1. KenA
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    KenA Member

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    Writing about time

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by KenA, Feb 5, 2015.

    Searched around for some answers, but unable to find what I'm looking for.
    When including a time in a sentence I type out say 9:30 pm. If I were reading this I would think
    nine thirty in the evening. Not the numbers 9 colin 30 pm. Here's the rub. If the time is written as numbers - 9:30 with a following pm - I would see them as the time and automatically think, or say nine thirty in the evening. Yet if written nine thirty in the evening. I would, for course, still think or say the same thing; Nine thirty in the evening. Are one of these correct when writing time or can both be used?
    If both are used I believe it would be confusing to the flow of word form to mix them; sort of like stumbling over a rock. What do you think?
    I'm leaning towards using numbers instead of spelling it out. You would really have a mouth full if using Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). It would have to be written zero nine three zero Greenwich Mean Time.
    Suppose writing out the GMT would help in word count, if you were looking for filler.

    Cheers,
    KenA
     
  2. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Personally, I prefer the numerical rather than the verbal method of writing time. I do believe it is commonly accepted to do so.

    Maybe in a hard sci-fi novel you might use something unconventional like "zero nine three zero Greenwich Mean Time."


    By the way, welcome to the forum. I'm in Bellevue. :)
     
  3. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    It depends for me: -

    It was 9:30 in the morning is clear and immediate to me in a way that it was nine thirty in the morning is not.

    However in dialogue I would be more inclined to use Q:"what's the time?" A:"half nine."
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    The Chicago Manual of Style says it's fine to use numerals, and this is what I would recommend as well. Also, the correct way to write the abbreviations is to use periods between the letters (p.m. and a.m.).
     
  5. KenA
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    KenA Member

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    Thank you for the response, numbers it is.
     
  6. lustrousonion
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    lustrousonion Contributing Member

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    9:30 p.m. should be read just like that, PEE-EM. If you want to say "in the evening," you have to write "in the evening."
     
  7. KenA
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    KenA Member

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    Got it Instrou... Thanks.
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Chiming in to agree that I say the "pm" rather than translating it to something like "in the evening." Same for "am".
     
  9. KenA
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    I was role playing in a conversation between two characters. After finishing the paragraph a few lines down, stopped to read through it.

    ...,Rowan said,”That’s about it. Can your fly us there?” Cam said. “Sure, we will taking off at 1:00 this afternoon, so please be there by 12:15.” ...
     
  10. KenA
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    Oops, forgot to add a parting. In your opinion does this read well?
     
  11. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you're still interested, the numbers are fine. You might want to tag the dialogue more like this:

    Rowan said, "That's about it. Can you fly us there?"
    "Sure," Cam said. "We'll take off at 1:00 this afternoon, so please be there by 12:15."
     
  12. Chinspinner
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    Chinspinner Contributing Member Contributor

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    It is dialogue and, in my opinion, dialogue changes the rules because you are writing it as your character would say it. If I was saying this, it would be: -

    "We're taking off at one this afternoon, so [please] be there by quarter past twelve." I would only have the "please" in there if the person I was talking to had a penchant for lateness and I was emphasising the need to arrive early.
     
    Catrin Lewis likes this.
  13. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Oh, good. Because that's how I actually have it in my own WIP, but I felt the need to be broadminded.
     

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