"It's half past 6" vs "It's half after 6"?

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Hi

Would you say that the both sentences are equally natural?

It's half past six.

It's half after six.

Thanks,

Tom

Ps: Can we write 6 in the given sentences?
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Approved answer (verified by )
Hi Tom

The first one is a common usage, and the second one is not -- not in AmE, anyway.

It wouldn't surprise me too much if I heard someone say "It's 30 minutes after six", but "half after six" sounds very odd to my American ear.

However, I have heard British friends say things such as "It's half six" (i.e. 6:30). But I've personally never heard one of them add the word "after" to that expression. Actually, if they had added the word "after", that might have been helpful to me because I was always confused about what time they meant whenever they said "half six." lol
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Hi Anon

Sorry, but you're wrong about that. If a Brit tells you that it's half six, they're telling you that it's 6:30. If a German tells you it's halb sechs, they are saying that it's 5:30. Even though the literal translation of "halb sechs" is "half six", the two phrases definitely do not mean the same thing.

If you'd spent years living in Germany with both British and German neighbors (as I did), you'd be very aware of this fact. When I was living in Germany, this difference in meaning was a never-ending source of confusion for my British neighbors and their German acquaintances when they made appointments with each other. People frequently arrived either an hour early or an hour late for appointments because of this difference in meaning. These mix-ups were caused by the fact that one nationality had grown up with half being after the hour, and the other nationality had grown up with halb being before the hour.

When I first arrived in Germany, all of this half six vs. halb sechs stuff was doubly confusing for me since we don't use phrases such as "half six" at all in American English.

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ALL REPLIES
Hi,

It's half past six

is the only right one and you can't write six in number.

You can write it's 6:30 pm I guess.
New Member11
Dear Penelope

Thanks for your response, but I request you (no hard feelings please) to wait for a native speaker to give the answer if you are not completely sure of the question. I heard "half after six" from a native speaker yesterday.

Thanks,

Tom
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Dear Tom,

I'm afraid you cannot request anything...I live in a free world and my opinion can be as valid or wrong as a native speaker's and I feel free to express it.

Of course I will not answer you back ever......

No hard feelings.
Anonymous:
British 'half-six' does not mean 6.30, it means 5.30. This is consistent with the same usage in german and the scandinavian languages.
Anonymous:
I am a native British speaker of English and you would say:

It is half past six.

Or

It is half six.
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