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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    Confusion about 12 AM and 12 PM

    Any one got confusion about 12 AM and 12 PM? Because, one of them is at night and another one is at noon!
    I know many people missed flights/trains because of this 12 hour time system.24 hour system is less confusing.
    I think,saying 12am and 12 pm are wrong.It should be 12 or 12 noon? What you say?
    Do you have any interesting experience about this 12 hour time system?
  • #651663
    Yes, indeed, this is a perpetual confusion and it should have clarity, especially for the time slotted for an interview, an exam, a meeting, etc. In the case of timings of trains, flights and the like, I do think that many service providers related to this mention the midnight time in specific terms with the suffix of hours. That is, it is shown, for example, as 24:30 hours, to indicate that it is departing at 12.30 at night and not in the afternoon, which will be indicated as 12.30.

    It is also advisable for everyone, whether catching a flight or boarding a train, to confirm timings instead of missing them. Even in the case of an interview or a conference, there is the possibility of it being past midnight if it is a video-based one over Skype and then you would need to confirm if it is IST or some other world-standard time.

    When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment you create trust! ~ John C. Maxwell

  • #651669
    Clarity exists, it is people who fail to recognise it. Reading time is one of the basic lessons taught in primary school, and it includes understanding the difference between ante meridian (a.m.) and post meridian (p.m.). So, why the confusion?

    And how often does one hear of interviews, exams and meetings taking place at 12:30 at night? Most will agree that it is not a common occurrence.

    Yes, in today's world, since individuals work with people from different time zones there is scope for confusion. However, then too, it depends on who the boss or client or the bigger entity in the setup is. It is a given that the bigger party will not adjust to the timing of the individual working for them. Hence, the specified time would be the time in the region of the boss.

    There are instances where emails are sent with the timings of conference/web calls clearly mentioned. The senders generally specify the exact time zone (GMT +/-) to obliterate confusion.

    Just go back to the basics and relearn what you had learnt in school.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #651670
    This is a very interesting question. 12 AM and 12 PM - what are they?

    Actually the midnight is at 0 hours and again after 24 hours it becomes 0. So those people who say it is 2400 hrs are actually telling that it is 0000 hrs.

    Similarly if we start from 0 AM then after 12 hours we will reach 12 AM (which is incidentally 0 PM) and again after 12 hours when we will reach 12 PM (which is incidentally nothing but 0 AM).

    It may look confusing but it is very simple if you look at it like this -
    12 AM = 0 PM
    12 PM = 0 AM

    If we keep above two axioms in our mind there will be always be clarity.

    Please also note that as the date changes at 0000 hrs, no train, bus or flight has this time in their time table because the passenger will not know what date it is - it could be yesterday or today! Just see a Railway time table and you will find time like 23:55 and 00:05 but never 00:00 because there is a change of date at 00:00.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #651672
    Who knows - perhaps not everyone had clear-cut lessons in their primary school years! Even those who have had lessons on Father Time at school is still very much a confused lot and, in that sense, for them, clarity does not exist always is what this thread's author is trying to point out. I recall my neighbour once told me that her daughter based abroad had briefly informed her via email that she would be calling her next day at 12 o' clock and she was confused whether it would be at 12 in the day or at midnight, both possibilities existing since her daughter was aware that she would be awake at a late hour also.

    The author also said "I think, saying 12am and 12 pm are wrong. It should be 12 or 12 noon? What you say?"
    - I would suggest a good option: it would be best to mention noon or midnight and simply drop the number 12. If required where the time zone issue arises (as I said in the case of an on-air chat), then IST, GMT, whatever, could be added on.

    Related to this thread topic - Does anyone know if there is an official rule for writing time specifically related to the time of 12?

    When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment you create trust! ~ John C. Maxwell

  • #651673
    I always remember that 12 AM is 0000 Hours, i.e., Midnight. 12 PM means 12 NOON. If there is a confusion, it is always better to shift to 24 Hours format as done in armed forces.
    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

  • #651674

    There is nothing like 0 AM or 0 PM. The AM starts at midnight (just after 11.59.59 PM) and it starts with 12 AM. After 12 AM comes 1AM, then 2 AM and so on till 11 AM. After 11 AM comes 12 PM and not 12 AM.

    If we look at a wall clock, there is nothing like a 0 anywhere. so 00.00.00 does not exist in a 12-hour time frame. After 11.59.59, it is 12.00.00, then it is 12.00.01. Since it is the beginning of a new date, 12.00.01 midnight has to be AM. That's why it is called 12.01 AM just after 12 midnight.

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #651678
    24 hours timing method is a better system I feel. The timing should start at 0000 hrs Then it will be AM up to 1159hours. then 1201PM 1200 will be Noon and continues 2359AM. English date changes in the midnight. The system is very clear. But sometimes in a hurry, we may have some misunderstanding. 100 AM of 21 st means the 20th night at 1 o'clock. We should always remember this In our Telugu calendar, a day is from Sunrise to next sunrise
    always confident

  • #651680
    Srinivasa Rao,

    The date changes at midnight, so a day also starts at midnight, and vice versa.

    Furthermore, I find it quite funny that according to Telugu calendar, a day is from sunrise to next sunrise. Every sunrise does not occur at the same time. So, it means that some of the days according to Telugu calendar may have less than 24 hours and some days may have more than 24 hours. It defies the logic that each day should have same number of hours, minutes and seconds. That is quite a funny situation.

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #651683
    That is precisely what I had mentioned, clarity exists, but it is individuals that fail to identify it because they lack the right knowledge. That is why I had recommended going back to the basics taught in school. It is never too late to learn tricks.

    Though this is off topic it needs a response since it has been cited as an example. Emails can always be clarified through another email to confirm the exact time. The neighbour could have also done a little calculation to see what time it would be in the foreign land that her daughter was in, corresponding with noon and midnight in India. Would the daughter be awake to make a call, at an unearthly hour, at her end? It would be possible if the call was intended to greet the mother on a special occasion - people do go through the trouble of calling at midnight, to wish on a birthday etc.

    The email would have elicited the same confusion, had it mentioned another hour – 'call you at 8' – would that be in the morning or at night! The neighbour unwittingly revealed that her daughter's a scatterbrain. And the problem was not the time per se, but what was intimated. It was more of a miscommunication.

    The general practice is to use the terms noon and midnight. And it is always best to follow the 24-hour clock to avoid confusion. Many organisations do so.

    "A love affair with knowledge will never end in heartbreak." -Michael Garrett Marino

  • #651686
    Thanks all for the interesting responses.
    The responses 651670 and 651674 are really thought provoking!
    12AM corresponds to 0 PM
    12PM corresponds to 0 AM
    Between 11.59.59 and 12.00.01 the date is changing. So between these timing there will be no date? Bus/train/flights are not starting between these timing. Can we say that this period is a dateless time?! Quite interesting!

  • #651687
    Normally on trains/flight chart 24 hours system is used and hence there is no confusion for the people.

    Its better to use 24 hours format to avoid such confusion.

    Yes its confusing when someone says 12 am or 12 pm. Just one should remember that pm is in evening and am is at night. I used to get confused in it but once I learned it by heart I never ever get confused in it.


    " It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not" ... Andre Gide

  • #651692
    I have used 0 AM and 0 PM to bring clarity and understand the concept. I agree that it is not a standard nomenclature. Strictly speaking 12 AM and 12 PM are misleading but as people use them they are somehow surviving in the world of word jargon.

    It is also clear that considering the seconds also we can start the time of beginning a day at 00:00:00 hrs and after 1 second of the 23:59:59 hrs we again reach 00:00:00 which is the start of next day.

    00:00:00 is common point but as soon as the clock strikes it the new day begins and date is changed. For practical purposes also the new date is counted from 00:00:00 only.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #651697
    You are absolutely correct. 12 AM and 12 PM are misleading.
    If you go for a 12 hour time scale, after 11.59.59 time changes to 00.00.00
    If you go for 24 hour time scale, after 23.59.59 time changes to 00.00.00
    So, where are they? 12 AM and 12 PM ?

  • #651720
    Neeraj & Umesh,

    12 AM and 12 PM are not misleading at all. The terms are logically and scientifically correct. They may appear misleading to those whose fundamentals are not clear.

    Referring to Neeraj's observation - "If you go for a 12 hour time scale, after 11.59.59 time changes to 00.00.00", I would like to repeat that there is nothing like 00.00.00 in a 12-hour time frame. Just now, the clock on my mobile turned to 12.00 after 11.59.

    A request to Umesh:- I do not like to be addressed by a number. Either address me by my chosen screen name or you may not address me at all.

    When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen, you may learn something new!

  • #651745
    May be the confusion is there because everywhere the same time format is not followed. While transport timings are generally in 24 Hrs format, where AM or PM is not mentioned, in some other cases the 12 Hrs format is followed. There are wrist watches and wall clocks where the 12 Hrs format is used and when we see a different format than what we are used to, then the confusion arises.

    For example, I have seen many people using the 12 Hrs format in their mobile devices and on asking I found that they are more comfortable in the 12 Hrs format. Now when you are used to this format, if you suddenly see 23:00 Hrs in the display board in a railway station then at first you may become perplexed. A general advise to the members who are much used to the 12 Hrs format would be to practice using the 24 Hrs format for some time and get used to both. I hope this may help to reduce the confusion.


    "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

  • #651763
    Neeraj, if we are not confused between 1 AM and 1 PM or between 6 AM and 6 PM, I don't understand why we should be confused about 12 AM and 12 PM. Though the 24 hrs system can be accepted as a better option, I think Juana is right when she says that the confusion occurs when we fail to recognise it due to whatever reasons. To cite an example, I missed a train just because I mistook the 20.30 hrs mentioned on the ticket to be 10 PM instead of 8 PM since I was busy with an examination and did not pay the required attention when the ticket was brought to me by a friend. So, it happens, not necessarily due to a lack of clarity but for other reasons including negligence or lack of time.
    'Any fool can know. The point is to understand."- Albert Einstein

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