February 20, 2012

#03-013: Morning - Afternoon - Evening - Night

old woodcut of sun on left and moon on right, both with human faces
Day and Night

Note: Morning becomes afternoon at 12 noon, but the other periods of the day are a little more slippery. Learn the different ways of dividing them.

Get Ready: What is your favorite time of day? Why do you like it?

Roberto is looking at a poster in the Common Room of the dorm as Mark walks by.

Roberto: Hey, Mark. Can I ask you a quick question?

Mark: Sure!

Roberto: This poster says there's a hike this Saturday at "sunup." What time is that?

Mark: "Sunup" is the same as "sunrise." At this time of year in our latitude, that's about 6:30 a.m.

Roberto: Thanks. What about "sundown"?

Mark: Ah, that's also called "sunset," and it's about quarter to six these days.

Roberto: Got it. A few more questions?

Mark: Carry on!

Roberto: I know that "morning" is until 12 o'clock. But when does it start?

Mark: Technically, it starts at midnight. We sometimes call 1 or 2 a.m. "the wee hours of the morning."

Roberto: I see.

Mark: But most people just call it "night" until they go to bed, and "morning" after they wake up.

Roberto: That's what I do! Now, at 12:00 noon, morning becomes "afternoon," right?

Mark: Yes...

Roberto: But when does "afternoon" become "evening"?

Mark: Ooo, good one! The shortest answer is "I don't know."

Roberto: You don't?

Mark: Well, no one does, really, because it depends on a lot of things.

Roberto: Like what?

Mark: Well, if you're at work, it could be "the close of business." An office might answer the phone, "Good afternoon," until closing time, and "Good evening" (if at all) after that. Workers in a company might do the same, saying "Good evening" after they leave work.

Roberto: I see. What else could be the dividing line?

Mark: Some people might use the time when the sun goes down, and others might start saying "Good evening" after dinner.

Roberto: OK, got it. One more thing. When does "evening" become "night"?

Mark: You're killin' me, man!

Roberto: What? Sorry!

Mark: No, it's OK. It's just the same kind of answer. It all depends. But there's one thing you should know.

Roberto: What's that?

Mark: "Good evening" means "Hello," but "Good night" means "Goodbye."

Roberto: So at 8 p.m., I can say either one, depending on if we're meeting or parting?

Mark: Right.

Roberto: Caramba! I'll never learn English!


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. afternoon
  2. Caramba!
  3. carry on
  4. closing time
  5. the dividing line
  6. good evening
  7. good night
  8. evening
  9. good one
  10. if at all
  11. ...in our latitude
  12. morning
  13. night
  14. a quick question
  15. You're killin' me, man

  1. goodbye; a farewell.
  2. for most people, from getting up (or sunup) until noon.
  3. times of sunup and sundown (or sunrise and sunset) change with the time of year and the distance from the equator.
  4. indicates that some companies may not answer the phone after closing
  5. a time period with an uncertain beginning and end, but generally somewhere around sundown
  6. the separation between (in this case) afternoon and evening
  7. a Spanish exclamation of surprise or distress
  8. This is very difficult for me
  9. from noon until evening
  10. hello; a greeting
  11. in this case, a difficult question
  12. not really always a quick question, but one with a quick answer. In other words, an easy, or not too difficult, question.
  13. the time at which a company stops doing business
  14. the darkest time of day, lasting (at least) until midnight
  15. "Go on" or "Go ahead"

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for February 20, 2012

This lesson received 187 visits on my old site between February, 2012, and July, 2021.

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. i; 2. g; 3. o; 4. m; 5. f; 6. j; 7. a; 8. e; 9. k; 10. d; 11. c; 12. b; 13. n; 14. l; 15. h