How to Tell Military Time

How to Tell Military Time

Ever been in a situation where you needed to know military time? Probably so, if you ever served in the military! 

But in general, most people just use the standard “civilian time” 12-hour clock versus the 24-hour method of telling time. This article will help you quickly convert 12-hour time to military time! 

Telling Military Time by Hours

Military time measures the time in a day using four digits with no colon in between. The clock runs from 0000 (read as “zero hundred hours”) to 2359 (read as “twenty-three fifty-nine hours”). Note, 0000 may also be represented as 2400 in some cases. 

So as you can see, there is no concept of noon or midnight. There is no “am” or “pm.” Instead of two 12-hour cycles, there’s only one 24-hour cycle. 

Again, time kicks off at 0000 (the equivalent of midnight), runs until 1200 then, instead of changing to “1:00pm” it turns over to 1300, 1400, 1500, and so on until 2400. 

When reading military time outloud by hours, look at those first two digits and read them as “hundred.” For example, 0100 is “zero one hundred hours” (i.e., “1:00am”). 

Remember, if the first digit is “0” read it as “zero” then read off the value in the second digit.

Comparison Chart of Military and Civilian Time

Military Time

Civilian Time

Military Time

Civilian Time






1:00 AM


1:00 PM


2:00 AM


2:00 PM


3:00 AM


3:00 PM


4:00 AM


4:00 PM


5:00 AM


5:00 PM


6:00 AM


6:00 PM


7:00 AM


7:00 PM


8:00 AM


8:00 PM


9:00 AM


9:00 PM


10:00 AM


10:00 PM


11:00 AM


11:00 PM


Telling Military Time by Minutes

Military time minutes are simply the last two digits in the four-digit 24-hour format. It’s the same number of minutes as in civilian time… 01, 02, 03, and so on until 59 minutes. So there’s nothing to convert.

Example: If a military time is 0025, read it as “zero hundred and twenty-five hours,” which equals 12:25am in a 12-hour clock cycle.

So as you can see, we say the word “hours” after reading the minutes in military time, instead of saying “am” or “pm.” 

Quick Tricks in Telling Military Time

The real secret in mastering how to tell military time correctly is to just do a little math.  

Morning hours are basically the same in both military and civilian time, right? But afternoon is where things get tricky. After 1200 (“twelve hundred hours”) comes 1300 (“thirteen hundred hours”).  

To convert civilian afternoon time to military time, just add 12 to the hour digits. 

Example: If the civilian time is 9:45pm, add 12 to the hour to get 2145 (“twenty-one hundred and forty-five hours”). 

By the same token, to convert military time to civilian time, just subtract 12 from the hour digits. 

Example: If the military time is 1728 (“seventeen hundred and twenty-eight hours,” subtract 12 from 17 to get 5:28pm. 

So in a nutshell, to calculate times after noon, you either add or subtract 12. 

Of course, not everyone outside the military needs to know the military time format, but it’s always handy to understand the basics just in case! But don’t forget, there’s also that pesky international “Zulu Time” to deal with! 





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