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The time


Written time in Norwegian is almost always in the 24-hour clock.


12:30 - 00:30

When giving exact times, or when speaking in official settings (radio, TV, etc.), the 24-hour clock is always used.

When speaking informally, the 12-hour clock is often used.

In this case, we use the half hour as a reference, but we refer to the half hour prior to or before the next hour. So, for instance, we don’t say half past this hour, but half to the next hour :

14:30 Half past two Halv tre

In this system, minutes are then usually rounded off to the nearest five minutes and are given accordingly, to or after the half hour of reference.

14:20 or 02:20 p.m Ti på halv tre Litt: Ten (minutes) to half three
14:35 or 02:35 p.m Fem over halv tre Litt: Five (minutes) past half three

Other examples:

13.00 ett one o’clock
13.15 kvart over ett quarter past one
13.30 halv to half past one
13.45 kvart på to quarter to two

Time expressions

1 time = 60 minutter 1 hour = 60 minutes
1 minutt = 60 sekunder 1 minute = 60 seconds
Hva er klokka? / Hvor mye er klokka? What is the time?
Den er __. / Klokka er __. It is __.


Question: Hva er klokka?

Answer: Klokka er… or Den er…

12.00 tolv twelve
12.05 fem over tolv five past twelve
12.10 ti over tolv ten past twelve
12.15 kvart over tolv quarter past twelve
12.20 ti på halv ett twenty past twelve or litt: ten minutes to half an hour to one o’clock
12.25 fem på halv ett twenty-five past twelve or litt: five minutes to half an hour to one o’clock
12.30 halv ett half past twelve or *litt: half an hour to one o’clock
12.35 fem over halv ett twelve thirty-five or twenty-five to one or litt: five minutes past half an hour to one o’clock
12.40 ti over halv ett twelve forty ot twenty to one or litt: ten minutes past half an hour to one o’clock
12.45 kvart på ett quarter to one
12.50 ti på ett ten to one
12.55 fem på ett five to one 
13.00 ett one o’clock


How does the clock system work in your language? Are there similarities? If not, which strategy would you use in order to learn and remember the Norwegian clock system? Please, share your experiences in the comments below.

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This article is from the free online course:

Norwegian for Beginners 1

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)