Listen, it's 2023. Just because America uses the 12-hour AM/PM standard time system doesn't mean
th rest of the world does.
The 24-hour clock is actually the most popular time keeping system in the world. It’s written in
HH:MM syntax or HH:MM:SS (Hours: Minutes, Seconds) for the overachievers.
24 hour format sometimes referred to as Military Time but that’s incorrect. They aren’t the same (kinda sorta can be
similar…Military Time leverages the 24-hour time format with a dash of their own flavor).
But here’s the thing - converting between 12-hour, 24-hour, and Military time is essential if you want to travel,
engage with the world outside of Benton Ohio, and be a well-rounded time teller-er.
So how do you convert between 24 hour & 12 hour time clocks? Luckily for you, we’re math nerds
(well, one of us is) and history buffs (the other is) so we built simple software to solve these problems so you
don’t have to.
The biggest difference between 24-hour and 12-hour clocks is the transition from the morning to afternoon. 24 hour clocks do not distinguish between the morning and afternoon by AM & PM but rather a continuous time, running from midnight to midnight. Military time leverages the 24-hour clock as its engine, so to speak, but adds more distinct identifiers. Let’s compare.
AM/PM used to distinguish morning and afternoon times
12 hour cycle, repeating after midday
Example: 2:30 PM (14:30)
Military Time Facts
Time clock system adopted by all US Military branches
Spoken with “hours” after
Always written in four digital integers
Timezones identified through the phonetic alphabet
Example: 0830b Hours (8:30 am, Bravo timezone)
Fast Facts on 24 Hour Formats
12 am is 00:00. Remember, the 24-hour time clock ends at 23:59 and a new day begins at the zero hour.
12:00 am! Start of a new day
No. Military time uses the 24-hour system but is quite distinct from a traditional 24-hour format.
The 24-hour clock is the most popular format for counting time. Countries who use the 24-hour clock include most non-english speaking countries in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The 12-hour clock is the common format for North America and most english-speaking countries.
How to Read 24 Hour Time
Reading the 24 hour clock takes a little mental math and understanding of a few key points:
The 24 hour clock starts at 00:00. This means 00:30 is actually 12:30am. 00:00 is midnight on the 24 hour system and starts a new day. This means until we reach the first hour (1:00), all time will remain in the minutes section (0:10, 0:20, 0:30, 0:40, 0:50, 1:00).
The 24 hour clock ends at 23 hour. Don’t let this confuse you. 23:59 is the latest the clock will go. Like the 12-hour clock, 11:59 PM is the latest the clock turns until morning. Just understand there is no 24:00 (that’s 00:00)
How to Convert 24 Hour Clocks
Converting from 24-hour time to 12-hour (AM/PM) time is a straight-forward equation with the hour (HH) and minute format (MM)
Identify if the hour is greater than or less than 12