# Every hour on the hour, etc.?

6 replies
Greetings all,

(1) "every hour on the hour"

"every minute on the minute"

"every half hour on the half hour"

I understand these word combinations are all perfect Eng.?

(2) I wonder how to "build up" a similar combination but for "quarter of an hour"?

(3) Generalization. Could you please tell me how to convey exactly the same idea but for say an N-minute time interval?

"Every N seconds on the N-second boundary"? :-)

Kind regards

muscovite
Contributing Member1,418
Hello Muscovite,

My feeling is that you don't need to always repeat the second part--'on the...'

If you said: The grandfather clock chimed on the quarter hour. Everyone would understand that the clock chimes at the exact point when the quarter hour is reached.

Or, you could say: The alarm rang every minute. You don't need to say 'every minute, on the minute'. People understand that is what you mean. If you really need to be that precise, say: We timed it and the alarm rang every 60 seconds.

Best wishes,
TrysB
Full Member156
TrysBIf you said: The grandfather clock chimed on the quarter hour. Everyone would understand that the clock chimes at the exact point when the quarter hour is reached.

Hi, TrysB

Sorry for steering the topic away from the main point, but I would like to get clear on one point, if I may: is there any difference in meaning between "The grandfather clock" or "The grandfather's clock"?

Thanks!
Regular Member858
Hello TrysB,

I see your point ( <don't need to always repeat the second part>), but...

Suppose you are a software engineer ( :-) and you want your application to display "Hello , world!" every 60 seconds. There is an alternative for you, specifically:

either you make your application output the greeting every minute counting from the moment you launched the program, or you can make your code do this every minute on the minute. In the second case, the interval between the moment you launch the program and the instant the greeting appears on the screen for the first time can be less than 60 seconds of course (*).

In fact, I meant a scenario similar to (*) when asking my 'every hour' question :-)

Thanks again, and

Merry Christmas!

muscovite
Hi,
Yes, I had a feeling you meant something very specific like that and I see your point. The differrence is whether something occurs at that specific minute or second according to clock time, or whether you are timing an interval. This is a pretty specialized usage and I think the best way is to explain what you mean exactly--like you did in your example. Then your readers will understand.

TrysB
Hi Mr P,
Yes, indeed. I can own a grandfather clock [although I'm not a grandfather!] which means I have a type of clock that is usually in a tall case that stands on the floor and has a pendulum.

The grandfather's clock would mean any clock that my grandfather has. He could have a grandfather clock or he could have a Mickey Mouse clock. It would still be grandfather's clock.

Happy holidays!

TrysB
TrysBHappy holidays!

Thanks, that makes sense

Happy holidays to you too!
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