This is the deadline: 15 December 2020, 12:00 CET.

Does that mean that the deadline is 13 December 2020, 12:00 Noon CET?

3 Answers 3


It is ambiguous, just as 8 o’clock is ambiguous.

The way to be clear is to say “noon” or “midnight.”


Since it doesn't mention whether it is AM or PM, there is a good chance that the time is in 24-hour format. The fact that the time zone is Central European Time reinforces this impression, because the 24-clock is widely used in mainland Europe (more so than in the UK, and much more so than in the US).

12:00 in the 24-hour format means 12 PM, aka 12 noon.

However, there is no way of knowing for sure. It is ambiguous.


Even if you say AM or PM, it's ambiguous because most people aren't sure whether 12:00 AM means noon or midnight. I read once that airlines regularly say 11:59 (AM or PM) on schedules rather than 12:00 to avoid the confusion.

I'm sure at this point someone will give some explanation why 12 AM is noon or midnight, but I've heard logical arguments both ways, and regardless of what the "right" answer is, the fact is that most people are unsure about it.

  • To make matters still worse, 12 midnight can be followed by 12.01 of the same day or 12.01 of the next day.
    – Peter
    Dec 13, 2020 at 5:20
  • People saying '12 pm' instead of 'noon' is a pet peeve of mine. Post meridiem means after noon, so logically 12 pm should be midnight! Dec 13, 2020 at 9:18

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