Video: Using AM or PM to Write the Time of an Event

Victoria has drawn this picture to remind her about adding am or pm to a time. She goes to the park after school at half past four. Write the time she goes to the park.

04:06

Video Transcript

Victoria has drawn this picture to remind her about adding am or pm to a time. She goes to the park after school at half past four. Write the time she goes to the park.

Before we think about what this problem is asking, it might be worth taking a minute to look at Victoria’s picture and try to understand it cause it might look complicated at first glance. Now we can see, to start with, that her diagram is based on a horizontal line. And that line is split into sections by nine lines. And each of those lines has got a time written next to it.

So what Victoria has drawn is a timeline that we can read from left to right. And it shows all the times that happened over the course of a day from 12 am, which is midnight, through to 12 pm, which is the middle of the day, midday, all way through the afternoon to midnight again. And then, the day will start again. And that’s why we’d start the number line all over again.

Now, Victoria has included two more pieces of information on her picture to help us. The symbols at the top give us a clue about whether it’s nighttime or daytime at different parts of the day. And the second piece of information she’s included are the abbreviations am and pm at the bottom.

Now, the letters am and pm are abbreviations, which means that they stand for something. The letters stand for some Latin words, which might be quite hard to remember. But it’s easy to know what they mean. The m in am and pm stands for the word meridiem, which is a Latin word that just means midday. Where is midday on Victoria’s picture? Well, it’s in the middle of the day.

The letters am stand for the words ante meridiem, which is a Latin phrase that means before midday. And you can see on Victoria’s picture that all the times to the left of midday are am times. They’re before midday. The letters pm stand for post meridiem, which means after midday. And again, if you look on Victoria’s picture, we can see that all the times to the right of midday that happen after midday are labelled as pm times.

Now that we know what am and pm mean, let’s try and find the time that Victoria goes to the park. We’re told that Victoria goes to the park after school at half past four. And there’re two places that half past four could belong on Victoria’s timeline. One is in between three o’clock am and six o’clock am. So we can label that as 4:30 am. And the other place is in between three o’clock pm and six o’clock pm. So we write that as 4:30 pm. So our two choices for our answers are 4:30 am or 4:30 pm. Which one should we choose?

Now we know that am means before midday. And we can see from Victoria’s picture that 4:30 am is 4:30 in the morning. It’s dark outside. And Victoria is no doubt in bed asleep. We know that also that pm means after midday. So 4:30 pm is 4:30 in the afternoon. We’re told that she goes to the park after school.

So the answer must be 4:30 pm.

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