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Lesson Transcript


Hi everybody! Yinru here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Chinese questions.
The Question
The question for this lesson is: Do Chinese use AM and PM when talking about time?
The answer is no. Even though there are people in China, mostly well-educated people, who would know what AM and PM mean, most Chinese don’t use AM and PM.
In formal situations, for example on a train schedule, you’ll often see the 24-hour format for time, such as 07:30, 21:20.
In spoken language, people often use 上午 shàngwǔ, 下午 xiàwǔ, 早上 zǎoshang, and 晚上 wǎnshang to be specific. 上午 means “morning;” 下午 is “afternoon;” 早上 is “early morning;” and finally, 晚上 is “night.”
So, to say 10 AM, in spoken language we’d usually say 上午十点 shàngwǔ shí diǎn. To say 3 PM, we use 下午三点 xiàwǔ sān diǎn. Generally speaking, if it’s before 9 AM, you can say 早上七点 zǎoshang qī diǎn, because it’s still early in the morning. If it’s after 6 PM, you can say 晚上七点 wǎnshang qī diǎn, because it’s late evening. If the time is between 12pm-1pm, we use 中午 zhōngwǔ, which means “noon.”
Let’s see how we say the following times:
6:20 am --- 早上六点二十 zǎoshang liù diǎn èrshí.
9:30 am --- 上午九点三十 shàngwǔ jiǔdiǎn sānshí, or 上午九点半 shàngwǔ jiǔ diǎn bàn. 半 bàn here means “half.”
12 pm --- 中午十二点 zhōngwǔ shíèr diǎn.
1:30 pm --- 下午一点三十 xiàwǔ yī diǎn sānshí or 下午一点半 xiàwǔ yī diǎn bàn.
10:25 pm --- 晚上十点二十五 wǎnshang shí diǎn èrshíwǔ.
And do you remember how to ask about time? You can say:
现在几点了?(Xiànzài jǐ diǎn le? “What time is it now?”)
明天几点开会?(Míngtiān jǐdiǎn kāihuì? “What time is the meeting tomorrow?”)
我们后天什么时候见面?(Wǒmen hòutiān shénme shíhòu jiànmiàn ? “When are we going to meet the day after tomorrow?”)


“Now it’s time for us to say good bye,” or in Chinese 现在到了我们说再见的时间了。(Xiànzài dàole wǒmen shuō zàijiàn de shíjiān le.)
If you have any more questions, please leave a comment below!
See you next time!
下次见! Xiàcì jiàn!