Grammar Grappler #31: Really, Mom, I Was Out Studying Until 3 a.m., in the Morning

This has been a crowd favorite, so to speak. So many of you have shared examples of how often you hear people say, “I have to leave for the airport at 4 a.m., in the morning.”

Or, “We stayed up studying until 2 a.m., in the morning.”

Please report to the Redundancy Department of Redundancy immediately.

The abbreviation a.m., represents ante meridiem, which means “before noon.” When you say “2 a.m., in the morning,” you are actually saying “2:00 before noon in the morning.” 

Simply say 2 a.m., or whatever time it is. The same holds true for p.m., which is the abbreviation for post meridiem, meaning “after noon” or “after midday.”

Other frequently asked questions:

Question: Is it a.m., or A.M?

Answer: It’s lowercase. It’s not A.M. Always write it as a.m.


Question: Do you put two periods after it when the time falls at the end of the sentence?

Answer: No. It’s not a.m.. It’s a.m.


Question: Do you need periods at all? 

Answer: Sometimes you see people write it as 2 AM or 2 am. Those are incorrect examples. Because it is the abbreviation (not an acronym) for ante meridiem, the appropriate representation is lowercase with periods: 2 a.m.

So now you can go to bed before midnight.


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Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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