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The word " to clock" is used in a sense of "to measure or record the time or speed that someone or something is travelling at". However, I would like to use it in a more casual context as in the following if possible or how can I say it with different verbs?

A: How long did your journey take?

Should I say ?

B : I "clocked the time/it". It took about half an hour.

or

B : I forgot to look at the clock so I did not "clock it" but it was about half an hour.

Another scenario

A: How long did it take you to read and understand a research paper?

B: I "clocked the time/it". I took about half an hour.

What I mean is here that I looked at the clock when the process started and I looked the clock again when the process finished. However I did not measure time in a scientific way using millisecond unit like in a spring.

  • Keep in mind that "to clock" a person can mean that you hit them, with the implication being that you struck their face specifically. That's regional american slang though. – mstorkson Jan 3 '17 at 19:30
  • @mstorkson: Not sure clock = hit is exactly "regional US" (it's known throughout the UK too). But I see that the full OED says clock = see, observe is "originally US", whereas I strongly associate that one with SE UK cockney / Estuary English (and I don't recall ever hearing it with an American accent). – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 3 '17 at 20:03
  • @Mrt: To me, I clocked the journey means I measured it (probably in terms of distance, not time). But if I clock the time, that just means I looked at the time. the chronologiocal connedction between clocks and time is unwanted there. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 3 '17 at 20:06
  • @FumbleFingers so when you say "I clocked the time", do you measure the duration of the journey at the end? I asked that because I did not get it "the chronological connection between clocks and time is unwanted there" – Mrt Jan 3 '17 at 20:10
  • @Mrt: What I meant was the BrE idiomatic to clock = to see doesn't really allude to clocks as timepieces. So, for example, Did you clock John having a smoke outside the pub last night? simply asks whether you actually saw / noticed him doing that, with no implication that the speaker cares one way or the other exactly what time it happened. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Jan 4 '17 at 14:01
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To "clock" something is idiomatic so it's not necessarily OK to use as a substitute for the more generic "to time" something. It does convey an image of timing with a stopwatch or some other precise chronometer, so measuring things like swimmers or race cars or solving the Rubik's Cube is fine, since those are activities where more speed / less time is wanted.

But when talking about something like a research paper, it's weird. The image is someone standing over your shoulder while you study, stopwatch in hand, urging you to "read faster!"

Although of course you can use "clock" for comic effect.

I'm really getting into "power napping". I clocked my latest nap at 35 minutes, but I think with more practice I could easily break 30!

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    Exactly ,this -The image is someone standing over your shoulder while you study stopwatch in hand, urging you to "read faster!" - is not what I was trying say so I will stick to use " I timed myself " when I time myself.. – Mrt Jan 3 '17 at 19:30
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    Also you can simplify one of your examples: "I forgot to clock it but ..." That way you eliminate the extra "clock". – Andrew Jan 3 '17 at 19:46
  • Thanks .I wrote a bit long to make it clear what I tried to say but I liked " to forget to clock it". – Mrt Jan 3 '17 at 19:49
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clocking

the transitive verb is about time and speed

The race car clocked in with a top speed of 250mph.

A: How long did your journey take?
B : I clocked it. It took about half an hour.
B : I timed it. It took about half an hour.
B : On the clock, it took about half an hour.

And so may not be appropriate for your second example.

A: How long did it take you to read and understand a research paper?
B: I timed myself. I took about half an hour.

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  • "I timed myself to see how long does it take to cook a soup to understand if my cooking skills need be honed? " or "I timed myself to see how fast do I cook a soup to understand if my cooking skills need be honed?" --which ones sounds better if you are not hurrying but mere measure your timing? – Mrt Jan 3 '17 at 19:24
  • "I timed myself to see how long it takes me to make soup and to check if my cooking skills need improvement." "I timed myself to see how fast I can make soup and to check if my cooking skills need improvement." – Peter Jan 3 '17 at 19:30
  • So both are somewhat equal in meaning. – Mrt Jan 3 '17 at 19:32
  • Both have a time aspect, clock may also have a speed aspect, usually ground speed. In timed events, "beat the clock" and "against the clock" may also be used "The medical services were racing against the clock to get the accident victim to the hospital". – Peter Jan 3 '17 at 19:49
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The simplest thing is to not use "clock" or any equivalent. Just say the time.

Question: How long did it take you to read that research paper?

Answer: About half an hour.

We generally only use the verb "clock" when giving instructions, like, "Al, please clock Bill's time." It's rather redundant to say you measured the time and then to give the measurement. Like:

How tall is this stack?

I measured it. It's 9 inches.

Well obviously if you know it's 9 inches you must have measured it, so saying you measured it is superfluous.

People will use "clock" when they want to make clear that this was a measurement and not a guess or estimate.

How long did it take you to read that paper?

Half an hour.

The listener can't be sure if that's an actual measured value or just a guess. But:

I clocked it at half an hour.

That indicates it's an actual measurement.

You could also say "I timed it ..." or "I checked a clock and it was ..."

BTW "Half and an hour" is not correct. If you mean 30 minutes, say "half an hour". If you mean 90 minutes, say "an hour and a half".

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