how to read a watch or a clock

Read a Watch or a Clock | How to Read A Time Shown in Analogue Clock or Digital Clock?

Read a Watch or Clock: Reading a clock or watch is an ability to master easily in a short time and with less effort. There are various types of clocks like Analogue clock, Digital clock, electronic word clock, musical clock, etc. Analogue clocks are distributed over a circle and move the hour hand and minute hand individually. This helps people to read a time from a clock or watch.

Whereas in the digital type of clock, you can easily read the hour and minutes. Well, reading a watch or clock can be confused when it comes to Roman numerals and military time. With a bit of hard work and smart work, you guys can read a clock or watch with ease. So, practice more by viewing the below modules regarding How to Read a Watch or a Clock.

How to Read a Watch or a Clock?

There are two methods to read a watch or clock. The first method is reading an Analogue clock and the second method is reading a Digital clock. Let’s start the process of the first method and learn the concept to read a watch or clock easily.

Method 1: Reading an Analogue Clock

  • In step 1, we will discuss learning how a clock is divided. A clock is split into 12 sections. At the top, you will see the number ’12’. On the right-hand side, you will see a ‘1’ followed by 2, 3, 4, 5, on up to 11 in a clockwise direction.
  • Here the numbers labelling each section are the hours.
  • The sections between the two numbers are divided into 5 divisions/segments.
  • Above we have seen the numbers arranged in the clock.
  • In a clock, there are 2 hands. A little hand indicated the hours and a big hand indicates minutes. For instance, if the little hand is showing ‘1’, then we have to read the time like this 1 o’clock.
  • Now, use the big hand and read the minutes. To read the minutes, first, take the indicated number and multiply it by 5 to get the minutes.
    • If the big hand is pointing to “3,” you’ll know that it is 15 minutes past the hour.
    • If the big hand is between “1” and “2,” note what dash it is pointing to. For example, if it is on the 3rd dash after the “1,” it is 8 minutes past the hour. (1 x 5 + the number of dashes).
  • After learning how to read hour and minutes, you can tell time easily. For instance,
    • If the little hand is pointing to “2” and the big hand is pointing to “12,” it is “two o’clock.”
    • If the little hand is pointing to “3” and the big hand is pointing to “2,” it is “3 hours 10 minutes” or “ten minutes past three.”
  • To tell AM or PM, first, we have to know the time of day. From midnight to noon the next day, the time is in AM. From noon to midnight, the time is in PM.

Method 2: Reading a Digital Clock

  • The digital clock is the opposite of the analogue clock. It displays only two numbers separated by a colon.
  • The first number on a digital clock indicates the hours. If the first number reads “7”, then it is read as 7 o’clock hour.
  • Now, come to the second number on a digital clock or watch, which is found after the colon, tells the minutes into the hour. For instance, if it displays 12, then it is read as 12 minutes into the hour.
  • Finally, put them together to read the exact time. For example, if the clock displays ‘7:12’ then it means 7 hours 12 minutes, or seven-twelve, or twelve past seven.
  • Also, to identify whether its AM or PM, some digital clocks show AM or PM directly on the clock.

Solved Examples on How to Tell Time in English?

1. Read the time shown in the given clock?

reading analogue clock or watch to tell time


In the given figure, the hour hand is showing the number 10 then 10 hours and the minute hand is showing the number 12 then 0 minutes. So, we can read it as a 10 o’clock.

2. Read the time shown in the below clock image?

how to read a clock or watch example image


From the given clock image, the hour hand is indicating between 4 and 5. It is almost near to 5 but for now, we will read as a 4 hour or 4 o’clock.

The minute hand is indicating 7 then 7 x 5 is 40. So, we read as 40 minutes.

By joining both together, we read it as 4 hours 40 minutes or 40 minutes past 4. 

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