English as a Second Language/Telling time

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Question
Hi Mr Cole,

If it's nine minutes past two i.e two oh nine, does it sound odd to native speakers if we say " It's two nine"?

Thanks.

Answer
Yes, it does sound odd.  I'm not sure why we native speakers decided to speak in this way, but the best way to think about this is with the use of a digital clock.  If you look at a digital clock, it would display "2:09".  In many cases (bus numbers, phone numbers, time, addresses), the word "oh" is used instead of "zero."  Therefore, looking at the digital clock, you would say two-oh-nine.

English as a Second Language

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Shannon Cole

Expertise

I can answer questions related to learning the English and Spanish language.

Experience

I have taught ESL and Spanish since 1998 at the university and middle school levels. I am a native of the U.S., and have taught in both the U.S. and Mexico.

Organizations
I am owner and operator of www.coleinstitute.com, an online language school.

Publications
Georgia TESOL in Action (1999)

Education/Credentials
B.A. in Spanish; M.Ed. in Language Education

Past/Present Clients
I have clients worldwide, some who want their documents proofread, and others who take lessons with me through the Internet. Some work at high-profile companies and government organizations. Besides the U.S. and Mexico, my recent students come from South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, Colombia, Russia, Italy, Paraguay, China, Japan, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.

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