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Standard Time vs. Military Time: Why Do We Have Them?


standard time vs. military time

Accurate timekeeping is crucial because it helps you in your day to day activities. Without a clock or wristwatch, it would be hard to tell whether you are on time or late for your necessary appointments. You can also find it challenging to track how many hours you have spent at work. But aside from having a timepiece, it is also vital to determine which time format is useful in telling time. Is it better to stick with the standard time or follow the military time? This question has resulted in different opinions. Standard time vs. military time: which is better to use? Let’s find out.

Standard Time vs. Military Time

The standard time refers to the uniform time for places that lie in the same longitude. Usually, it is established in a region or country by custom or law. It also refers to the local time in an area when Daylight Saving Time is not observed. In the United Kingdom, standard time is also called normal time or wintertime. When DST is followed, the time is called summertime. In the United States and other countries, the standard time is based on 12 hours. Meaning, the time starts at 12:00 am. The time is also written with a colon. For example, If it is one hour past noon, the time is written as 1:00 pm.

Unlike the standard time, time is based on 24 hours in the military time. Meaning, the time starts at 0 and ends at 24. For instance, instead of writing 1:00 pm, the time is written as 1300. You can tell that there is a big difference in standard time vs. military time. First, the time does not restart at 1:00 pm for midday. Second, the military time does not use a colon in separating the hours and minutes. But like the standard time, the first two numbers refer to the hours while the last two digits refer to the minutes. In military time, adding zeros is essential. For example, instead of writing 6 for six o’clock, you will write it as 0600.

The Purpose of Military Time


The standard time is often used in the United States, mainly if the Daylight Saving Time is not observed. But others tell time using the military time. What is the purpose of it? Does it make any difference? Military time is used to avoid confusion between the morning and afternoon hours. From what you can observe in the standard time, the numbers 1-12 can be used for am and pm. Suppose you have an interview at six o'clock in the morning, you might set the alarm at 6 pm instead of 6 am. To avoid this confusion, military time is used since numbers in hours never repeat themselves.

If you want to use military time, you can use a digital watch or 24-hour clock. Today, most digital watches can be formatted as standard or military time, allowing you to utilize any format. If you have to decide what to choose between standard time vs. military time, you'll probably say that regular time is better. It could be true, especially if it is where you are comfortable. But once you get used to military time, you’ll be able to enjoy several benefits.

Benefits of Using Military Time

Following the military time could be quite challenging at first since you are not used to it. But once you can adapt to using it, you can do the following:

  • Improve your time management.

If you are feeling sleepy and setting your alarm clock, there’s a possibility that you set the time for pm instead of am and vice versa. Wherein if you have military time, you will avoid such confusion. It is also easier to plan activities in a 24-hour clock system.

  • Calculate time duration easily.

It is easier to calculate the duration of time using military time. For instance, you need to calculate the hours between 10:30 am to 5:30 pm. It is quite challenging to get the duration. If written in military time like 1030 and 1730, you'll quickly determine that the duration is seven hours.

  • Use a portable 24-hour clock comfortably.

24-hour digital clocks come in small sizes. Instead of using an oversized 12-hour wristwatch, you may prefer the digital wristwatch that is smaller. It can provide more comfort and can keep you updated with time without having any confusion.

There is nothing wrong with choosing any of the standard and military time. Besides, there are smartphone applications that allow you to enjoy both. For instance, you can use the military time to set the alarm in the morning. This way, you’ll avoid confusing am with pm. While using the military time for alarms, you can keep your primary clock with the standard time. What matters most is the time format you are most comfortable with, be it standard time vs. military time.

Some people use regular time while others follow the military time. Although it might be confusing sometimes, know that the main difference between standard time vs. military time is how hours are expressed. In the regular time, the hours are expressed from 1-12, while in military time, hours start from 0-24. However, both standard and military time express the minutes and second in the same way even though there is no colon used in military time. It doesn’t matter how you define time as long as it is accurate. You can use either standard time or military time as long as you are comfortable with it and you are not missing any necessary appointment.

Related: Military Time Zones

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