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Write the Right Word: What Time is It, Anyway?

Time is an important part of what we write. That’s especially true in news releases, brochures, fliers and other material for a specific event. Those all include the time an event begins, and often list starting times for sessions within that event.

Here’s the style we follow for writing times:

  • Use figures except for noon and midnight; spelling out noon and midnight avoids confusion.
  • Do not put :00 after the hour.
  • Do use a colon to separate the hour from minutes.
  • Lowercase a.m. or p.m. Make sure to put periods after the a, p and m.

For example: “The workshop starts at 8 a.m. Lunch will be served at noon. The featured speaker will give a presentation at 2:30 p.m.”

Here are some other tips:

  • When listing a time range and both times are in the morning, afternoon or evening, you need to use an a.m. or p.m. only once. For instance: “The workshop runs from 8 to 11 a.m.” However: “The workshop runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Avoid redundancies such as 10 a.m. in the morning or 10 p.m. Monday night.
  • North Dakota is in two time zones, Central and Mountain. In material listing events in both time zones, indicate which are on Mountain time. For example: “The workshop will be held in Dickinson at 10 a.m. Mountain time.” or “The workshop will be held in Dickinson at 10 a.m. MST.”

, Information Specialist, 701-231-5391

Filed under: Written Communication
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