Is the time X:30 should be said only as "half past X" or it is possible also to say "half to X"?

For example:
It is 4:30 AM.

It is "half past four" or also "half to five"?

  • Either the "0" in "04" or the "AM" is redundant. If "04:30" is pronounced as "oh-four-thirty", that implies military time. Military time uses a 24-hour clock, so 04:30 is 4:30 AM, and 16:30 ("sixteen thirty") is 4:30 PM.
    – Jasper
    Mar 25, 2018 at 18:30
  • In British colloquial usage (but not American, I believe) this is also said as "half four".
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 25, 2018 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


I would say "half past 0X". I don't know if anyone regulates this, but I do not recall ever hearing "half to 0X".

  • I have never heard "half to", and if I did hear it I would be dubious what the speaker meant.
    – Colin Fine
    Mar 25, 2018 at 21:13

In the analog clock days it was usual to say "a quarter past five" and "a quarter to six". Similarly "ten minutes" etc. instead of quarter. As far as i recall, "Half past" was the way the half-hour was called - "half to" could be understood, but it would sound odd.

Nowadays, it is more common to call the time as it appears on a digital clock, so "ten fifteen", "five thirty", "eleven forty-five". The quarters and halves are not incorrect but young people may have a hard time with them....

This ngram is one example of a comparison.

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