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How to Convert from 24 Hour Military Time to 12 Hour Standard Time

By Edited Feb 27, 2016 3 1

Because of its technical ease of use during up tempo military operations, military time (otherwise known as 24 hour time) has proven to be a highly efficient alternative (to 12 hour time) that many civilian professions themselves have adopted as well. For those people who have assimilated themselves into some culture, whether it be the military or some sphere of the nursing profession and beyond, you may find it to be really quite difficult to 'change your ways' and quickly revert back to using a 12 hour time system, on a dime.

Unlike military time, standard 12 hour time inherently relies on the additional injection of "AM" or "PM" in order to distinguish what exact time someone is actually referring to. When discussing issues such as departure times and travel plans, 12 hour time can quickly become inefficient because of the clarification that is occasionally warranted. Can you imagine being a Soldier, in a combat zone, that is briefing an Operations Order that doesn't clarify whether or not a time is meant to mean 6:30 in the morning, or 6:30 in the evening? In the event that you ever do need to convert 24 hour time to 12 hour time, this InfoBarrel article will provide you with the necessary steps to do so effectively and efficiently with little second guessing yourself.

Things You Will Need

a digital watch (and/or a paper and pen)

Step 1

Standard twelve hour time, as mentioned in the introduction of this InfoBarrel article, inherently requires an "AM" and a "PM" designation that immediately follows the numerical values of the given time. When converting 24 hour time to standard time, you should think of the first 12 hours (of 24 hour time) as being the "AM" values of standard 12 hour time. From 0001 hours military time until 1200 hours military time, these values are essentially 12:01 to 12:00 midday (AM) in 12 hour standard time. Zero hundred hours (0:oo) will be the same as 12:00 AM (in standard 12-hour time).

Step 2

Rather than returning back to 1:00 after 12:00 noon, 24 hour military time hours will continue to increase in number all the way up to 2400 hours. If a given time is 1300 hours in 24 hour military time, it will be 1:00 PM in standard 12 hour time. When a given 24 hour military time is greater than 1200 hours, it helps to automatically be able to know that we are now dealing with "PM" times on the 12 hour standard time clock.

If you ever find it difficult to remember how these 24 hour military times convert to their 12 hour standard time counterparts, you can always write these times on a little piece of paper and carry them with you wherever you go. The most quick and efficient conversion, however, occurs when you can immediately convert these in your head. As you can see, going from 24 hour military time to 12 hour standard time is as simple as subtracting the number "12" from the hour time value. What you will have remaining is the 12 hour standard time value. Likewise, conversion can easily be done the opposite way simply by adding "12" to your 12 hour standard time value.
  • 13:00 hours = 1:00 PM
  • 14:00 hours = 2:00 PM
  • 15:00 hours = 3:00 PM
  • 16:00 hours = 4:00 PM
  • 17:00 hours = 5:00 PM
  • 18:00 hours = 6:00 PM
  • 19:00 hours = 7:00 PM
  • 20:00 hours = 8:00 PM
  • 21:00 hours = 9:00 PM
  • 22:00 hours = 10:00 PM
  • 23:00 hours = 11:00 PM
  • 24:00 hours = 12:00 PM

Step 3

While some simple "brain work" is inherently required to convert 24 hour military time to its 12 hour standard time counterpart (in relation to "AM"), this conversion process is absolutely seemless with regards to the "AM" hours of 12 hour standard time.
  • 01:00 hours = 1:00 AM
  • 02:00 hours = 2:00 AM
  • 03:00 hours = 3:00 AM
  • 04:00 hours = 4:00 AM
  • 05:00 hours = 5:00 AM
  • 06:00 hours = 6:00 AM
  • 07:00 hours = 7:00 AM
  • 08:00 hours = 8:00 AM
  • 09:00 hours = 9:00 AM
  • 10:00 hours = 10:00 AM
  • 11:00 hours = 11:00 AM
  • 12:00 hours = 12:00 AM

As you can see from this InfoBarrel, clearly both 12 hour standard time and 24 hour military time references are both necessary or they both simply would not exist. Because of its elimination of the need for "AM" or "PM" additions, 24 hour military time, if grasped appropriately by the user, is inherently much more efficient. If you do ever find yourself having to convert from military time to standard time, be sure to utilize the steps in this InfoBarrel article. You will begin to find that the more you practice mentally converting 24 hour military time to 12 hour standard time, the more and more 'second nature' it will become.

Tips & Warnings

Many current digital watches with have integrated functionality that allows for the easy and efficient conversion of 24 hour military time to 12 hour military time. Typically, this can be done with a touch of a button. If you do not have a digital watch that does this, and you find that you must use both times interchangeably on occasion, now might be a great time to begin looking for one! Even still, if you aren't into purchasing a new digital there is no substitute for either referencing a conversion paper that you stuff in the nether regions of your wallet (or purse) or actually memorizing the simple conversion.

When reading 24 hour military time, be sure not to pronounce the actual "colon" punctuation mark. The colon is meant to serve simply as a separator, and, regardless of the 24 hour military time chosen, you will read the time with a consistent flow in your vocal tone, such as, for example: "14:00 hours" would be pronounced "fourteen hundred hours" in military time. If an early morning military time is displayed, such as "02:00 hours" it would be pronounced "Zero two hundred hours" or "oh two hundred hours".

Oftentimes, many people seem to confuse 0:00 hours with 12:00 PM in 12 hour standard time. Instead, 0:00 hours in 24 hour military time is, in fact, 12:00 AM in 12 hour standard time. Be sure to be cognizant of this because this is perhaps one of the most objects of confusion when it comes to converting military time appropriately. A comprehensive understanding of how this 24 hour military time to 12 hour standard time conversion actually works can be invaluable to accurately and efficiently conveying the proper time to others.

Dependent on the organization, as well, the midnight hour may be interpreted differently in 24 hour military time. This can also be a subject of great confusion in that some organizations and agencies interpret midnight as being 0:00 hours, while other places interpret midnight to be 24:00 hours. It is important to also be cognizant of this possibility.

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Comments

Apr 5, 2011 8:49pm
homebaseincome
I liked your topic of article. I never truly understood military time but after reading your article, I bet life would be a little easier if civilians used military time all the time.
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