Learning to speak English? Our Everyday Conversations help you practice. Click the audio link to hear a native speaker pronounce each word while you read. Key terms are explained, in your language, at the end of each conversation. Today’s dialogue is about time.

Natasha: What time is it? We’re going to be late!

Tony: It’s a quarter after 7. We’re on time. Don’t panic.

Natasha: But I thought we had to be at the restaurant by 7:30 for the surprise party. We’ll never make it there with all this evening traffic.

Tony: Sure we will. Rush hour is almost over. Anyway, the party starts at 8. But I do need help with directions. Can you call the restaurant and ask them where we park our car?

Language notes

  • It’s a quarter after 7. This phrase is one of the most common ways of stating this time. It means: “It’s 15 minutes past 7 o’clock.” Another possibility here is to simply say: “It’s 7:15.” In general you can say: “It’s a quarter past the hour.” How do we know the time of day? Look for context clues: “evening traffic.”
  • In the dialog, Natasha and Tony are going to a surprise party. They need to be on time. Therefore there is an element of stress and urgency. When someone is stressed for time you can use expressions like: Don’t worry. / Don’t stress. / We’re fine. / We will be on time.
  • Natasha thinks the surprise party begins at 7:30. There are two different ways to express this time. You may say simply “7:30” or “half past 7.”
  • Rush hour is the time of day—usually in the morning and evening—when traffic is heavy because of people commuting to and from their workplace by bus, by car, by subway, on foot, etc.
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