In terms of time with only hours and minutes, it is fine. However, I would like to know, how to say a time with seconds? Like 11:20:20 or 09:35:05. Thanks for that~

  • Is there something wrong with the way you've done it in your question? Apr 2, 2016 at 16:33
  • @JohnClifford Sorry it is my first time to post a question. What's wrong do you think?
    – Mamsds
    Apr 2, 2016 at 16:34
  • 2
    My point is that the way you've said a time with seconds in the question is correct. :P Apr 2, 2016 at 16:35
  • Perhaps OP is asking how you say it rather than how you write it. “eleven twenty and twenty seconds”
    – Jim
    Apr 2, 2016 at 16:37
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    @JohnClifford Oh yes there is another site. Sorry I don't know that, since almost every time I search google brings me here~
    – Mamsds
    Apr 2, 2016 at 16:55

2 Answers 2


11:20:20 would be "Eleven twenty and twenty seconds."
09:35:05 would be "Nine thirty-five and five seconds."

I'd probably understand what you meant if you said, "eleven twenty twenty" or "nine thirty-five oh-five," But I wouldn't use that in general, and certainly not in a formal situation.


As a result of this question I discovered that the Speaking Clock is still alive and well in Britain.

Since most people nowadays have all kinds of devices - computers, mobile phones, quartz digital watches etc - which tell them the exact time, I suppose the Speaking Clock is not as much a part of everyday life as it was in the 40s, 50s and 60s (it began life in 1936).

In London, with the old telephone dials which used to have letters in groups of three, as well as numbers, you used to dial TIM to get the time, and the clock was known as Tim.

It used to say At the third stroke it will be nine, fifty seven and fifty seconds - pip, pip, pip; then At the third stroke it will be nine, fifty eight precisely - pip, pip, pip; thus giving you the exact time every ten seconds.

Nowadays you have to dial 123 on a BT phone, and the name of BT is introduced into the announcements - rather ridiculously asserting At the third stroke the BT time will be... Until tonight I had not realised that time was the property of a private company called BT!

  • Stating the time as "BT time" can arguably make sense. Time itself, and the number assigned to it, are not absolute - if you call this service from abroad you may get the message after some delay (a fraction of a second), not to mention time zone differences. I doubt if this is the reason, though. Apr 3, 2016 at 6:22

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