Supper or Dinner?

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Supper or Dinner

Supper
9
11%
Dinner
50
60%
Both
22
26%
Other
3
4%
 
Total votes: 84

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KestrelLowing
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Supper or Dinner?

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:08 pm UTC

I've recently been made fun of for saying 'supper' instead of 'dinner'. So, I'm going to the interwebs to determine this once and for all - supper or dinner?

I think it would also be interesting if everyone said where they were from as well - see if it's a regional thing, or urban/rural thing.

I'm from Metro-Detroit originally, but my mom was from the west side of Michigan in a much more rural area, and I get a lot of my vocab from her, so that might have an impact. My mom always said that dinner was the big meal of the day, and before she went to school, that was at lunchtime, so the evening meal was supper.

I use both terms interchangeably, so I added an option for that, as well as an other for all the random things I've never heard of.

What about you?

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby AndrewT » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:21 pm UTC

To me "supper" sounds kind of "old" to me, in the sense that I remember hearing it mostly when I was young. That would be when I lived in Pittsburgh, but since then I've heard "dinner" pretty exclusively (Northern VA and Arkansas, although most of the people I talk to in Arkansas weren't born in the US, which probably makes a difference too).

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby themonk » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:36 pm UTC

Supper can mean both dinner and something after dinner for me. I would tend to use it more to talk about the after-dinnner, going to bed period.

Often my supper is a bowl of corn flakes/frosties.

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby EmilyR » Mon Apr 12, 2010 6:38 pm UTC

I'm a pleb, so "tea" or sometimes "dinner". "Supper" is a small post-evening-meal thnig you have before bed.

Ali's posh, so "supper" or sometimes "dinner". "Tea" for her is mid-afternoon, a sort of post-lunch version of brunch.

Michael's a posh pleb, so always just "dinner" :)

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby animeHrmIne » Mon Apr 12, 2010 10:21 pm UTC

I'm in the Ozarks right now, but my vocabulary is from all over, about evenly distributed: rural Ohio, Iowa, and southern Missouri, urban Indiana, Michigan, and Missouri.

I use them almost interchangeably, with dinner more frequently. Like above, I've always heard "dinner" as the big meal of the day, supper as the last. So, if your supper is the elaborate, filling one, it could also be called dinner (as ours usually is in my family). However, when I lived in the south, "dinner" was almost unanimously lunch, because lunch was the big meal of the day. "We have Sunday dinner at 2:00, and then supper at 6:30". So, I could go over to a friend's house, and have dinner there (lunch with her), and then go home and have dinner again (supper, for them).
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Forum Viking » Tue Apr 13, 2010 12:44 am UTC

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Wikipedia wrote:Supper:
Not to be confused with Dinner.
Not to be confused with Supper-time.
For the Smog album, see Supper (album).

Funny. Anyways,
Spoiler:
Supper is the name for the evening meal in some dialects of English - ordinarily the last meal of the day. Originally, in the middle ages, it referred to the lighter meal following dinner, which until the eighteenth century was invariably eaten as the midday meal.
The term is derived from the French souper, which is still used for this meal in Canadian French, Swiss French and sometimes in Belgian French. It is related to soup. It is also related to the German word for soup, Suppe. (The OED, however, suggests that the root, sup, retains obscure origins)[1]
[edit]Other meanings

In England, whereas "dinner", when used for the evening meal, is fairly formal, "supper" is used to describe a less formal, simpler family meal, but also the fairly formal variety in others. In working-class British homes, as in New Zealand and Ireland, "tea" is used for the evening meal. In parts of the United Kingdom, supper is a term for a snack eaten after the evening meal and before bed, usually consisting of a warm, milky drink and British biscuits or cereal, but can include sandwiches.
It is common for social interest and hobby clubs that meet in the evening after normal dinner hours to announce that "a light supper" will be served after the main business of the meeting. In New Zealand it is similar – generally cake and tea/coffee served later in the evening, particularly when people have visitors.
In most parts of Canada, "supper" and "dinner" are considered synonyms. In some areas either term may be rarely used. It is typically served between 6pm and 8pm. The only real requirement is it must be eaten after lunch.
In rural areas of the United States Upper Midwest dinner is a larger noon-time meal, and supper is a lighter evening meal and similar to eating customs in northern Europe where most of the inhabitants originate from. Supper is the last of three to five daily meals: breakfast, (morning lunch), dinner, (afternoon lunch or "coffee") and supper. The main meal is between 11.30am and 1pm. Supper is usually lighter and often consists of bread with cold meat, cheese, soup, salads, fried potatoes, egg dishes and / or dairy products. The decline of typical Midwestern farm culture and urbanization of American language and habits has led to a change in Midwestern eating habits in the past thirty years. Supper is still usually considered lighter fare and a more casual setting, and may be served before a usual dinner time so that evening activities may be unaffected.
In Saskatchewan, and much of Nova Scotia, in Canada, "supper" means the main meal of the day, usually served in the late afternoon, while "dinner" is served around noon. "Dinner" may be used in some areas, such as Newfoundland and Labrador, only for special meals, such as "Thanksgiving Dinner" or "Christmas Dinner", while the noon meal is "lunch" and the evening meal "supper". For harvest meals put on by churches and other community organizations, the term used is "Fowl Supper" (features turkey) or "Fall Supper", never "dinner".
In Ireland, a "chicken supper" is a meal of chips, gravy, onions, peas and chicken breast.
Similarly in Scotland and perhaps elsewhere in the United Kingdom, such as in Ulster Scots, a fish supper is a portion of fish and chips. The word is used also as a modifier in this way for a range of other similar meals, such as a "sausage supper", "pastie supper", "haggis supper" and indicates the addition of chips.
In Germany supper is called Abendessen (evening meal) or Abendbrot (evening bread). The main meal ("Mittagessen" or dinner) is usually at noontime. Supper is generally eaten between 5.30pm and 8.30pm. In Poland supper is called kolacja, the meal is usually taken from 6pm to 9pm. The main meal (obiad) is usually at afternoon. In Germany as in Poland a variety of breads and rolls are served at supper. Cold meats, sausages, various sorts of ham, cheese, pickles, tomatoes, and other sliced vegetables are served with the bread. Usually one drinks water, fruit juices, beer or an everyday wine with this meal. In Poland Christmas Eve's supper is taken at evening on 24th of December, and traditionally contains 12 dishes.
In Portugal, Spain, Latin America, Asia and the Arab World, supper may be taken as late as right before sleep.
In the Philippines, dinner, in contrast with supper, is taken past noon (4pm-7pm), hence termed "Hapunan" from "hapon" meaning "noon", it is usually the formal-heavy meal, while supper is usually taken night-time (8pm-10pm), likewise termed "Gabihan" from "gabi" meaning "evening or night", is usually a casual-light meal, before sleeping.
In Singapore, "dinner" refers to the first evening meal, while "supper" refers to the meal taken later in the evening after dinner, usually between 9PM and midnight.
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby eSOANEM » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:26 pm UTC

This is my view from a middle class family in South East England:

Supper is any evening meal.

Dinner is an important meal, normally an evening meal and often out, Sunday Roast counts as Dinner even though it is traditionally eaten at lunchtime. If Dinner is the evening meal it is usually later than Supper.

Tea is a corruption of high tea (see below).

High tea is the afternoon meal that is the last that the children in a family eat each day, it is used in some families to refer to supper although it is generally earlier.

Afternoon tea isn't a proper meal and involves drinking tea and eating sandwiches, scones, crumpets, cakes etc.



That said, Dinner is used by a lot of people to refer to what I call supper although then it is usually eaten at the same time as Supper instead of being later.
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby blue_eyedspacemonkey » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:33 pm UTC

West Midlands, UK (Not quite a Brummie, but close :P) moved to Wales for uni.
For me, it goes breakfast, dinner (occasionally lunch, but I call it dinner more often) and tea. Then supper if a snack is needed between tea and sleep, normally toast, or cheese and crackers.
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Sir Novelty Fashion » Tue Apr 13, 2010 1:52 pm UTC

I don't think there's anything wrong with either - they both are connected to (fairly archaic) verbs, and you can probably find examples of both going back at least to the 15th Century, if you can be bothered. If it indicates anything, in the UK it can indicate social status, although it seems to have flipped in use since Mitford. What it indicates outside the UK, I've no idea; personal preference?
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Kizyr » Tue Apr 13, 2010 2:40 pm UTC

I grew up saying supper. People looking at me funny over the last few years have gotten me to say dinner instead.

I still revert back to supper the same way I revert back to a Southern accent when I get tired or lazy. Last time I think I said "supper" was when I was in the hospital and wondering where the hell my food was supposed to be. KF
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Monika » Sun Apr 18, 2010 10:26 am UTC

KestrelLowing wrote:my mom was from the west side of Michigan in a much more rural area, and I get a lot of my vocab from her, so that might have an impact. My mom always said that dinner was the big meal of the day, and before she went to school, that was at lunchtime, so the evening meal was supper.

That seems to be the point.

When I was in high school in the US, in a city in the North East (Massachusetts), we read To Kill a Mockingbird, which, as you probably now, plays in a rural area, in the South, in the 1930s. There was a scene like this: The children go watch the court case. They go home for dinner. They go back to watching the court case. Our English teacher explained the scene like this: The children did not go home for the evening meal and the court case did not go on at night. Farmers work hard and eat their main meal, which is called dinner, at noon, or at least did so in the 1930s. So the children went home for the main meal / noon meal / dinner and then returned to watch the court case in the afternoon. So this whole thing points at:
- In rural areas the meals are breakfast (light meal) - dinner (noon; main meal) - supper (evening; light meal) and/or
- in the past the meals were breakfast (light meal) - dinner (noon; main meal) - supper (evening; light meal) and
- today, in urban areas, the meals are breakfast (light meal) - lunch (noon; light meal) - dinner (evening; main meal), and it is evidently unknown to today's city kids that either in rural areas or in the past dinner / the main meal could be at noon and there could be a light meal in the evening that can be called supper, so English teachers need to explain this to them. (But: > 50% of the students at my school were Puerto Ricans, so maybe she mostly explained this for their benefit. Some native English speaking students in the class also expressed surprise and disbelief though, IIRC.)

So, when I say what: While I was in the US I always said dinner for the evening meal, which was always the main meal. When I am in Germany and talk to English-speaking people, I say supper when I want to describe the light evening meal we eat (the main meal is typically eaten at noon in Germany).
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby jjono » Mon Apr 19, 2010 12:47 pm UTC

(Urban Australian)

I would always say dinner for the evening meal, and never use this word for any other meal (no matter how large or grand).

Having said that, I remember my grandparents sometimes saying supper for an evening meal. To me, this sounds very old-fashioned or 'English' (which are often perceived as the same thing in Australia).

I also remember that at school camps we would have a large dinner and then a smaller 'supper' in the evening, although this usage sounded odd to most of the kids. I think it was a leftover from earlier times, like many school camp traditions.

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby TheMelancholyJaques » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:20 pm UTC

Super supper!

Supper definitely makes me think of Chaucer, mainly because when we read the Franklin's Tale at school,that Franklin "was Epicurus owene sone" and 'wel loved he by the morwe a sope in wyn" and he generally seems to eat lots. Supperish indeed.

Methinks the true experts on this subject, however, must indeed be the Hobbits, for their suppers were indeed Suppers, with seed cake, and beer and most everything under their hobbit lawn roofs.

I completely understand this post is completely useless for debating the hot topic of dinner or supper, but let it suffice to say that I like them both. (I wanted to vote for "Supper" (a) because I want to go round declaring it's supper-time to everyone and (b) because I felt sorry for it. Alas, I did not out of the respect for the inherent honesty of the survey).
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Monika » Mon Apr 19, 2010 8:42 pm UTC

TheMelancholyJaques wrote:I completely understand this post is completely useless for debating the hot topic of dinner or supper

But it was funny anyway :D .

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby aurumelectrum13 » Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:54 am UTC

Metropolitan Texas. My Father occasionally uses supper, while his family uses supper constantly. My Mother's family uses dinner.

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby TheMelancholyJaques » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:17 pm UTC

Monika wrote:What does your sig mean by the way? Wolf in fairy tales?


Literally, yes. It's an idiom for "speak of the devil". I think it's in the sense that you can predict the entrance or character of a wolf in fairy tales easily, and I hastily presume Latin fairy tales are like ours today. I like it :)
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Monika » Wed Apr 21, 2010 10:12 pm UTC

That's a cool saying. I need to use "Lupus in fabula!" some time.
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby makkel » Mon Apr 26, 2010 12:11 am UTC

EmilyR wrote:I'm a pleb, so "tea" or sometimes "dinner". "Supper" is a small post-evening-meal thnig you have before bed.

Ali's posh, so "supper" or sometimes "dinner". "Tea" for her is mid-afternoon, a sort of post-lunch version of brunch.

Michael's a posh pleb, so always just "dinner" :)

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Cerry » Fri Apr 30, 2010 11:26 am UTC

Urban Australia, and supper, as far as I'm concerned, has always been the snack you have between your evening meal and bedtime. It's usually something like toast or crumpets with hot chocolate or herbal tea. Dinner is a big meal, which happens between lunch and supper, and may also be referred to as tea, depending on where you live (it was tea when I lived in Victoria, but since I came to New South Wales 9 years ago, I've started to call it dinner, cause people kept getting confused).
Last edited by Cerry on Mon May 03, 2010 12:00 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Monika » Fri Apr 30, 2010 4:55 pm UTC

You mean you stopped to call it tea?
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Cerry » Mon May 03, 2010 12:00 am UTC

Monika wrote:You mean you stopped to call it tea?

I think I was actually aiming for started to call it dinner..have fixed it now.

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Strange Quirk » Thu May 06, 2010 1:32 am UTC

As a second generation russian immigrant in the US, I have a "dinner" at around 3-4, and a "supper" around 8-9. That's how I was raised, at least; I don't know what the actual common schedule in russia is. This gets a bit screwed up with school and all, so I'm sort of reverting partially to the american schedule. I'm still always hungry after the 5-6ish american dinner, so I end up having a "supper" after that anyway, though.

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby sje46 » Sat May 08, 2010 6:00 am UTC

Dinner at college, supper at home. My friends look at me weird when I suggest we get supper. The two words don't really seem to have different connotations, although dinner sounds more formal. They're not at different times either...they're different words for the same thing (for me, that is). I grew up in Southern New Hampshire, parents from East and West Mass., most of my friends from my town call it dinner and look at me weird when I suggest we get supper (which is at a college cafetaria, not eating out at a restaurant or anything). Supper is infinitely more awesome than dinner, and I suggest you all start using it more. The meals over here go Breakfast (morning)--Lunch(noon)--supper/dinner (between 5 and 9), and Late Night (9-11....okay, only us college kids have this, haha.) And tea is a drink, not a meal. Silly cats.
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Monika » Sat May 08, 2010 8:18 pm UTC

sje46 wrote:And tea is a drink, not a meal.

Of course.

But the light meal with cake eaten at 3 p.m. is coffee.
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby aurumelectrum13 » Sun May 09, 2010 5:13 am UTC

Monika wrote:
sje46 wrote:And tea is a drink, not a meal.

Of course.

But the light meal with cake eaten at 3 p.m. is coffee.


Whoever has been having my light meal at three, whatever they call it, needs to stop and give me reparations.

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Lidwiz » Sun May 09, 2010 7:38 pm UTC

Dinner is the main/most formal meal of the day. Supper is an informal evening meal. When I was a kid, we always had Sunday dinner around three in the afternoon (which I always found to be a weird time for a meal), and then if anybody got hungry after that we could go in the kitchen and fix our own supper.

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Monika » Wed May 12, 2010 4:30 pm UTC

aurumelectrum13 wrote:
Monika wrote:
sje46 wrote:And tea is a drink, not a meal.

Of course.

But the light meal with cake eaten at 3 p.m. is coffee.


Whoever has been having my light meal at three, whatever they call it, needs to stop and give me reparations.

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby handiangel » Sun May 16, 2010 2:41 pm UTC

The tea/dinner/supper thing is often seen to show which class you come from, or which region. And this is applying to Britain...

Tea: eaten around half-six = working class, or working class origin
Dinner: eaten around 7 = lower-middle, middle-middle class
eaten around half 8, formal = upper-middle, upper class
eaten around 12pm = working class
Supper: early evening = upper-middle, upper class.

This is of course a generalisation... but still holds true in many cases.
I personally call the midday meal lunch, and the evening meal, dinner, occasionally tea, depending on who I'm around. However, without wanting to sound snobbish, I am probably upper-middle class. My usage probably sways towards the region I grew up in, than my class...

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Monika » Sun May 16, 2010 3:28 pm UTC

When you write half six, do you mean 5:30 or 6:30?
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby gmalivuk » Mon May 17, 2010 3:22 am UTC

6:30
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Monika » Mon May 17, 2010 9:01 am UTC

Isn't that called "half past six"?
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby jaap » Mon May 17, 2010 10:24 am UTC

Monika wrote:Isn't that called "half past six"?

Yes, in the UK "half six" is sometimes used colloquially as a shortened version of "half past six". This can be very confusing for German or Dutch speakers like you and me who are used to "half six" meaning half an hour before six. I quickly learned to mentally convert and remember such a time as "six thirty" so that I wouldn't accidentally be an hour early.

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby handiangel » Tue May 18, 2010 7:34 am UTC

Monika wrote:When you write half six, do you mean 5:30 or 6:30?


Yeah, half past 6, 6:30.

I had completely forgotten about that quirk of German/Dutch time-telling. It was something I had real difficulty getting my head around... :oops:

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Monika » Tue May 18, 2010 10:36 am UTC

Hey, when we learned English time telling in 5th grade and the teacher told us about this "half past" nonsense, we thought she must be kidding :P . Got it wrong all the time, too.

In Northern and Eastern Germany the problem is increased, as the times are told like this: 3:15 = quarter 4, 3:30 = half 4, 3:45 = three quarter 4.

But it makes a lot of sense, don't you think? :mrgreen:
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Bobber » Tue May 18, 2010 6:18 pm UTC

Just think of quarter four, half four and three quarter four as x TOWARDS 4 instead of x PAST four.
Half four = half towards four = 3:30.
(We have the half-x thing in Danish as well, but say "kvart i x" (quarter in x) for (x-1):45, and "kvart over x" (quarter over x) for x:15)
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Monika » Tue May 18, 2010 6:41 pm UTC

Bobber wrote:(We have the half-x thing in Danish as well, but say "kvart i x" (quarter in x) for (x-1):45, and "kvart over x" (quarter over x) for x:15)

That's how it's done in Southern and Western Germany, too.
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby handiangel » Tue May 18, 2010 7:51 pm UTC

Monika wrote:But it makes a lot of sense, don't you think? :mrgreen:


In a word, no. Lol! Confuses me a lot! Thankfully through most of my German lessons, we hardly ever had to tell time, and if we did, I think we did it 24h styley (cheated in other words lol).

Monika wrote:
Bobber wrote:(We have the half-x thing in Danish as well, but say "kvart i x" (quarter in x) for (x-1):45, and "kvart over x" (quarter over x) for x:15)

That's how it's done in Southern and Western Germany, too.


And this would confuse me even more! Lol... I have enough issues with maths without having to work out time with maths! ;)

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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby Bobber » Tue May 18, 2010 8:36 pm UTC

Monika wrote:
Bobber wrote:(We have the half-x thing in Danish as well, but say "kvart i x" (quarter in x) for (x-1):45, and "kvart over x" (quarter over x) for x:15)

That's how it's done in Southern and Western Germany, too.
Oh neat.
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby sje46 » Wed May 19, 2010 2:34 am UTC

I'm still confused about what people mean by "ten of five".
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Re: Supper or Dinner?

Postby eSOANEM » Wed May 19, 2010 6:56 am UTC

Bobber wrote:Just think of quarter four, half four and three quarter four as x TOWARDS 4 instead of x PAST four.
Half four = half towards four = 3:30.
(We have the half-x thing in Danish as well, but say "kvart i x" (quarter in x) for (x-1):45, and "kvart over x" (quarter over x) for x:15)


Over than half four that's the same as English then. kvart i x = quarter to x.

Anyway, we can has end to off-topic now? :P
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