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  5. "Het is kwart over zes."

"Het is kwart over zes."

Translation:It is a quarter past six.

July 18, 2014



Six and a quarter?

December 23, 2015


No. In this Dutch expression, over must be interpreted as purely temporal, even though in other contexts the preposition can have non-temporal meanings. So this is exclusively for telling the time. When you want to express "six and a quarter" in Dutch, you can choose between the following options:

  • (zes een kwart)
  • zes en een kwart
  • (zes gehelen en een kwart)
May 27, 2016


A useful explanation as always, thanks. :) Your second example would be the normal way to say this. You first example sounds wrong to me and your third example is an elaborate way of phrasing it (six wholes and a quarter).

Also see (in Dutch): http://taaladvies.net/taal/advies/vraag/817 and http://taaladvies.net/taal/advies/vraag/224/drie_kwart_driekwart/

May 28, 2016


Thanks for the corrections and the links to the taaladvies pages that I didn't find. As I am not really speaking Dutch yet, I found this rather hard to research. So I relied on the examples on this Dutch Wikipedia page.

Especially the first option seemed very plausible to me as this is the normal way to say this in German.

May 28, 2016


No, sorry, that doesn't work for telling time.

May 27, 2016


Is time in Dutch "counted" like in English? So you'd say something like 1am and 1pm instead of (like in German) 1 o'clock and "13" o'clock? If so, how do you say "am" or "pm" in Dutch?

February 7, 2017


Time in my native German is actually counted pretty much the same way as in English, with basically just the following differences:

  • There is no equivalent of "a.m." or "p.m.". So you have to indicate the time of day more precisely, saying things like "one o' clock at night" vs. "one o' clock mid-day", or "four o' clock in the morning" vs. "four o' clock in the afternoon" (or: "four o' clock after school").
  • 24 hour counting (what is sometimes called 'military' time in the US and used to be called 'railway time' in the UK) is used more often than in English - though by no means universally.

I think it's exactly the same in Dutch, and pretty much the same (if not exactly) in French and most other European languages.

12-hour counting is the system that children learn first. It is used universally for analogue clocks (including turret clocks that strike the hours). It is used almost universally in spoken language, often even when reading the time off a digital clock. It is also used in writing to render informal language.

24-hour counting is used universally on digital clocks. It is used almost universally in written language, especially when precision is more important than informality, such as for tables and formal appointments.

Example: When setting the time for a romantic date in writing, being informal and traditional ('romantic') is more important than brief precision, so practically everybody uses the 12-hour system for this purpose.

The main difference between English and the other languages is that in addition to the old 12-hour system and the modern 24-hour system it retained the old "a.m."/"p.m." system. Since it is almost as practical as 24-hour counting yet pretty close to the old system, it is pretty dominant.

The situation is quite similar to what happened with other systems of measurements. All countries that don't speak English are completely metric, but that doesn't mean the words for the old units have fallen out of use. Some have a new precise definition, such as the pound, which in many countries (including Germany and the Netherlands) is now precisely half a kilogram. For older people, 250g of butter is still "half a pound" in everyday speech. Others are used only in old idioms such as Dutch mijlenver / German meilenweit (English: for miles).

February 8, 2017
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