Saturday, January 1, 2011

Le Temps

Time. We whiz through life and the stuff eludes us. Before we know it, the day is over. French time is slower, more leisurely; even in Paris. There is something to be said for sitting in the local outdoor cafe, sipping whatever and doing nothing in particular. Time is important in France; they are just not so anal about it.

Quelle heure est-il? What time is it?

24 hour military time is commonly used in France. So if you respond:Il est une heure. It is one o'clock. You are saying it is 1:00 AM. That is fine if it is really that time. If you want to say it is 1:00 PM you should respond: Il est treize heures. It is 13 hours. or It is 1:00 PM.

So what about 12:00 AM (midnight) and 12:00 PM (noon)? For midnight you would say: Il est minuit. It is midnight. For noon you would say: Il est midi. It is noon.

To navigate the 24 hour system, just remember this: for the afternoon just add 12.
1:00 PM = 13:00
2:00 PM = 14:00 and so on....
12:00 AM (midnight) = 0:00

Okay....what if the time is 12:20 AM (20 minutes after midnight)? Then it would look like 00:20 and would sound like:Il est minuit vingt.
22:30 = Il est vingt-deux heures trente. It is 10:30 PM.
8:45 = Il est huit heures, quarante-cinq. or Il est neuf heures moins le quart.

Other words associated with time and timekeeping:

La montre = wristwatch
L'horloge = clock
Un réveil = alarm clock

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