How do I read a clock or a clock?

The three numbers help us read a clock or a clock.

How do I read a clock or a clock?

Hour hand indicates hours and minute hand indicates minutes.

in the Figure (i) The hour hand shows the number 1 or just after 1. So we read it as 1 hour. The minute hand shows 4 divisions after the number 3, ie 3 x 5 + 4 = 19 or 19 divisions of 12. So we read it as 19 minutes.

The clock indicates that the time is 1 hour 19 minutes.

We can express it as 1:19.

We can say it’s 19 minutes past 1.

Next to or after the number indicated by the hour hand, the number expresses the hour.

At or after the number indicated by the minute hand, the number multiplied by 5 and the number of divisions after the number expresses the minutes. When the minute hand shows 3 divisions according to number 7, the minute is 7 x 5 + 3 = 38 minutes.

in the Figure (ii) The hour hand is between 3 and 4. So we say it is 3 hours. The minute hand consists of 2 divisions according to number 8. The minute is therefore 8 x 5 + 2 = 42 minutes.

The time is 3 hours 42 minutes.

We can write it as 3:42.

We can say it’s 42 minutes past 3

or (60 – 42 = 18 minutes) 18 minutes to 4.

in the Figure (iii) expresses 8:35 or 35 minutes after 8 or (60 – 35 = 25 minutes) 25 minutes to 9.

Read the time shown in these clocks.

20 minutes after 2

20 minutes after 2


25 minutes to 6

25 minutes to 6 or 35 minutes after 5


quarter past 10

A quarter past 10 or 15 minutes past 10


Quarter to 5

A quarter to 5 or 45 minutes past 4


Reading time to the minute::

Numbers from 1 to 12 are marked on the clock face. These numbers divide the dial into 12 equal parts. There are 5 small divisions between any two numbers. Each small department represents one minute. So there are 60 divisions on the dial. The minute hand completes 1 lap of the dial in 60 minutes.

28 minutes after 3

Look at the indicated clock here, the minute hand is pointing to 3 divisions after number 5. It shows that the minute hand has moved 5 × 5 + 3 or 28 minutes. The time shown in the specified clock is therefore 28 minutes past 3.

For example:

42 minutes after 5

Write the time shown on the specified clock.

The hour hand is between 5 and 6

The minute hand is in the second minor division after 8.

The minute hand has moved 5 × 8 + 2 = 42 minutes.

The time is 42 minutes past 5.

It is written as 5:42

Reading time to the second:

The thin and very long hand on the watch shows the time in seconds. This is called second hand. The second hand moves very quickly. The second hand only takes 1 minute to complete 1 lap of the dial. The second hand takes 5 seconds to move from one number to the next. When the second hand is on number 4, it means that 4 × 5 or 20 seconds have passed. So 5 × 12 = 60 seconds 1 minute = 60 seconds.

Questions and answers about reading a watch or clock:

I. Circle the clock or clock according to the specified clocks:


8 minutes past the morning


12:47 pm in the afternoon

8 minutes past the morning

am or PM


A quarter to 6 p.m.

A quarter to 6 p.m.

am or PM

12:47 pm in the afternoon

am or PM


5 am

Jog at 5 a.m.

am or PM


I. (I am

(ii) clock

(iii) clock

(iv) on

II. How do you say 10:30 in words?

(i) Half past ten

(ii) Half past ten

(iii) Quarter to 10

(iv) A quarter past 10


II. (ii) Half past ten

Related concepts

Units for length measurement

Measuring device

How to Measure the Length of a Line Segment

Circumference of a figure

Unit of mass or weight

Examples of units of mass or weight

Units for measuring capacitance

Examples of capacitance measurement


Read a clock or watch

Antemeridian (am) or Postmeridian (pm)

What time is it?

Time in hours and minutes

24 hours clock

Time units

Examples of time units



Read and interpret calendars

Calendar guides us to know

4th grade math activities

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