Learn English – What time is 12.00pm?


There is a sign outside a shop near us which says 'Parking for loading vehicles only from 7 to 12pm'. Does that mean between 7pm and midnight, or between 7am and noon?

For me 12.00 is neither post-meridian nor ante-meridian, it is either noon or midnight.

Equally when someone says from midnight on the 3rd, do they mean midnight which precedes the 3rd or midnight which ends the 3rd. The precise moment of midnight belongs neither to one day nor the other.

These are crucially important matters as regards flight timetables, and insurance policies. If the policy expires at midnight on the 15th, when exactly is that? It is why many insurance companies now speak of 12.01am on the 22nd or 11.59pm on the 21st.

Should it be insisted that all references to 12.00 state either noon or midnight and how can we express midnight with clarity?

Best Answer

12pm would be noon, i.e. midday or 12h00 instead of 24h00

According to wikipedia:

It is not always clear what times "12:00 a.m." and "12:00 p.m." denote. From the Latin words meridies (midday), ante (before) and post (after), the term ante meridiem (a.m.) means before midday and post meridiem (p.m.) means after midday. Since strictly speaking "noon" (midday) is neither before nor after itself, the terms a.m. and p.m. do not apply. However, since 12:01 p.m. is after noon, it is common to extend this usage for 12:00 p.m. to denote noon. That leaves 12:00 a.m. to be used for midnight at the beginning of the day, continuing to 12:01 a.m. that same day. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language has a usage note on this topic: "By convention, 12 AM denotes midnight and 12 PM denotes noon. Because of the potential for confusion, it is advisable to use 12 noon and 12 midnight."[16]

Related Topic