General Question

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Should 12am be switched with 12pm?

Asked by RedDeerGuy1 (19446points) July 6th, 2017

Wouldn’t it make more sense for 11am to be followed by 12 am and 11 pm to be followed by 12 pm? Not the other way around the way we have now?

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12 Answers

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

A.M. is the abbreviation for the Latin ante meridiem, which means before midday. P.M. means post meridiem or after midday.

Midnight is the dividing time between days, so it has to be A.M. Noon is the time separating A.M. and P.M., so it has to be P.M.

Jeruba's avatar

Noon is the meridiem. What doesn’t make sense to me is labeling noon as either before itself (a.m.) or after itself (p.m.). Noon is just noon.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Exactly. Moving the meridians would be a troublesome and confusing business.

AshlynM's avatar

No. The way it is now makes sense.

Pinguidchance's avatar

I agree with RedDeerGuy, 11am should be followed by 12 am, quod erat demonstrandum.

As long as Doris Day has the sun in the morning and the moon at night.

Zaku's avatar

I think the existing system is prone to cause confusion because even if you understand that AM and PM are before and after midday, it doesn’t fit usual English usage for other types of numbers AND the numbering is annoying because of the 10am 11am 12pm business, which can’t be fixed by saying 12:00noon because 12:01 will still be post meridem. It’s also annoying because the first hour of each half of the day uses the number 12 – it’d work if we’d agree the first hour should be 0, so 11:59am would be followed by 0:00noon (or 0:00pm now makes sense) followed by 0:01pm. Or just use European/military time and go 0:00 through 23:59 and call it a day, with no a.m. or p.m. required.

LostInParadise's avatar

You have asked this before. It makes more sense to have 11 pm followed by 12 am than to have 12 pm followed by 12:01 am

Zissou's avatar

Strictly speaking, noon/midnight are temporal points*, and as such, have no duration. 12:00:01 PM is one second after midday.
Your clock, on the hand, will say 12:00 for an hour—from 12 to 1.
So it makes sense for 12 PM to refer to the first hour of the afternoon, not the last hour of the morning. Likewise mutatis mutandis for 12 AM.
(That is Q.E.D., bud.)

*Pace Billy Idol: “In the midnight hour . . .”

dappled_leaves's avatar

I agree with @RedDeerGuy1. 10 p.m… 11 p.m… 12 a.m… 1 a.m.

It feels like this system was designed by someone who can’t count.

ragingloli's avatar

Just use the 24 hour scale.

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LostInParadise's avatar

12:00 am is the start of the first hour of the day. Suppose that instead of 12, we used 0 for the start of the day. I am sure everyone would agree that the day would start at 0 a.m. and that noon would be at 0 pm. Now just substitute 12 for 0.

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