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12 a.m. vs 12 p.m.

English translation: noon and midnight / 1201 am vs. 1159 pm

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
German term or phrase:12 a.m. vs 12 p.m.
English translation:noon and midnight / 1201 am vs. 1159 pm
Entered by: Natalie Wilcock
Options:
- Contribute to this entry
- Include in personal glossary

08:27 Apr 7, 2006
German to English translations [PRO]
Law/Patents - Science (general) / Times
German term or phrase: 12 a.m. vs 12 p.m.
Right folks, having major headache over how to render twelve o'clock midnight (i.e. 00:00 hrs) and twelve o'clock in the morning (i.e. 12:00) with the a.m. and p.m. format. Have discussed this almost ad infinitum and although the Oxford Dictionary mentions the use of a.m. and p.m. it is rather difficult to judge from this when they are used for midnight and noon. As I am having to insert these in a contract as a deadline it is crucial I get it right.
I thought that midnight is 12 p.m. and noon 12 a.m. but another colleague threw a spanner in me works after expressing her doubts...back to square one. So, is 12 Uhr Mitternacht 12 a.m. or 12 p.m.?

Please, no guessing ;-)) Thanks so much in advance.
Natalie Wilcock
Local time: 05:12
noon and midnight
Explanation:
This is a tricky question. The answer is that the terms 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. are wrong and should not be used.

To illustrate this, consider that "a.m" and "p.m." are abbreviations for "ante meridiem" and "post meridiem." They mean "before noon" and "after noon," respectively. Noon is neither before or after noon; it is simply noon. Therefore, neither the "a.m." nor "p.m." designation is correct. On the other hand, midnight is both 12 hours before noon and 12 hours after noon. Therefore, either 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. could work as a designation for midnight, but both would be ambiguous as to the date intended.

When a specific date is important, and when we can use a 24-hour clock, we prefer to designate that moment not as 1200 midnight, but rather as 0000 if we are referring to the beginning of a given day (or date), or 2400 if we are designating the end of a given day (or date).

To be certain of avoiding ambiguity (while still using a 12-hour clock), specify an event as beginning at 1201 a.m. or ending at 1159 p.m., for example; this method is used by the railroads and airlines for schedules, and is often found on legal papers such as contracts and insurance policies.

If one is referring not to a specific date, but rather to several days, or days in general, use the terms noon and midnight instead of 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. For example, a bank might be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. Or a grocery store might be open daily until midnight. The terms "12 noon" and "12 midnight" are also correct, though redundant.

Selected response from:

Lydia Wazir
Austria
Local time: 05:12
Grading comment
Thank you Lydia, in the end my client went with your suggestion of 1201 am and 1159 pm.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer



Summary of answers provided
5 +1012am midnight, 12pm midday
Alison Jenner
4 +8noon and midnightLydia Wazir
4 +2midnight and noon
Emma Grubb
4 +112:00 midnightsvv
4 +1s. untenEmilie


Discussion entries: 2





  

Answers


6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 5/5 peer agreement (net): +10
12am midnight, 12pm midday


Explanation:
12 o' clock midnight is 12am, 12 o' clock midday is 12pm

Alison Jenner
Switzerland
Local time: 05:12
Works in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  itla: But there is sufficient confusion to justify the use of "midnight" and "noon"
9 mins

agree  Gabrielle Lyons: This is right. So is midnight and noon. Decide according to context.
16 mins

agree  Lori Dendy-Molz: Yes, this is right, and definitely include midnight and noon - most people are confused about which is which.
20 mins

agree  Ian M-H
29 mins

agree  Languageman: You certainly shouldn't say "twelve o'clock in the morning". Stick to 24 hr clock for a contract if possible, I would say.
29 mins

agree  Hilary Davies Shelby: This is correct, yes
2 hrs

agree  Julia Lipeles
4 hrs

agree  Ingeborg Gowans
4 hrs

agree  Rebecca Garber
5 hrs

agree  Meturgan
1 day1 hr
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6 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +2
midnight and noon


Explanation:
why not render it this way for the sake of clarity?

In my opinion, 12am is midnight and 12pm is noon.

Emma Grubb
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:12
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Ian M-H
28 mins

agree  Rebecca Garber
5 hrs
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8 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
s. unten


Explanation:
http://wwp.greenwichmeantime.com/info/noon.htm

Nicht einfach, was? Obige Webseite sagt tatsächlich, dass
12 a.m. und 12 p.m. NICHTS BEDEUTEN. Es müsste also doch umschrieben werden. Midday / Midnight ... (etwas in diese Richtung)

Emilie
Native speaker of: Native in PortuguesePortuguese

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Eckhard Boehle
28 mins
  -> Danke!
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12 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +8
noon and midnight


Explanation:
This is a tricky question. The answer is that the terms 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. are wrong and should not be used.

To illustrate this, consider that "a.m" and "p.m." are abbreviations for "ante meridiem" and "post meridiem." They mean "before noon" and "after noon," respectively. Noon is neither before or after noon; it is simply noon. Therefore, neither the "a.m." nor "p.m." designation is correct. On the other hand, midnight is both 12 hours before noon and 12 hours after noon. Therefore, either 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. could work as a designation for midnight, but both would be ambiguous as to the date intended.

When a specific date is important, and when we can use a 24-hour clock, we prefer to designate that moment not as 1200 midnight, but rather as 0000 if we are referring to the beginning of a given day (or date), or 2400 if we are designating the end of a given day (or date).

To be certain of avoiding ambiguity (while still using a 12-hour clock), specify an event as beginning at 1201 a.m. or ending at 1159 p.m., for example; this method is used by the railroads and airlines for schedules, and is often found on legal papers such as contracts and insurance policies.

If one is referring not to a specific date, but rather to several days, or days in general, use the terms noon and midnight instead of 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. For example, a bank might be open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon. Or a grocery store might be open daily until midnight. The terms "12 noon" and "12 midnight" are also correct, though redundant.




    Reference: http://tf.nist.gov/general/misc.htm
Lydia Wazir
Austria
Local time: 05:12
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: Native in EnglishEnglish
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thank you Lydia, in the end my client went with your suggestion of 1201 am and 1159 pm.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Gabrielle Lyons: probably the best, but depends on context
11 mins

agree  urst
22 mins

agree  Eckhard Boehle
24 mins

agree  Cetacea: Thanks for the voice of logic!
1 hr
  -> :-)

agree  Lucia [Lulu] Filova
4 hrs

agree  Rebecca Garber
4 hrs

agree  Meturgan
1 day58 mins

agree  Anne Schulz: If 12 p.m. is noon, 11 a.m. would be followed by 12 p.m., which in turn is followed by 1 p.m. -- does that make sense??
3 days22 hrs
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15 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +1
12:00 midnight


Explanation:
If your text refers to a business contract, then you should be very careful about terms. I'd suggest you to put it like 12:00 midnight. Because the question of 12a.m or 12 p.m. appears to be a disputable one.


    Reference: http://www.answers.com/topic/ante-meridiem
    Reference: http://www.answers.com/topic/post-meridiem
svv
Ukraine
Local time: 06:12
Native speaker of: Native in RussianRussian, Native in UkrainianUkrainian

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Eckhard Boehle
22 mins
  -> Vielen Dank fuer ihre Zustimmung, Herr Boehle.
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