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Military Time – My Trick To Easily Translate It In My Head

Just a quick tip for today.

Military time: It is used all over the world though not much here in North America. I have heard a lot of people have trouble translating the time when listed in military time – or a 24 clock – in their heads. This is something I have never had difficulty with ever since I figured out a little trick a bunch of years ago. Today I am going to share it with you:

All I do is take away 2 from any number listed in military time (above 12) and drop the first number.


  • 1300 becomes 1 because 13-2=11. Drop the first 1 and you are left with a 1.
  • 2100 becomes 9 because 21-2=19. Drop the first number from 19, the 1, and you are left with a 9.

I have tried to explain this to other people and they look at me like I’m crazy. To me, this makes perfect sense and I hope it does for you too.

Do you have a system for this that you’ve come up with for yourself? Think it’s better than mine? What is it?

  1. July 21, 2011 at 11:59 pm

    I had to memorize military time for my security job, what a great way to learn it. Thanks so much as others might need this helpful tip. It’s crazy to learn this b/c all my life I knew only one type of time. I was never military so it was hard to learn. It took me three full month’s to get the minutes down right. LOL great post.

    • August 5, 2011 at 6:19 pm

      Just saw this now because apparently WordPress Aksimet decided your comment was spam (I don’t know why).
      I was never in the military either but in the earlier days of the internet on IRC they used to use 24 hour clocks all the time so I had to get used to it. As well, in Europe and the Middle East (I lived in Israel for two years) they use it a lot too so I had to get used to it.

  2. July 22, 2011 at 12:17 am

    I always remember everything up to 18h. I always remember that 20h as a point of reference for 8:00pm, then from there you’ll probably see me start counting with my fingers.

  3. Robin
    November 7, 2012 at 5:08 am

    I recently met someone who is a self-called “Military Brat” and she grew up using the method you use. Earlier in the year, I realized a very simple way to translate a 24 hour clock to a 12 hour. 00:00 is 12am, from 01:00 to 12:00 is pretty self explanatory, if the time starts with a 0, drop the 0 and you have the time 01:00-0=1:00am. From 13:00 on, all you do is subtract 12 from the first two numbers, hence, if it is 13:00 you would do this 13-12=1 therefore, the time would be 1:00pm. What do you think?

    • December 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      I like it because it seems very similar to my own method.

  4. Emma
    August 24, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    This helped me so much! Thank you

    • September 3, 2014 at 11:20 am

      You’re welcome. Glad to hear it.

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