How To Read Military Time

Reading, writing, and pronouncing military time is quite different than its standard 12-hour time system counterpart. Military time uses the same number of minutes per hour (60 minutes for every hour), but the way that the hours are expressed is changed. When converting, reading, and writing military time, it is only necessary to change the hours, not the minutes. To read military time, you must express the time using 00 to 23 hours, which represents the number of full hours that have passed since midnight. You can use “2400” to express midnight (12:00 AM in standard time), but it is more common around the globe to use “0000” as midnight is considered the hour at which the new day begins. You will not find any colons or commas in military time, nor will you see any AM or PM suffixes as neither are necessary.

To properly pronounce the military time, you express the number word for the hour followed by “hundred.” You also have the option to use the label “hours.” For example, 1800 would be pronounced “eighteen hundred” or “eighteen hundred hours.”

This 24-hour military time format is designed to avoid confusion or ambiguity and any possible errors that could result due to a misunderstanding.

Outside of the United States, this timekeeping system is actually the main method for expressing time such as in the United Kingdom, India, Australia, Germany, and the Philippines.

Most clocks, however, are not set up to read military time. As a result, digital clocks are the most common way of keeping military time. However, clever engineers have devised methods for creating more traditional military time analog clocks.

In the United States and Canada, the 24-hour clock is referred to as “military time.” It is primarily used by the military, emergency services, aviation, and others who rely on accurate communication of the time.

While military time does not use a colon (“:”) to separate hours and minutes, the 24-hour timekeeping format does. Neither 24-hour time nor military time use AM (ante meridiem) and PM (post meridiem) to distinguish between the morning and afternoon/evening hours as both systems avoid duplicate times (e.g., 12:00 AM and 12:00 PM).

Examples of how to read Military Time vs. Standard Time

12-hour standard time uses the AM and PM suffixes as you are probably most accustomed to. The military time strips out the colon and the AM/PM. Military time also requires that you convert the hours to the 24-hour system. See the examples below:

Military Time Standard Time
0346 3:46 AM
2133 9:33 PM
0039 12:39 AM

Having trouble with the conversion? Use our Military Time Converter tool.

How To Prounounce or Read Military Time

Pronouncing military time can be a little awkward at first. If you have been around military personnel or seen enough war movies, chances are you have picked up a bit along the way. With military time you simply pronounce the time as a number in hundreds of hours. If the time starts with a zero is also gets treated differently. See examples below:

Military Time Pronunciation
0700 Zero Seven Hundred
0900 Oh Nine Hundred
0600 Zero Six Zero Zero
1300 Thirteen Hundred
2207 Twenty Two Oh Seven
1330 Thirteen Three Zero

Learn and Practice Military Time

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