Different Ways of Reading Time

Let us recall what we have learnt about reading time from a clock.

1. For measuring time we need clock which tell us hours, minutes and seconds.

2. The clock has 12 numbers. The space between these numbers are divided into five equal parts. These parts indicate minutes.

3. 60 seconds make a minute and 60 minutes make an hour.

4. When minute hand is on 6, we say half past.

5. When minute hand is on 3, we say quarter past

The clock has two hands. The short hand is the hour hand. It shows time in hours. The long hand is the minute hand it shows time in minutes. The clock has numbers from 1 to 12 marked on its face, called dail. When the minute hand points to 12 the time shown is a full hour. In the clock given here the hour hand is at 3 and minute hand is at 12. The time shown on the clock is 3 o’clock. 

The Clock

When the minute hand points at 6, we say 30 minutes past an hour or half past an hour.

What are the different ways of reading time?

There are many ways to read time:

(a) When hour-hand is exactly at any number and minute-hand is at 12, we read the time in full hours. If hour hand is at 8 and minute hand is at 12, then it is 8 o’clock.

(b) When the minute-hand is at 6 and hour hand between two consecutive numbers, then the time has the first of the two consecutive numbers as hour and minute 6 × 5 = 30.

If the hour hand is between 7 and 8 and minute-hand at 6, the time is 7:30.

It is also called half past 7. Similarly, 11:30 is half past 11.

(c) When the minute hand is at 3 or 9, the time is in quarter hours.

If the minute hand is at 3 and hour hand between 5 and 6 then time is 5:15. It is called quarter past 5.

If the minute hand is at 9 and hour hand between 5 and 6 then time is 5:45. It is called quarter to 6.

(d) It has already been described that the time between midnight and noon is known as A.M. and between noon and next midnight is known as P.M.

For example:      9:35 in the morning is written as 9:35 A.M.

                           9:35 in the night is written as 9:35 P.M.

These are the different ways of reading time observing the hour – hand and minute – hand. Some clock has second hand which is generally not observed while telling the time, the position of the hour – hand and minute – hand indicate the time shown in the specific clock.

Questions and Answers on Different Ways of Reading Time:

I. Write the correct time in the given box:

Write the Correct Time


(i) 4 O'clock

(ii) 7 O'clock

(iii) 12 O'clock

(iv) 1 O'clock

(v) 9 O'clock

II. Read the time and draw both hands of the clock to show the given time.

or, Look at the time below and draw the hands accordingly:

Time and Draw


Time and Draw both Hands

III. Draw the hands on the clock faces to show the given time.

Draw the Hands on the Clock Faces


Draw Hands on the Clock Faces

IV. Write the correct time in the given box.

Write Correct Time


(i) 2:30

(ii) 8:30

(iii) 9:30

(iv) 4:30

(v) 10:30

Related Concept

Telling Time

3rd Grade Math Worksheets

3rd Grade Math Lessons

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