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Language tip of the week: time

Learn English with Macmillan DictionaryIn this weekly post, we bring more useful content from the Macmillan Dictionary to English language learners. These tips are usually based on areas of English which learners find difficult, e.g. spelling, grammar, collocation, synonyms, usage, etc.

This week’s language tip helps with the differences in how people talk about time in American and British English.



British speakers usually ask what time it is by asking ‘Have you got the time?’ or ‘What time do you make it?’

American speakers usually ask ‘Do you have the time?’ or ‘What time do you have?’

In the UK, if children can read a clock face you say that they can tell the time. In the US, you say that they can tell time.

In British English, you say the time is ‘ten to three’ (2:50) or ‘ten past three’ (3:10). American speakers say ‘ten of three’ or ‘ten after three’.

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Liz Potter

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