Getting started with Italian 2
Getting started with Italian 2

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2 Using the 24-hour clock

The 24-hour clock is used in situations when it is important to avoid any confusion between a.m. and p.m., such as when travelling or talking about timetables or schedules. It is also used by online or telephone ‘speaking clocks’ (l’orologio parlante), which tell you the precise time (l’ora esatta). To say the time in the 24-hour format, use sono or è followed by the hour, then e and then the minutes.

  • Sono le diciotto e trentacinque. It’s eighteen thirty-five.
  • Sono le quindici e ventidue. It’s fifteen twenty-two.
  • È l’una. It’s one o’clock.

Note that in Italian, as in English, we do not use the expressions un quarto, mezza/mezzo and tre quarti when telling the time with the 24-hour clock. Instead, we use numbers: quindici, trenta and quarantacinque.

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