o'clock

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o'clock

Post by tony h » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:09 pm

I have always used o'clock simply for hours. eg four o'clock but not for four thirty o'clock. But today I saw on a Hitchcock film a written note saying: seven thirty o'clock.

Now I don't see why this usage is not reasonable but I sense it as uncommon. Any thoughts?
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Re: o'clock

Post by hsargent » Fri Mar 29, 2013 2:46 pm

I'm sure it is okay but not commonly practiced. A single number needs an indication of "units", but I don't know of any confusion with a sequence of two numbers....it seems obvious it is a time reference. (now watch all of the two number sequences which are not times which are offered.. I have one ...ten four)

I also looked up the o' reference which I believe has been discussed before .... "of the clock".
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Re: o'clock

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sat Mar 30, 2013 4:17 am

.. tony it shows how powerful language can be .. your observation immediately took me back to when my father was alive and healthy .. if asked what time it was Pop would reply, in grandiose manner >> It is six thirty of the clock. .. thanks for the small memory ..

WoZ who misses him still
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Re: o'clock

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Sat Mar 30, 2013 3:45 pm

There are few around today whose dad would have replied 'It is six thirty of the sundial'.
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Re: o'clock

Post by tony h » Sun Mar 31, 2013 9:44 am

Wizard of Oz wrote: .. if asked what time it was Pop would reply, in grandiose manner >> It is six thirty of the clock. .. thanks for the small memory ..

WoZ who misses him still
It is odd how these things happen and how, so often they catch you unexpectedly.

Although it does raise the question of whether the need to add "of the clock" was to differentiate from some other form telling the time. Maybe something like Edwin's mythical sundial. Was the "of the clock" an indication of quality in the information conveyed?

Oddly, as I write this, there is some indication that the theory of a celestial body radiating light and heat may not be completely imaginary.
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Re: o'clock

Post by Wizard of Oz » Mon Apr 01, 2013 1:31 am

.. tony in my father's case it was to add emphasis to this being a significant time when something wa going to happen .. for instance he would say, "It is three of the clock and I am going to the pub." .. in the case of him answering me in that way it was to add an air of expectation .. to sort of ask the question, Well you asked the time, it is this time, so what are you going to do" .. our heritage is Scottish but I don't know if this is a Scottish usage ..

WoZ thinking about that going to the pub idea
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Re: o'clock

Post by tony h » Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:51 pm

I am not a Scottish expert but it isn't something I particularly associate with Scots of my acquaintance.
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Re: o'clock

Post by John Barton » Sat Apr 27, 2013 8:53 am

The addition of 'o'clock' to the time of day is reminiscent of people who say they are '80 years of age', implying that they could be 80 years of several other things. '9 o'clock' could be expressed in monastic terms (nones), or ships' bells, but 'nine thirty' makes it specific enough to omit o'clock. Or as many Brits still say, 'ha' past nine'. Together with 'quarter to' or 'five and twenty past', etc. 'nine twenty-five' sounds affected to them, reminiscent of Bruce Belfridge announcing the BBC News, in a posh London accent. Aboard ship, figures could denote position as well as chronometric time; so 'nine grees' became 'nine of the grees' or 'nine de-grees' - I think! Whence a new word was born, 'degree'.
Our numerals came from the Arabs, who - because they express a number such as 123 as we do, apparently write it as 321; or 'three and twenty and a hundred', since the script is written from right to left. Shakespeare's nonce-word 'fore-noon' didn't catch on, because people preferred 'morning'; and likewise 'forescore' for 19, because it was pronounced the same as fourscore. ('washed up on wednesday the forescore of April', in 'Tempest').
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Re: o'clock

Post by Bobinwales » Sat Apr 27, 2013 12:17 pm

"Twenty-five past nine" sounds better to my ears. My grandmother used "five and twenty", but I can't recall having heard it recently.
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Re: o'clock

Post by hsargent » Sat Apr 27, 2013 4:09 pm

There was four and twenty black birds baked in a pie!
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