# At Zero Hour?

•  0
Today is 6-May. A new system will be in place at 00:00 7-May. Do you use zero hour to represent that time? And which one would you say?

1. The new system will be in place at zero hour tonight.
2. The new system will be in place at zero hour tomorrow.
Or just this to avoid the awkwardness?
3. The new system will be in place at midnight.
Basically, I'm not sure what's the best way to tell the time at or just after midnight, e.g. 00:00, 00:05 or 00:30.
Thank you for your help!
Comments
I guess it depends on the community. My auto insurance expires on June 1 at 12:01 am. If I speak to someone on the phone, they'll tell me it expires at midnight, or one minute past midnight, or "twelve-oh-one-a-m," depending on whom I'm speaking to. They usually like to add the one minute to avoid confusion about the actual date. If I say midnight on June first, is it the beginning of June first or the end of June first??

For years I thought I was covered for the full day on the date of expiration. I was shocked! - shocked! - to find I was only covered for one minute. So I guess it takes a certain amount of intelligence to interpret these things. (i.e. no matter what you do, it ain't gonna be foolproof.)

I must have been thinking in terms of the date on which a bill must be paid. In some cases you have until the end of the last minute on the day it's due. I guess in the system you're describing, 24:00 = 00:00. So you would say 6-May, 24:00 = 7-May, 00:00. What's the convention among programmers?? Do computer clocks actually go to 24:00 ??
Hi,

The term 'zero hour' is much more commonly used as in the following example.

Soldiers are going to attack the enemy at 5pm.

At 2pm, they say it is '3 hours until zero hour'.

At 4pm, they say it is '1 hour until zero hour'.

At 4:55pm, it's '5 minutes until zero hour'.

In other words, zero hour refers to the time that something very important, and not necessarily military, happens.

Best wishes, Clive
Site Hint: Check out our list of pronunciation videos.
PterToday is 6-May. A new system will be in place at 00:00 7-May. Do you use zero hour to represent that time? And which one would you say?

1. The new system will be in place at zero hour tonight.

2. The new system will be in place at zero hour tomorrow.

Or just this to avoid the awkwardness?

3. The new system will be in place at midnight.

Basically, I'm not sure what's the best way to tell the time at or just after midnight, e.g. 00:00, 00:05 or 00:30.

Thank you for your help!
Hi Pter,

To be honest, I think there is really no standard as to how people label the time. In my 20 years career in the business,

I' ve personally found the plain “AM” and “PM” time are the most commonly accepted and less prone to misunderstanding.
When we schedule for facility maintenance (HVAC, electrcial and Compressor preventive maintenance Etc..)
we always express the service time in layman’s terms. i.e.

“ Chiller # 1 will be shut down for maintenance starting at for 4 hours on .

The office area may experience a slight increase in temperature during this time as chiller will be out of service”.

Some use military time but my experience is that some people have to stop and think to figure out what exactly “” is
Thank you all for the useful advice!
Avangi, I can understand your shock. Do computer clocks actually go to 24:00 ?? No. Never.
Clive, are you saying that nobody uses zero hour to mean the time period 00:00 to 01:00? I can't remember where I got the impression. Perhaps it was wrong or perhaps I remembered incorrectly, but I somehow thought that zero hour is one of the ways of describing that period without being very exact. No?
Hi, Goodman. A problem with 12:15 am is that people tends to mis-read that as 12:15 pm, especially if they have a preconception the event is going to happen during day time. I occassionally mis-read that myself. I think that could be one possible reason why Avangi didn't notice the coverage was only 1 minute on the date of expiry. If you say something like 00 hour, the readers will at least be forced to stop and think. This may be important if you want to make sure your reader don't misunderstand you. This is, well, just what I think.
EDIT: After re-reading Clive's comment, I think I'd better avoid using zero hour because it would be easily confused with another meaning which is much more common.
Ha! I just found two examples of using zero hour to mean 00:00.

1. The official website of the central Chinese government
http://english.gov.cn/2006-01/01/content_144575.htm

"The website of China's central government, www.gov.cn, opened formally at zero hour Sunday following a three-month trial operation."

2. BBC
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/low/business/1739966.stm

"On 1 January at zero hour, the introduction of euro bank notes and coins marked not only the completion of economic and monetary union... but one of the major, if not the major, step forward in the history of European integration."
But yes, Clive, you are right. Scanning through the Google search results, the term zero hour is predominantly used to mean a critical pre-defined moment.
Try out our live chat room.
PterHi, Goodman. A problem with 12:15 am is that people tends to mis-read that as 12:15 pm, especially if they have a preconception the event is going to happen during day time. I occassionally mis-read that myself. I think that could be one possible reason why Avangi didn't notice the coverage was only 1 minute on the date of expiry. If you say something like 00 hour, the readers will at least be forced to stop and think. This may be important if you want to make sure your reader don't misunderstand you. This is, well, just what I think.

Pter,
As I said earlier, there is no perfect system and it's up to the person who has to make sure he arrives to the airport at the correct time if he has a flight to catch.

If one is to meet someone at 12:15 for lunch, it’s obvious that it won’t be and it can be further

denoted as “noon” or “PM”. It’s just my personal preference to make sure that people I try to communicate to

don’t get the slightest chance to be confused. To be honest, many people I know still get confused if “12:00” is

am or pm when we go to bed at night.

I
Thanks, Goodman, for your comments. We already have several threads about that am/pm problem for midnight. I would just use "will take place at midnight" when refering to 00:00 tomorrow. However, when we need to talk about the midnight of a specific date, people would still wonder if it is the moment before 00:01 of that day or the moment after 23:59 of that day. That's why I thought of using zero hour. Using 00:00 may not sound natural if you are not making an announcement. Seems that we still don't have a very satisfactory solution.