I thought that between noon and midnight (including midnight), one never used "moins", but always used minutes past. Or, is midnight perhaps regarded as a.m.?
I can't find it in any lessons which explain this, other than one example in the A1 lesson. There is no explanation, however. Can you please explain to me the rule about when you can and cannot use "moins"for minutes to the hour.
For 10 to 9 in the evening , you would say, " Neuf heures moins dix" or "Vingt heures cinquante". But it depends on the situation.
If you are with someone for instance and they ask you the time, you are more likely to use the 12 hour clock as there's no risk of confusion.
If you arrange a meeting with someone it is safer to use the 24 hour clock.
You would say "Neuf heures moins dix DU soir" (not au soir).
Hope this is clearer...
If I have understood your question correctly you can use 'moins' for 'to' , in the 12 hour clock. It is true that you would probably tend to use the 24 hour clock in the afternoon to avoid confusion but for 'midi' and 'minuit' it will be 'moins'.
e.g. Il est midi moins cinq. ( it's five minutes to midday.)
Il est minuit moins vingt. (It's twenty minutes to midnight.)
Hope this answers your question...
Thank you for your answer Cecile.
I am now clear about midi and minuit.
If I were saying 10 to 9 in the evening, would I say:-
Vingt et un heures moins dix or would I say vingt heures cinquante?
(Could I say neuf heures moins dix au soir? Although it doesn't sound right to me!)
I teach Beginner French and want to be absolutely accurate.
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