Does “:00” Mean “O’clock”?

I have not seen a written rule about “o’clock” equaling “:00” in a standard English text. I would love to have a reference for that rule. I know that many people were taught that. I have simply never seen it written as a rule.

There are three separate English rules for transcribing times.

I believe that, in our era of searchable documents, we should use time figures so that these can be found in a search.

SAID: We arrived at five.
TRANSCRIBE: We arrived at 5:00.

SAID: We arrived at five P.M.
TRANSCRIBE: We arrived at 5:00 P.M.

SAID: We arrived at five o”clock.
TRANSCRIBE: We arrived at 5:00 …….

If you want to be totally verbatim and the word “o’clock” is said, put the word into the transcript; if you think the “:00” already means “o’clock” and that this is redundant, then leave out the word.

Happy punctuating!


Already a Unit = No Hyphen

When the word “dollars” is said and there are numbers above a million with the figure and the word, the dollar sign is used, and the combination is considered to be a unit and uses no hyphen. (NOTE: It is perfectly fine to use all figures for these, though it is probably easier to read in the figure-word combination.)

…They spent $1.2 million for the house.
…It is more than $10 million in loans.

The word “dollars” becomes singular, “dollar,” when this combination is used as an adjective. It is said as “two million DOLLAR loan.” The dollar sign is still used. However, because the combination is already considered to be a unit, there is no hyphen.

…They received a $3 million loan from the bank.
…It is a $1.2 million increase over what we expected.

…It is a $2 million-a-year payment for ten years.

So when a suspension hyphen is needed, it looks like this:

…It is a $10 million- to $20 million-a-year commitment.

Happy punctuating!


“A Half” Versus “One Half” and Others

In making this distinction, you choose the way it is transcribed depending on how verbatim you want to be. When “eighteen and one half” is said, then it is a mixed number, and the rule says that mixed numbers should be transcribed in figures.

…It is 18 1/2 feet long.

When “three and three fourths” is said, then this mixed number is in figures.

…We need 3 3/4 cups of sugar.

The “issue” arises when “a half” is said or “three quarters” is said. “A” and “quarters” are not really numbers. So for those who want to be “verbatim,” these numbers must be written out in their entirety.

…It is eighteen and a half feet long.
…We need three and three quarters cups of sugar.

This format is never correct.

…72 and a half…

Happy punctuating!


The Word “Number”

When the word “number” is said and is followed by a figure, it is abbreviated except when it begins a sentence since it would look like hte word “no.”

…It refers to Section No. 123.
…I am on page No. 15.

…Number 84 is not included here.

The plural of the abbreviation is “Nos.”

…I have read Nos. 15 and 16.

Happy punctuating!


The Ordinal Number

All dates are in figures.

The rule in English is that the ordinal is NOT added to the date after the month.

…It occurred on June 2 late in the afternoon.
…The date is May 4, 2015.
…We visited him on July 1 of last year.


…on the 2nd of June…
…May the 4th…

Whether you transcribe it or not when said is about how “verbatim” you want to be.

Happy punctuating!


Searchable Documents and Times

We are in the era of “searchable” documents. An attorney looking for the time of day is not likely to put in “ten” or “four” in his search. The English rules of the 1990s for times don’t work anymore. It is correct that English says to put the number into words with the word “o’clock.” We have moved beyond that rule.

…He arrived at ten o’clock. (…the way it was done in the last century…)

The rule that “:00” means “o’clock” is just not applicable to the verbatim record and probably isn’t a formal rule anyway.
The conclusion: Times on the hour should be expressed with “:00.” If you are writing “verbatim,” then transcribe the word “o’clock” when it is said.

…He said they would be here at 4:00.
…I know it was getting close to 3:00 A.M.

…She arrived at 11:00 o’clock. (…when the word “o’clock” is said…)
Happy punctuating!

“A” Hundred” versus “One” Hundred

When the words are “a” hundred or “a” thousand, there is a problem for the person who
wishes to keep it as close to verbatim as possible. Technically, “a hundred” and “a
thousand” are not numbers and should be transcribed as words.

…It was bigger than a thousand.
…He gave more than a hundred percent of his time.

When this occurs in a string of numbers, you have an editorial decision to make. If you
are going to stick with “a hundred,” then all the numbers have to be in figures. Otherwise,
you are going to transcribe “100” in figures.

Assuming he said “a hundred,

…He sent 45, 76, 98, and 100 of them the first week.
…He sent forty-five, seventy-six, ninety-eight, and a hundred of them the first week.

The decision is yours.

Happy punctuating!