# Topic about time and time telling [duplicate]

People, I am still not satisfied with the answers because the answers that people gave me like e.g. you arrived at 10:10 and now is 12:50 and people keep telling me that it is normal to round up to 3 hours and say it happened 3 hours ago but for me it is really weird, I never used it like this and it feels not true to me. I do not know why.

If somebody told me during 12:50 that it happened 3 hours ago I would imagine it happened some time between 9:00 - 9:59.

That is why more logic seems more natural to me but I have not found a single person on this forum or other forums using it like me... When I want to tell how many hours ago it happened I normally do this process (now is 12:50 so I take 12 and I arrived at 10:10 so I take 10 and make 12-10 =2 so it happend two hours ago and I do not care about minutes. It just tells me it happened some time during 10:00-10:59) Do you understand what I am trying to say? Is really nobody using it like this?

For example, when somebody called you at 10 you do not mean he called you exactly at 10:00 but people mean by it sometime between 10:00-10:59.

And so I cannot imagine anybody saying at 12:50 that the person called me 3 hours ago. I would say 2 hours ago meaning sometime between 10:00-10:59.

Do people use it like this in casual speak? That they do not precisely count the minutes they just take hours and make operation like 12-10 and say 2. Though it can already be more than 120 minutes maybe even 170 but still less than 180 minutes.

• This question is likely to be closed as "unanswerable" but to address your question: Every language has not only its own grammatical quirks but also cultural quirks. The lack of time precision in English is one of the cultural quirks. When we say something happened "three hours ago" most of the time we don't care exactly when it happened. There are ways to describe exact time values, which you will use when precision is required. Otherwise, the imprecision is natural. Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 21:18
• Can you compress all of this into an actual question? What, specifically, are you trying to understand? Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 21:18
• "For example, when somebody called you at 10 you do not mean he called you exactly at 10:00 but people mean by it sometime between 10:00-10:59." That is not accurate, though. If somebody called me at 10:55, I would never say "He called at ten." Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 21:20
• @Peter do you understand my comment? If you say something happened three hours ago we assume that you're estimating. If you want to be precise, use instead the exact time it happened. Otherwise, let go of your anxiety about this and just embrace the cultural difference. Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 21:22
• "If somebody told me during 12:50 that it happened 3 hours ago I would imagine it happened some time between 9:00 - 9:59." This is wrong. You were given wrong information, or you're trying to apply your own personal logic where you shouldn't. I already tried to address this in your previous question here.
– Em.
Commented Mar 1, 2017 at 22:00

You said

For example, when somebody called you at 10 you do not mean he called you exactly at 10:00 but people mean by it sometime between 10:00-10:59.

I would disagree. If someone called at 10:55, Most people would say they called at 11, not 10.

Here's an easy way to solve your issue that should match the way most people tend to round:

1. Round the starting and ending time to the nearest hour. In your example, we round 12:50 to 1 and 10:10 to 10.

2. Calculate the difference. There are 3 hours between 1 pm and 10 am. Thus the event happened 3 hours ago.

Note that this doesn't hold as strongly when something occurs at, for example, 5:30. Some people would round to 6 (similar to how one rounds 5.5 to 6 in math). Fewer people would round to 5 (this isn't actually formal math, so there are no strict rules). Personally, I would just use 5:30 (in fact, anything between 5:15 and 5:45 I would round to 5:30), and use that in the difference. The difference between 5:30 and 3 (as an example) is two and a half hours, which is coarse enough to use in casual conversation, but is a bit more accurate.

As a personal aside, I see you've asked multiple questions about this. It's really not that big of a deal, so don't stress yourself out too much. If you're not certain how people will interpret your time system, just use exact time. If it's 9:40 pm and something occurred at 6 pm, just say "It happened at 6 pm" rather than "It happened 3 (or 4) hours ago."