The 24 Hour Clock is the most common way of telling time. Aside from the military, the system is also used in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Latin American countries. It’s the most preferred way of communicating time to other people all around the globe. It doesn’t use “a.m” or “p.m”. In the US and some of the English-speaking countries in Canada, the 24 hour clock system is referred to as military time. In the UK, this system is at times referred to as continental time. In other parts of the globe, it’s referred to as railway time.
How the 24 Hour Clock is Used
The 24 hour clock is a convention of keeping time where the day typically runs from midnight – midnight and it’s divided into twenty-four hours. The clock starts at 0000hrs (that is, midnight) and it indicates the hours that have passed since then (that is, from 0 to 24). Time in the 24 hour clock format is normally written in form of hours:minutes (for instance, 0930hrs).
Numbers that are under 10 have a 0 in front (which is known as the leading zero); for example, 0802 (8:02 AM). Under the 24 hour clock system, a day starts at midnight, (that is, 0000), and the day’s last minute starts at 2359 and then ends at 2400, which is typically identical to 0000 (of the next day). Midnight is shown by 2400 and it means the end of the day. 0000 means the day has begun. For instance, you can say, Friday at 2400” and “Saturday at 0000” which basically means the same exact time. That being so, the United States military usually prefers not saying 2400; they don’t like having 2 names for one same thing, they prefer saying “2359”; which is 1 minute prior to midnight.
All communications and instructions are provided using the standard military 24 hour clock. Below is a conversion chart to help you understand;
What Time Is It?
24 Hour Clock Time Conversion Table
|12 HOUR CLOCK ( A.M./P.M. )||24 HOUR CLOCK ( HH:MM:SS )|
|12:00 A.M. MIDNIGHT – start of day||00:00|
|12:00 P.M. NOON||12:00|
|MIDNIGHT – end of day||24:00|
How to speak Military Time at Beginning of Day/End of Day
If you are seeking to express the beginning of a day as 0000 midnight military time, you would say “zero hundred,” “zero hundred hours,” or simply “midnight.”
If you are seeking to express the end of the day as 2400 midnight military time, you would say “zero hundred,” “zero hundred hours,” simply “midnight,” or “twenty four hundred hours.”
In the Navy and Marine Corps, the first “0” is pronounced “Zero”, in the Army, the first “0” is pronounced “Oh”. “Zero Dark Thirty”, or “Zero Dark Hundred” is a general military term for 30 minutes past midnight although there has been other definitions. Most specifically, in the Army, it is said that “Oh Dark Thirty” refers to an unspecified time between midnight and 0400 (4:00am).
|MIDNIGHT MILITARY TIME||HOW TO SAY|
|0000||“Zero Hundred”, “Zero Hundred Hours” or “Midnight”|
|2400||“Zero Hundred”, “Zero Hundred Hours”, “Midnight” or “Twenty Four Hundred Hours”|
Want to learn some other military terms? Check out our Military Glossary.