Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Take a Moment for Time

Photo courtesy of stock.xchng
Hello, duckies! Forgive me if things look a bit blurry; lack of sleep lends a certain fuzziness to the festivities. Not to worry, though. My failure to rest isn’t caused by any medical problem; I simply have a tendency to get caught up in whatever project catches my eye. The next thing I know, the wee hours of morning have arrived and my eyelids are threatening to mutiny.

Speaking of time, I recently had a peek at the “time of day” entry in the CMOS and thought I’d share it with you.

While the manual doesn’t state which manner of notation is preferred, it does offer recommendations and guidelines for both written and numeric styles. For example, when referring to even, half, and quarter hours, the time is usually spelled out. This is especially true when o’clock is added. The shoe sale begins at eight o’clock, or The selection of sling backs sold out by half past two.

If you wish to play up an exact time, you may use numerals; the CMOS recommends the use of a.m. or p.m. to indicate morning or evening. By 8:17 a.m., I came to the conclusion that all of the shoes offered for sale were as appealing as a glass of cold gravy.

One final word on the subject for now: unless you are using the twenty-four-hour system, you should never use numbers to note noon or midnight.

Well, if I’m to keep my intention of getting to sleep by ten o’clock this evening, I should tend to a few other bits of business. There are dishes to be done, and laundry to be folded, and—oh, dear. The mail carrier has just arrived with a shipment of yarn. Ah, well. There’s always tomorrow. Have a lovely time today, and remember: a well-turned phrase is always in style!

Photo by Darrick Bartholomew
Now that summer has arrived in the Midwest, the Style Maven is seriously considering adding fan blades to the spinning wheel. You can follow her other adventures as The Procraftinator here.


  1. This very issue has come up several times when I've been editing, and it's always been a bit of a puzzle about which way to go -- numbers or text. Thank you for this bit of enlightenment, Style Maven; I'm sure I'll put it to good use.

  2. Excellent reminders, Style Maven. Thanks for the refresher course.

  3. Sorry I missed this yesterday. My droopy eyelids won and I took a much-needed nap. I do appreciate the clarification on the proper way to denote time as I read this at 1:14 p.m.


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