One of the skills that you will surely have to master when you enlist is reading and pronouncing military time. It is a skill many new recruits overlook, but knowing how to pronounce military time correctly makes a difference.
If you head to basic training prepared, you will leave a good impression on your fellow recruits and your instructors.
So, let’s learn how to do it today. We will practice with a simple question, “How to say 0009 in military time?”
By the end of this article, you should be able to count military time without seeking help from a military time converter tool or a military time chart.
Table of Contents
- The Gist of Military Time
- Steps to Reading Military Time
- Steps to Pronouncing Military Time
The Gist of Military Time
To start, let’s become acquainted with the basics of military time. Military time is similar to the civilian time in 24-hour notation. It also runs on a 24-hour clock. However, it differs in display and pronunciation.
First, for display:
- Military time does not have a colon in between the hours and the minutes
- Military time does not have an “A.M” (ante meridiem) or “P.M” (post meridiem) notation
Next, for pronunciation:
- Military time does not use “o’clock”
- Military time uses “hours,” “hundreds,” and sometimes, “oh” (We will go into the details later!)
Military time is used to minimize ambiguity and confusion for military members. Since there is no “A.M” or “P.M,” military members will not be mixed up with the alphabet system used to denote time zones. So, “Alpha,” “Papa,” and “Mike,” indicated by “A,” “P,” and “M,” will not be misinterpreted.
Military time is also meant to counter poor transmissions with radio communications. Even if the radio is cut off when a message is relaying “7 A-” for instance, members will not have to second guess between 7 A.M and 7 A time.
Steps to Reading Military Time
There are 4 digits in military time. The clock begins at four zeros (0000) and ends with two, four, and two zeros (2400). Of the four digits, the first two are the hours and the remaining two are the minutes.
Step 1: Read the Hours
There are two rules to keep in mind while reading the hours:
- Rule 1: If the hours are below 10 (or are from 1 to 9), they will be read with a zero in front
- Rule 2: If the hours are above 10 (or are from 10 to 24), they will be read without a zero in front
Also, sometimes “oh” is read rather than “zero.” Typically, it is when the setting is not very diplomatic or formal.
Step 2: Read the Minutes
To read the minutes correctly, add “hours” or “hundred hours” at the end. The latter is used if the minutes are 00.
In other words, if the hours stand alone and there are no minutes, you include the “hundred hours” at the end. If not, you omit the “hundred.”
Step 3: Make Sense of the Previous Steps with Examples
Applying what we have learned in steps one and two:
- 0900 is pronounced as zero nine hundred hours (or oh nine hundred hours in a less formal setting)
- 0915 is pronounced as zero nine fifteen hours (or oh nine fifteen hours in a less formal setting)
- 1900 is pronounced as nineteen hundred hours
- 1915 is pronounced as nineteen fifteen hours
Step 4: Convert Military Time to Civilian Time
- Separate the four digits into hours and minutes (So, there are 2 digits for hours and 2 for minutes)
- Compare the time to 1200.
- If the hour is not lower than 1200, subtract it by Then, add a “P.M” to the time.
- If the hour is lower than 1200, keep the time the same and add an “A.M.”
- Leave the minutes as they are.
- Split the hours from the minutes with a colon.
- Add an “A.M” or “P.M” notation according to the rule in step 2.
- If the time in the second step was lower than 1200, use “A.M.”
- If the time in the second step was not lower than 1200, use “P.M.”
Step 5: Practice By Converting Civilian Time to Military Time
To do this, you just need to work in reverse.
- See if there is an “A.M” or “P.M.” This will tell you if the time is lower or not lower than 1200.
- If there is an “P.M,” the time is lower than 1200. In this case, rather than subtracting like the rule we learned above, we add.
- Keep the minutes the same.
- Get rid of the “A.M” or “P.M” and the colon between the hours and minutes.
- The numbers you are left with makes up the answer!
- Note: These steps work if you start with civilian time in a 24-hour format. However, if you start with civilian time with a 12-hour format, convert it to civilian time in 24-hour format first.
To convert 24-hour time to 12-hour time:
- Rule 1: From 00:00 to 00:59, add 12 hours and an “A.M”
- Rule 2: From 1:00 to 11:59, add an “A.M” only
- Rule 3: For times between 13:00 and 23:59, subtract 12 hours and add “P.M”
Let’s try a practice question: What time is 00:09?
Since it is between 00:00 and 00:59, we apply Rule 1: add 12 hours and an “A.M.” Our answer is 12:09 A.M.
Step 6: Practice Converting Civilian Time to Military Time
Here’s our practice question: What time is 12:09 A.M.
12:09 is 00:09 in 24-hour time.
- According to the rule we learned in the beginning, we keep the time the same.
- We keep the minutes the same. Thus, 09 stays 09 here.
- We get rid of any notation and remove the colon.
- We are left with 0009.
Steps to Pronouncing Military Time
Let’s remind ourselves with the basic rules:
- Read “zero” then the hour if the hour is below 10 (or is from 1 to 9)
- Omit the “zero” and just read the hour if the hour is above 10 (or is from 10 to 24)
- Read “hundred hours” at the end if the hour stands alone and there are no minutes
- Read “hours” at the end and omit “hundred” if the hour is not alone and there are minutes
So, for our opening question, “How to pronounce 0009 in military time?”
- The hour is below 10 so we read it with a “zero”
- The hour is not alone and there are minutes so we read it with “hours” at the end
- Our answer is “zero zero zero nine hours.”
Note: If you were saying this in an informal setting, it would be “oh oh oh nine hours.”
To put what we have learned into practice, let’s try to answer another question, “How to say midnight in military time?”
Midnight in military time is 0000.
- The hour is below 10 so we add a “zero” in front
- The hour is alone and there are no minutes so we read it with “hundred hours” at the end
- Our answer is “zero hundred hours.”
Congratulations! You now know how to say 0009 in military time. Hopefully, this has helped you become familiar with military reading and pronouncing military time. If you have any other thoughts to share or questions to ask, leave us a comment. We are always happy to hear from our readers!
I am Everett Bledsoe, taking on the responsibility of content producer for The Soldiers Project. My purpose in this project is to give honest reviews on the gear utilized and tested over time. Of course, you cannot go wrong when checking out our package of information and guide, too, as they come from reliable sources and years of experience.