suffix "a.m." or "p.m." is appended universally in written language. Where this is inconvenient typographically (e.g., in dense tables), different fonts or colors are sometimes used instead of a.m./p.m. Due to ambiguity of the 12-hour notation at noon and especially midnight, events are sometimes scheduled at "11:59 p.m." instead of 12:00 a.m. to remove ambiguity.Fact|date=March 2008 Alternatively, people might specify "noon" or "midnight", after or instead of 12:00 (12:00m for 00:00 and 12:00n for 12:00). (Business events, which are increasingly scheduled using groupware calendar applications, avoid such ambiguity, since the software itself takes care of the naming conventions.)

The 24-hour notation is rarely used so far in the U.S. in public communication. It is best known there for its use by the military, and therefore commonly called "military time". In U.S. military use, 24-hour time is traditionally written without a colon (1800 instead of 18:00) and in spoken language is sometimes followed by the word "hours" (e.g., "eighteen hundred hours"). The 24-hour notation is also widely used by astronomers and some other communities (public safety, transport, aerospace, hospitals) where exact and unambiguous communication of time is critical. It is also widely used with computers, but less commonly with applications targeted at non-specialist end users.

Some style guides and most people suggest not to use a leading zero with a single-digit hour; for example, "3:52 p.m." is preferred over "03:52 p.m.". Many digital clocks nevertheless use a leading zero. (The leading zero is more commonly used with the 24-hour notation; especially in computer applications because it can help to maintain column alignment in tables and correct sorting order, and also because it helps to highlight the 24-hour character of the given time.)

Times of day ending in ":00" minutes may be pronounced in English as the numbered hour followed by "o'clock" (e.g., 10:00 "ten o'clock," 2:00 "two o'clock," 4:00 "four o'clock", etc.). This may be followed by the "a.m." or "p.m." designator, or might not be, if obvious. "O'clock" itself may be omitted, leaving a time like "four a.m." or "four p.m.".

The minutes (other than ":00") may be pronounced in a variety of ways:

Minutes :01 through :09 are usually pronounced as "oh one" through "oh nine". :10 through :59 are their usual number-words.For example, "9:45 a.m." is usually pronounced "nine forty-five" or sometimes "nine forty-five a.m.".

Times of day from ":01" to ":29" minutes past the hour are commonly pronounced with the words "after" or "past", for example 10:17 being "seventeen after ten" or "seventeen past ten". ":15" minutes is very commonly called "quarter after" or "quarter past" and ":30" minutes universally "half past", e.g. 4:30, "half past four". Times of day from ":31" to ":59" are, by contrast, given subtractively with the words "to", "of", "until", or "till": 12:55 would be pronounced as "5 till 1" or "5 of 1". ":45" minutes is pronounced as "quarter to", "quarter of", "quarter until", or "quarter till".For example, "9:45 a.m." is often pronounced "fifteen ’till ten" or "quarter to ten", or sometimes "quarter to ten in the morning" (but rarely "quarter to ten a.m.").

Other regions


In terms of dates, most countries still use the day-month-year format. Regardless of local usage, Canada officially uses the ISO 8601 date standard (yyyy-mm-dd) at the national level. Germany also adopted the ISO 8601 standard in 1995, replacing the earlier DIN standard.


The 24-hour clock enjoys broad everyday usage in most African, Asian, Oceanic, European, and many Latin American countries. When a time is written down or displayed, the 24-hour notation is used in these countries almost exclusively. The 12-hour clock remains dominant in some Southeast Asian countries and is used commonly in informal language in some regions, while, for example, most German, French and Romanian speakers use the 24-hour clock today even when speaking casually. In other English-speaking regions, particularly former colonies of the United Kingdom, the 12-hour and 24-hour are used interchangeably in formal communications.

It is not uncommon that the same person would use the 24-hour notation in "spoken" language when referring to an exact point in time ("The train leaves at fourteen forty-five …"), while using some variant of the 12-hour notation to refer vaguely to a time ("… so I will be back tonight sometime after five."). People are used to converting between the two notations without requiring mental arithmetic, and most perceive "three o'clock" and "15:00" simply as synonyms.

See also

* 12-hour clock
* 24-hour clock
* Continental time
* ISO 8601 – International standard date and time notation
* Thai six-hour clock
* Swahili Time
* Common Locale Data Repository – a database that covers national date and time notations
* Calendar date


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