1. Taylor3
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    Taylor3 Member

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    How do you write the time in fiction?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Taylor3, Nov 30, 2010.

    I know you're supposed to spell out numbers, but is it different with time?

    How is eight-thirty AM written

    8:30AM

    8:30 AM

    Eight-thirty AM

    I just don't know. Thanks!
     
  2. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I go with 6.00 AM because I use a digital alarm clock - If I was using a clock with hands would probably be six o'clock in the morning.

    I understand the important thing is you are consistent with what you use.
     
  3. Taylor3
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    Taylor3 Member

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    Hm well why do you use a period instead of a colon? Never heard of that, I'm not saying it's wrong but I just don't know. thx again
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    The colon is probably more correct - I just use a . because that is what my very old digital alarm clock uses - in the days before we went over to the 24 hour clock - my husbands would be 06:00
     
  5. Celia.
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    Celia. Senior Member

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    i never use numbers. i always spell them out.
     
  6. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    In British English, we write, e.g. 06.00 AM but in American English it would be 06:00 A.M. I think.

    I always write times out in full, 'six o'clock in the morning', unless I'm saying something like:

    "She glanced at the note. 'Meet me behind the morgue at 6.00 AM.'
    It was definitely Herbert's handwriting--but when had he written it? Two days ago he had swung from the hangman's noose.
    Unless the rumours were true..."
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    06:00 doesn't need the AM as it is 24 hour clock 6PM would be 18:00. 6:00 AM does.

    I have spoken to several authors about it and the main thing is that you pick one style and use it.

    I have been using 24 hour clock - so it has been fifteen hundred hours etc
     
  8. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, I just go with trying to spell out as much as is reasonable, just so I don't have to worry about these sort of details. :p
     
  9. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Good point--but I've noticed that the 24 hour clock is rarely used in England, e.g. the TV pages in newspapers still tend to be the 12 hour system.
     
  10. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think like with most things us Brits are a bit mixed with this - bus timetables etc are 24 hour clock. Most digitals clocks on media systems/computers/radios are 24 hour there is a change between mine bought in early 80s and my husband and daughter's born in 2003.

    I use both interchangeably depends on the type of clock, what I am doing etc. The children are taught 12 hour on Cbeebies so I am teaching them 24 hour.

    Mine is set in a boarding school so 24 hour clock felt natural to use.
     
  11. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Official Associated Press guideline: 5:30 a.m., 9 p.m., etc. For noon or midnight, just say noon or midnight, not 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. Also, avoid saying something like "5 a.m. this morning." Either "5 a.m." or "5 this morning." But that's for journalism, fiction is probably more relaxed, I don't think there's any official fiction rules...Hope I helped! :)
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    it doesn't matter what you use... what you should go by is what the readers you're targeting use most, or what works in re your setting/characters...

    take a look in several well-respected authors' novels/stories... you'll notice most numbers are written out in both narrative and dialog... after all, we speak/hear/think in words, not numerals... numerals have their place, such as in chapter heads, or time-frame notation, but not usually in narrative and dialog...

    thus:

    or

    or

     
  13. Whyte.rhose
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    Whyte.rhose New Member

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    Well, I always write is as:

    eight-thirty a.m. <--- Don't forget those dots in between.

    But that's just me, because I have numerals that aren't spelt out.
     

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