Why do Americans use AM and PM, there are 24 hours in a day, so why not use the (digital) 24 hour clock instead?

As a European I am always confused with all American terms that are sometimes difficult to convert, like F to C, and Inches to Meters, Ounces to Kilograms, Miles to Kilometers. (okay the last one I do know by head 1.6km = 1 mile.), but then also to 'foot' measurement. How much is actually a 'foot'? We have all different feet...

15 Answers

  • 1 month ago
    Best answer

    Majority of US uses 12 hour format, Days split AM and PM. Europe no different.

    The biggest confusion is time zones and a minority in both use coordinated universal time that is 24 hour , gets past all the clutter. I use that the most, but bus schedules, Business hours, Network broadcast times are listed in 12 hour local times.

    It all works, a matter of what you are used to.

    I have no problem between metric and SAE, I do find metric easier to work with, base 10 everything, probably why the scientific community standard, but I cut my teeth on SAE, so familiar with both.

    As for daylight savings, a wise native American said it best:

    "Only a fool could think one could cut the foot from a blanket,,sew it to the head,,and have a longer blanket"

    • Snowwie8881 month agoReport

      Thanks, of course despite my difficulty (especially with the C -> F conversion) I always try to adjust when speaking on an American board (using AM/PM a comma as a thousand separator, and a dot as a comma, but not so much with distances. For that I would still use Kilometers).

  • 1 month ago

    Steeped in history

    Besides, we only like to count to 12

    IMO we should go to a decimal (10 hour clock)

  • 1 month ago

    Every timepiece I own and everyone I do business with uses AM & PM. Even ex-military retirees revert to the old fashioned standard after they become civilians. There is little value in adopting a time-keeping standard that most people simply ignore.

  • Zirp
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    To confuse the hell out of foreigners. WTF is "12 AM" supposed to mean?

    Once upon a time I tried to catch a weekly swiss shortwave transmission in Esperanto, that was scheduled at some day as "03.15 UTC". I couldn't find it. Why not? Because it ACTUALLY went out that day at 27.15 UTC !

    • M.
      Lv 7
      1 month agoReport

      27:15 UTC??? What's that?
      UTC = GMT
      You know where GMT originates.
      We used GMT for international shortwave programming long ago. But there is nothing past 23:59 except 24:00 or 0:00!
      Not sure what you are referring to by 27:15

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  • 1 month ago

    Americans need to be different so as to identify that are Americans

  • 1 month ago

    Because military time would probably confuse most people. AM refers to daytime hours, PM refers to nighttime hours.

    • Snowwie8881 month agoReport

      AM is for me always a short for "After Midnight", so what are you talking about? They both cover both light and dark. 3AM is in the dark, but also 11PM is in the dark, while 11AM is in the light and 4PM also. I am so accustomed to 21:00 being 9:00PM. The addition of letters seems so unnecessary.

  • 1 month ago

    A foot = 30.48 cm

    A hand = 4 inches = 10.16 cm

    Hands are used in measuring the height of horses.

    • Snowwie8881 month agoReport

      I think the metric system is a lot easier. Compare it with computersystems. Kilobytes, Megabytes, Gigabytes (all increased by a factor of 1,000). Works the same with the meter and kilometer.

  • RR
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    UK uses am and pm too. However, we also use 24 hour clock.

    UK uses a mixture of metric and imperial measurements. Just because you find it difficult to convert them doesn't mean it's wrong to use them.

  • ted s
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    Do YOU know  the definition of a meter , a gram , Celcius degee, an hour....??...and a kilogram is a measure of MASS even though you likely think it is a measure of weight

    • Snowwie8881 month agoReport

      For the average Joe Doe it does not matter. He associates the meter or the mile to a certain distance he is known too. Same with the grams, kilograms and in the US used pounds and ounces. This is a cultural question, not a physics one.

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