How to tell time on a clock

To tell time on an analog clock, friend look at whereby the hands are pointing. The short or little hand speak you the hour, the lengthy or big hand speak you the minute of the current hour, and also the thinnest hand suggests the secs of the current minute.

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Reading clocks is an essential life skill because you see analog clocks and watches in her classroom, top top people’s wrists, and also in plenty of public places. You never know when you will certainly be without a digital clock or digital clock you have actually on her cell phone.

Table the Contents

What Is one Analog Clock?How To check out An Analog Clock

What is one analog clock?

An analog clock is a timekeeping machine with numbers roughly the edge with hands that rotate around to suggest the time. We usage clocks to view the elapsed time.


Anything the moves continually is an analog, for this reason the large round clock in your classroom with 3 sticks spinning approximately is called an analog clock.

When a common analog clock reflects the time is 8:22 and 5 seconds, it can mean 8:22 a. m. Or 8:22 p. m. You can not tell native an analog clock if the moment is morning (a.m.) or afternoon (p.m.).

Most analog clocks will have actually three sticks mounted in the facility that spin roughly the clock to tell friend the time. This are referred to as clock hands. These 3 hands room for the hours, minutes, and also seconds.

Hour hand

The little hand is the hour hand. The hour hand speak you what hour it is. When the hour hand is in between two numbers, it speak you we are in between those 2 hours. The brief hand or hour hand provides one full rotation approximately the dial in 12 hours.


Minute hand

The longer hand top top the clock is dubbed the minute hand. The lengthy hand or minute hand moves around the circular dial one time in one hour.

Second hand

The really thin hand that is usually simply as lengthy as the minute hand is the second hand. It move one time approximately the dial in one minute and also indicates the secs of every minute.

Analog clock dial

The hands of a clock space rotating around what we call the dial or clock face. Usually, the dial is marked with the number 1 v 12, with 12 at the top, 6 in ~ the bottom, 9 on the far left, and 3 top top the far right. The various other numbers are in between those numbers.

All those numbered positions space the hour markers. Between the hour markers are four tiny marks, which each suggest one minute. Those same marks additionally indicate seconds.

On some clocks or watches, the Arabic numbers could be changed with roman inn numerals, however reading the clock works the same.

How to review an analog clock

An analog clock is confusing due to the fact that it has three layers, every stacked ~ above the dial.

One class is the hours, which space the numbers only. The various other two layers are the minutes and also seconds – every the numbered positions and also all the tiny marks in between.

To read an analog clock, start with the hours. Look at the shortest hand only; this is the hour hand.

The hour hand will suggest directly in ~ a number just 12 times in 12 hours. Many of the time, girlfriend will watch it pointing between two numbers.

When the hour hand is pointed directly at a clock number, you understand it is precisely that hour. When the hour hand is in between two hours, the number behind the hand is the existing hour.


For example, if the hand is past 1, climate we are at some time in between 1 o’clock and 2 o’clock. If the hand is past 3, then we have actually passed 3 o’clock and also are draw close 4 o’clock.

Next, we recognize the minutes. When measuring minute or seconds, we have to multiply the printed numbers time 5:

1 = 52 = 103 = 154 = 205 = 256 = 307 = 358 = 409 = 4510 = 5011 = 5512 = 60

When the minute hand is pointing come the 1, it shows 5 minutes previous the present hour.


If you division the dial into 4 quarters, once the minute hand is pointing in ~ the 12, the is a new hour. When it points in ~ the 3, we are a quarter previous the hour.

When the minute hand points at the 6, it is two-quarters past, however we say half past the hour since this minute hand is half-way roughly the dial. This is equal to one-half hour of elapsed time.

When the is pointing to the first little marker between the 1 and the 2, it shows that it is 6 minutes previous the current hour.

The second hand works the very same way. The just suggests seconds instead of minutes, and also when it has actually made one full rotation approximately the clock, it indicates one minute has actually elapsed.

How to read a clock without numbers

Some really fancy watches execute not usage the printed numbers. You are expected to know what the bolder point out mean. Informing time top top watches there is no numbers functions the same means as a clock through numbers. Simply pretend the numbers space there and also decide wherein the hands are pointing.

At first, memorizing the positions and numbers may seem hard, however you deserve to learn how to call time without needing the numbers if friend practice.

Practice informing time

In our example below, the hour hand has actually gone past the 8 yet is no yet top top the 9. What hour is it according to this clock?


We understand we room in the 8 o’clock hour.

After determining the hour, we require to know the minutes after the begin of the hour. Us look in ~ the longest hand (the large hand), i m sorry will move much much faster than the hour hand. We usage our psychological math to multiply those printed numbers times 5, or us count the tiny marks between the numbers.

In our example clock, the minute hand is two marks past the 4. What Is 4 × 5? The prize is 20.

Add 2 because that the 2 marks, and also we have actually 22 minute after the hour.

The hour was 8 o’clock, for this reason we room at 8:22. Remember, we have actually no means of knowing if the clock is mirroring morning or evening time.

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Last are the seconds. Analysis the secs on one analog clock is tricky since the second hand moves an extremely fast. In ours example, the second hand is sweeping simply past the 1. We recognize that 1 × 5 = 5.The clock is reflecting 5 seconds previous the minute, for this reason our clock time is 8:22 and also 5 seconds.