27 CLOCK – podcast episode 27 – transcript

This time our episode is about the CLOCK and clock-related expressions.  We also talk about TIME ZONES in the States.

Here’s the transcript, as usual.  

All the best,  


Listen to the episode on iTunes or here:



M – This time we’re going to talk about the CLOCK.

 C – First of all, I guess everyone knows that in America we use a 12 HOUR CLOCK, so for example you may say: “yesterday I had lunch at 1” and that would mean it’s 1 p.m., 1 o’clock in the afternoon, while : “I went to bed at 1”, that would be 1 a.m., 1 o’clock at night.

 M – 12 hour clock, clear. Speaking of 12, that’s “NOON”, right?

 C – Noon is 12, that’s the reason for the word: afternoon, it’s after noon.

 M- Noon, but also: MIDDAY. While 12 at night is: MIDNIGHT and that’s when the fun usually begins.

C – or when the CURFEW begins. Oh, this might be a new word. Curfew. It’s a regulation about specified hours for people to remain indoors, especially at night. Curfew, for example, can be “from DUSK till DAWN”.

M – From dusk …

C – …till dawn.

M – Ok.

C – It means from sunset to sunrise, so: all night long.

M – Ok, back to the clock. By the way, WHAT TIME IS IT?

C – It’s 5 o’clock, or, I could say: it’s 5 SHARP.

M – Sharp, ok. Cindy, what time did you go to school yesterday?

C – at ABOUT 8, that means it was a couple minutes to or past 8.

M – And what time did you come home from school?

C – It was NEARLY 12.30, nearly, that means it was 12.20 or 25. That also means that I had 4 classes in a row and by the time I got home I was dead tired, but that’s another story.

M – Oooh, I guess so.

C – IT TOOK ME two hours to relax and unwind.

M – It took you two hours, that reminds me that we use the verb to take when talking about time.

C – Yes, for instance: HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE to become fluent in English?

M – Oh, it doesn’t take a long time if you work hard and ….

C – …listen to our podcast, of course.

M – Right.

C – Everyone, don’t miss the transcript of this episode, so that you can read a lot of examples about how to express time. Now, let’s talk about something you really need to be aware of when traveling around the States.

M – What is it?

C – TIME ZONES. Well, each region on Earth has its own standard time, whenever you travel around the globe you need to adjust your clock to the local time, according to which time zone you are in. In the States we have 4 different time zones.

M – Ok, let’s imagine we are in San Francisco.

C – California is in the PACIFIC TIME ZONE (PT) otherwise known as the “WEST COAST” TIME.

M – Let’s move to Connecticut.

C – Connecticut, where I was born and raised. That would be the EASTERN TIME ZONE (ET), or the “EAST COAST” TIME. There is a 3 hour difference between the two American coasts.

M – That means it’s 3 hours earlier in California than in New York.

C – Exactly, for instance when it’s midnight in New York it’s still nine o’clock in Los Angeles. When announcing a live event being broadcast on TV such as a football game or an award ceremony you may hear something like: “next Sunday, starting at 6 p.m. Eastern Time / 3 p.m. Pacific Time.”

M – How about the other two time zones?

C – MOUNTAIN TIME and CENTRAL TIME. And, of course, Alaska and Hawaii have their own different time zones. Marta, have you ever had any problems with Time Zones when traveling in the States?

M – Well, I had to adjust my clock many times, not only because of the different time zones but also because of the DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME.

C – Uh huh, that’s true! That may be confusing to some people. Ok, for example: Mountain Standard Time. That’s 7 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time, but in the summer, when Daylight Saving Time is observed, it changes into Mountain Daylight Time, that is only 6 hours behind Greenwich.

But, watch out, not all the States adopt daylight saving time, you need to pay attention when scheduling appointments around America! Remember to check Time Zones and Daylight Saving Time.

M – So true, I remember arriving EARLY at an appointment in Michigan only to find out that everyone had been waiting for me for almost 1 hour.

C – How did that happen?

M – I had adjusted my clock when landing in Chicago, then I drove directly to Michigan. I didn’t realize that Illinois and Michigan are not in the same time zone. And I hate BEING LATE!

C – Aww it’s an honest mistake. You didn’t know.

M- No… but now I know!

C- Hey, there is a great idiom to describe someone who is always late…and frankly, it’s been said about me more than once…SHE’LL BE LATE FOR HER OWN FUNERAL! or : he’ll be late for his own funeral, of course. But women are more likely to be late, because it takes us hours to decide what to wear.

M – (singing) It’s late in the evening, she’s wondering what clothes to wear…

C – Eric Clapton, isn’t it?

M – Right. Ok, before we go, can you think of any other clock-related expressions?


M – a race against the clock, it sounds like an emergency to me.

C – Right, for example: World leaders are racing against the clock in an attempt to solve this economic crisis. Or: The oil spill is spreading, we need to act before it’s too late, it’s a race against the clock.”

M – ok, clear. What about “AROUND THE CLOCK” ? I know there’s a song that goes like “we’re gonna rock around the clock tonight”. So, around the clock?

C – That means all day and all night. For example: We’ve worked around the clock to help the earthquake victims. Or: That TV channel broadcasts news reports around the clock. Or: He’s very ill, he needs assistance around the clock.

M – Ok, IT’S TIME TO GO now.

C – I hadn’t noticed how late it is! Oh, that reminds me of another sentence: “ “TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN.’’…isn’t that the truth!

M – Time flies when you’re having fun, right. We hope it flies when you’re studying English as well!

C – Thank you for listening everyone. And we’d like to send a special hello to Igor, his wife and their beautiful two daughters Nastya and Ann, listening in Moscow, Russia.

Everyone, come visit our blog at http://www.myamericanfriendblog.com . You can find “my American friend” on iTunes, podomatic, twitter, facebook & youtube. We are also available for private lessons via Skype, just send us an email at myAmericanfriendpodcast@gmail.com

And remember, your donations and support help us in making this podcast bigger and better, thank you.

M – See you soon!

C – bye bye


What’s the time? What time is it? It’s…

5.00 It’s five o’clock / It’s five sharp

2.15 It’s a quarter past two / it’s two fifteen.

4.30 It’s half past four / it’s four thirty.

7.45 It’s a quarter to eight / it’s seven forty-five

11.58 p.m.: it’s two minutes to midnight.

12 = noon = midday

What time….?

What time do you usually have breakfast? At half past seven.

What time does your train leave? At 7.35 (seven thirty-five).

What time can I pick you up tomorrow? ANY TIME BETWEEN 3 and 4 is ok for me. Ok, I’ll pick you up SOME TIME AFTER 3, then.

What time did you get up yesterday? It was NEARLY 6.30.

What time did you go to bed last night? It was ABOUT midnight.

Lunch is served at HALF PAST NOON (= 12.30)

Dinner is served promptly at 8.

The restaurant begins serving breakfast “at the break of dawn” or “at daybreak”. (when the sun first rises in the morning)

It TAKES TIME. (not quick. time is needed to accomplish something) EXAMPLE: It takes a long time to drive from Texas to Florida. They are very far apart.

How long does it take to …? (how much time is needed?) EXAMPLE: How long does it take to fly from Los Angeles to New York?


from dusk till dawn”: from sunset to sunrise, all night long. EXAMPLE: On New Year’s Eve we danced from dusk till dawn! It was a great night!

TIME ZONES in America:





DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME (observed in the summer)

SHE’LL BE LATE FOR HER OWN FUNERAL”: she’s always late

it’s A RACE AGAINST THE CLOCK” : it’s an emergency

AROUND THE CLOCK”: all day and all night

TIME FLIES WHEN YOU’RE HAVING FUN!” or just: “Time flies!”

DO YOU HAVE A MINUTE?” (Do you have a few minutes to talk?) EXAMPLE: Do you have a minute? I would like to discuss our presentation for tomorrow’s meeting.

Time is of the essence!” (time is very important. Time must be used very efficiently) EXAMPLE: We have a deadline tomorrow and we must complete this project as quickly as possible! Time is of the essence!

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