I want to say that it's 12:02 p.m. Which of the following (or none) is correct and why?




  • 3
    I will vote 零二分
    – shingo
    Jun 28, 2022 at 5:12

3 Answers 3


When describing a point in time, e.g. "12:02 pm", both 中午十二点零两分 and 中午十二点零二分 are correct, the only difference is that 零两分 is more colloquial while 零二分 is more literary.

When describing a length of time, e.g. "12 hours and two minutes", it is more common to use the more colloquial 十二小時零兩分鐘 than 十二小時零二分鐘.


You would say for 2:02pm as 下午兩點零二分, but not for 12:02pm 中午十兩點零兩分 is not correct, 中午十二點零二分 is the right way.

P.S. I live in Hong Kong, we might pronounce that differently in terms of wording than those in the Mainland China (Cantonese vs Mandarin)

P.P.S. fun fact, if you have ever have the chance to visit Hong Kong and buy a betting ticket with The Hong Kong Jockey Club, they would say for 2 in all circumstances (i.e. 22, they would say 兩十兩 instead of 二十二) (which other occasions are not common)

  • May I ask, in Hong Kong and about the betting ticket, do you mean ? Jun 28, 2022 at 11:39
  • 1
    No, is just the obscure way of writing , to prevent counterfeiting when dealing with numbers, so that numbers could not be altered by adding a single stroke (i.e. 1-> 10, -> )
    – chungonion
    Jun 29, 2022 at 2:30

Both are correct, depending on the person. The following are my personal preferences and habits:

  1. Tell clock time:
  • 12:05 十二點零五; 12:10 十二點一十; 12:15 十二點十五/一刻; 12:30 十二點三十/半; 12:45 十二點四十五/三刻; 13:00 一點整.
  1. Accounting for a time period:
  • 他用了三個鍾頭又五十八分鍾跑完全程,與世界紀錄相差兩分鍾.
  1. Mixed:
  • 讓我們等五分鐘,十二點十五(分)再出發.

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