Como falo em inglês: O ponteiro do relógio

By Ana | Podcast Inglês Online

Oct 13
Inglês Online O ponteiro do relógio

How have you been?

Hoje, no podcast, eu falo sobre algumas expressões com a palavra CLOCK, todas – como sempre – muito comuns entre os falantes nativos.


How have you been? You’re listening to the new episode of the Inglês Online podcast. Thank you for telling everyone you know about this podcast and, enjoy!

So today let’s talk a little bit about some vocabulary specific to clocks. Sure, ‘clock’ is a very basic word and one that English students learn in their first few lessons… I know. But there’s other stuff that is clock-related, and not talked about that often. So here we go: first of all, every non-digital clock has two hands. Two hands. There’s the hour hand, which is the little hand and it points to the hours. Then there’s the minute hand, which is the big hand, and it points to the minutes.

By now you now what we call the two hands of a clock in Portuguese. So, for example: if it’s three o’clock, the minute hand of a clock will be pointing to the number twelve, and the hour hand of the clock will be pointing to three. If it’s a quarter to eleven, the big hand, or minute hand, will be pointing to nine, and the little hand, or hour hand, will be pointing to the vicinity of number eleven – in fifteen minutes, it will be pointing exactly to eleven. So look to a wall clock near you: what time is it, and what numbers are the hands of the clock pointing to? Right now, for me, it’s almost noon. Almost 12PM. Ten minutes to noon, to be more precise. So the minute hand is pointing at the number ten, and the hour hand is pointing at twelve.

Alright – so, with that bit of business taken care of, let’s take a look at the terms clockwise and counterclockwise. When something is done clockwise, or when something happens clockwise, that means it happens in the direction that the hands of a clock move. Let’s say you’re with a bunch of people in a room doing some kind of group activity and the leader of the activity says “OK, now let’s all form a circle and start slowly moving clockwise round the room.” So now you have all formed a circle, and you and everyone else then took a step to the left and started moving in the same direction the hands of a clock rotate. If you’re having trouble picturing what I’m saying, just imagine a clock on the floor, and then imagine the group formed a circle around that clock. Now imagine the direction in which the minute hand of that clock would move as time passes – so when the group moves clockwise, they’ll be going in the same direction of the movement of the minute hand.

I’m sure it won’t be hard for you to understand what counterclockwise means. Yep, that’s the direction that is opposite to the rotating hands of a clock. So if you’re with the same group in a room and the activity leader says “Ok, so let’s now move counterclockwise round the room” you would all take a step to the right and start moving in the opposite direction to the rotation of the hands of a clock.

So before we wrap up, here’s one other idiom that is very, very common: round the clock, meaning non-stop, day and night, continuously. Sometimes people work on something round the clock – for example, when a deadline is approaching. Or when someone is being watched by the police – the police will have them watched round the clock.

So look at a clock right now – what numbers are the hands pointing to? Let me know and talk to you next time!

Key expressions

  • big hand / hour hand
  • little hand / minute hand
  • clockwise, counterclockwise
  • round the clock


with that bit of business taken care of = com isso resolvido, com essa parte esclarecida (não precisa ser a respeito de “negócios” necessariamente)

Rômulo Melo 14/10/2017

Hi, Ana Luiza !!! I am in my kitchen now, looking at the clock on the wall. Its little hand is pointed at number nine and the big hand is pointed at number twelve. Tonight, at midnight, here in Brazil, we most advance ours clocks by one hour. We are starting the DST. Is that all right ?

    Ana 15/10/2017

    That was great, Rômulo :-) Good job – we’re having daylight savings time here in my neck of the woods as well!

      Rômulo Melo 15/10/2017

      “In my neck of the woods“ ??????
      That was a tough one!!!
      Could you please tell me what it means?

      Ana 16/10/2017

      “aqui por onde eu estou”

      Rômulo Melo 16/10/2017

      Thank you, Ana Luiza!!! Everything seems to be easier, when you teach!!!

      Ana 12/11/2017

      Awesome :-)

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