BizWritingTip reader: “How do you record the time between 11:59 a.m. and 12:01 p.m.? Is there a standard other than 12 noon or should it be avoided by altering the time either way by a minute or two?”
BizWritingTip response: This is a question many writers struggle with. But it is actually quite simple. When referring to the times of noon or midnight, use the words alone.
We will meet at noon.
The babysitter is booked until midnight.
Of course, there is an exception. If there is another clock time in the sentence, you must add figures to the noon and midnight designations.
The meeting will run from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.
The store is always closed from 12 noon to 12:45 p.m.
Note: For time on the hour, do not add zeros to indicate minutes.
Our website was down from 12 midnight to 7 p.m.
You can have the conference room from 2 to 3 p.m.
And please don’t ask me whether noon is 12 a.m. or p.m. No one seems to be able to agree on this. However, the U.K. National Maritime Museum does state: “The abbreviation a.m. stands for ante-meridiem (before the sun has crossed the line) and p.m. for post-meridiem (after the sun has crossed the line). At 12 noon, the sun is at its highest point in the sky and directly over the meridian. It is therefore neither ‘ante-‘nor ‘post-.’ ”
Trust you find this information timely.