Most people are familiar with the 12-hour clock and its corresponding AM and PM readings for denoting specific time frames. But did you know it’s also possible to tell time using a 24-hour clock? This system, known as military time, is also referred to as “24-hour time” and is used across all branches of the military and is beneficial in a variety of scenarios.
In this article, we’ll explain what military time is, how to break it down, and how to use it with ease. We’ll also throw in some helpful hints to make the transition to military time smoother. Let’s dive in!
What Is Military Time?
Military time is the basis of what is known as a 24-hour clock which is used by many worldwide. It is based on the thirteenth to twenty-fourth hour of the day, counting from midnight to noon and from noon to midnight.
To use this system, you must replace both the AM and PM timestamps with numbers. The time corresponds to the numbers of hours that have passed since midnight, with 00:00 being midnight itself. This system eliminates the need for differentiating between AM and PM and has proven to be more straightforward and efficient in certain scenarios.
Military time has been heavily adopted by the military since it eliminates any potential confusion caused by differentiating between AM and PM. As well, this system is particularly useful in any field or environment in which clarity and precision are essential, such as aviation.
Breaking Down Military Time
Breaking down this system into simpler terminology can make it easier to understand and use.
If you’re looking to break down military time, remember these two simple facts:
- Midnight is represented as 00:00.
- Noon is represented as 12:00.
Once you remember those two facts, all you’ll need to do is add in the remaining hours. For example, if it’s 1:00PM on a 12-hour clock, it translates to 1300 on a 24-hour clock. If it’s 4:15PM, that translates to 1615 in military time. This formula is repeated for all other hours until you hit midnight again.
In addition, minutes are marked using a colon and written in the same way as in a normal time system. Therefore, any readings such as 4:15 will still be written as 16:15 in military time.
How to Use Military Time Easily
Now that you know the basics of this system, let’s go through some tips and tricks to help you use it with ease.
• Learn the numbers – It is essential to commit to memory the number equivalents of all 12 hours on the 12-hour clock. This can make it significantly easier to convert times between the two systems.
• Practice – You can’t master a skill before you’re comfortable and confident in your abilities. Being adept at military time requires consistent practice and familiarization.
• Utilization of phone clocks – Smartphones and other devices will typically have the option to display military time, taking away the need to calculate the time manually.
• Clock conversion table – A useful aid for converting time would be a clock conversion table. This is essentially a military-to-12-hour clock time conversion table which you can refer to whenever you need to make a conversion quickly.
• Use a mix of both systems – In some cases, it may be beneficial to use both military and 12-hour clock time, especially if you’re talking to someone from an earlier time zone, in order to avoid confusion.
• Speed up the process – To speed up the time-conversion process, you can utilize ready-made time converter tools. These tools convert times for you and make the learning process much easier and faster.
• Be mindful of times – You may need to demonstrate flexibility when times recorded in the 12-hour clock exceed the twelve-hour mark and enter the realm of military time. Taking note of such times and converting them in advance will help you avoid confusion.
Some Helpful Hints
• Use abbreviations – As a quick tip, you can use abbreviations such as ‘hrs’ to denote the hours after the first hour and ‘min’ to indicate the minutes when writing down times. This can save you time and avoid confusion when writing them down or referring to them.
• Choose comfort – As you familiarize yourself with the 24-hour clock, determine which approach is more comfortable to use and stick to it. Experiment with the different approaches and techniques, and choose the one that works best for you.
• Stick with your choice – Once you figure out which approach is most suited to your needs, make sure to stick with it until you’re completely comfortable with the system. Making sudden switches can add to the confusion and make mastering the new system harder.
• Know when and how to use it – Cementing the need to stick with one system can be done by familiaring yourself with the when and where to use the 24-hour clock. This ensures that you’re using the correct system at all times, avoiding any erroneous readings.
By now, you should have all the tools necessary to successfully utilize the 24-hour clock known as military time. As useful as this system might be, it is important to acknowledge that the 12-hour clock system is still widely accepted and used across many parts of the world.
Knowing when to use military time is as important as understanding how to use it. It is always best to make sure that you’re communicating in the system that the receiver is best familiar with to ensure the accuracy of the information you’re sending.
Practice, practice, practice. There’s nothing like mastering a skill through hours of dedicated practice and repetition. Commit to memory the basics of this system and don’t be afraid to use the inbuilt help available on your devices or any online resources. With a little bit of patience, you’ll be a pro in no time.
Utilize the tips and tricks covered in this article, and you’ll be a master of military time in no time.