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  1. #1
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    a.m. and p.m. <abbr>?

    Should I use tags to abbreviate a.m. and p.m.? It would seem like these are such common abbreviations that they are basically words and it would be unnecessary to use an abbreviation. However, I'm trying to be as semantic as possible. It seems that semantically it should be done.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    A.M and P.M are initialisations of acronyms, better associated with the <acronym> element in preference to <abbr> (as their not shorthand, their just an acronym of the Latin meaning). It should also be noted that abbr is being phased out in HTML5 due to confusion between what the difference is in the English language. So basically, the most semantically correct version to use would be acronym and not abbr in that particular case, but yes it's worth using!

    Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acronym...les_in_English

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    Resident curmudgeon bronze trophy gary.turner's Avatar
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    Alex, I think you got that backwards. It's acronym going in the toilet in favor of abbr. As you say, there is confusion among web authors. As all acronyms are abbreviations, but all abbreviations are not acronyms, I think it's just as well that acronym is deprecated in html5.

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Oh sorry, my mistake, I did get it backwards, I knew one of them was being flushed

    Either way in this case I would still use acronym while it exists because it's still the most semantically correct interpretation of AM and PM in HTML4/XHTML.

    PS: Gary - I'm not a fan of HTML5 in the slightest, It's nowhere near as well produced as XHTML2 was (I had a debate with the W3C over REV's deprecation).

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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    The disadvantage of acronym is that it isn't supported in Internet Explorer (i.e. the title attribute won't show as a tooltip).
    Christian Ankerstjerne
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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Now you're the one who's backwards Christian, IE doesn't support ABBR in old versions prior to V8, it supports ACRONYM perfectly fine

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    Robert Wellock silver trophybronze trophy xhtmlcoder's Avatar
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    Personally I'd use ABBR for the 'PM' and 'AM' if I were to choose between the two tags since usually ACRONYM is pronounced as a readable word. I wouldn't want to confuse it [AM] with "am" although obviously in the above example the old fashioned; 'a.m.' was used. In either case ABBR will be fine - ignoring browse bugs.

    It's getting like a tongue-twister. ;-)

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Actually if you're using that in the context of screen readers (being read out) there's a more semantic way to fix that... aural / speech stylesheets. You re-define the way it's pronounced by giving the ACRONYM a class value of "initial" and then place this in the appropriate CSS file with the @media aural type...

    Code CSS:
    abbr, acronym {
    	speak: normal;
    }
    .initial {
    	speak: spell-out;
    }

    No point destroying semantics when it's not necessary, ACRONYM is the correct semantic element for that particular usage.

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    Now you're the one who's backwards Christian, IE doesn't support ABBR in old versions prior to V8, it supports ACRONYM perfectly fine
    Details, details...
    Christian Ankerstjerne
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  10. #10
    Mouse catcher silver trophy Stevie D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yahn View Post
    Should I use tags to abbreviate a.m. and p.m.? It would seem like these are such common abbreviations that they are basically words and it would be unnecessary to use an abbreviation. However, I'm trying to be as semantic as possible. It seems that semantically it should be done.
    I would use the 24-hour clock
    If you're writing it as a.m. rather than am, I don't think there's any need to mark it as an abbreviation, in just the same way as you wouldn't mark the abbreviations in Mr Smith or St George. People know what a.m. means, but how many of them understand 'ante meridien'? The only advantage I can see would be to avoid 'am' being pronounced as the first person present tense of the verb 'to be' in a screen reader, but if you're using full stops between the letters that won't happen anyway.

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    ISO 8601 uses the 24-hour clock system.
    The Dutch generally don't understand a.m/p.m.

  12. #12
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevie D View Post
    I would use the 24-hour clock
    Not sure that is a good idea, plenty of people don't "get" the 24 hour clock, if you say 6PM, people know what time it is, 18:00 can be confusing to some people, you would be surprised how poor peoples comprehension of time is if they have low levels of conversion / math ability

    Quote Originally Posted by dogFang View Post
    The Dutch generally don't understand a.m/p.m.
    Do you have something to back that up? It seems rather odd that one country wouldn't understand what the rest of the world does.

  13. #13
    SQL Consultant gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by yahn View Post
    What do you think?
    i wouldn't bother

    i mean, where do you draw the line?

    Code:
    <p>It's four <abbr title="of the clock">o'clock</abbr></p>
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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    I usually do it when it's of genuine value to explain something that needs explaining (or to give context for screen readers).

    Not bothering with ABBR at all (if that's what you're implying Rudy) isn't a good policy though.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    Do you have something to back that up? It seems rather odd that one country wouldn't understand what the rest of the world does.
    I can back it up. A.m./p.m. is only used in the English speaking world (and some former British/US colonies, I'd assume). The rest of the world use ISO 8601-compliant time,

    You'd especially get some problems if you need to schedule something at eg. 12:30 a.m./p.m. A lot of those who do 'get' the a.m./p.m. system will just add 12 to the p.m. time, and will be confused when they come across 12:30 p.m. This will then be seen as 24:30, which would be understood as '30 minutes past midnight the following day'.

    It'd be better if the US and UK would just catch up with the rest of the world
    Christian Ankerstjerne
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    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  16. #16
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    Do your clocks show 24 hours on the hands then? Because if they only show 12 you're running on the same AM/PM as the rest of us (and I've never seen a clock that goes to 24). Not saying your backwards or anything but it seems rather strange to say that we're the only users of the AM/PM system.

  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Well, people around here usually know if it's nine in the morning or nine in the evening

    Also, in continental Europe, 'half six' means 05:30
    Christian Ankerstjerne
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    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

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    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    How is that possible? Since when in any language does 5 = 6?

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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    'Half six' in continental Europe is the short form of 'half way to six', in stead of 'half past six'.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  20. #20
    Follow: @AlexDawsonUK silver trophybronze trophy AlexDawson's Avatar
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    So how does it make that 5:30? That's not half way to six, half-way to six would be 3:00

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    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Half way to six from five, just like the 'half' in half past six is half way to seven
    Christian Ankerstjerne
    <p<strong<abbr/HTML/ 4 teh win</>
    <>In Soviet Russia, website codes you!

  22. #22
    It's all Geek to me silver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    No point destroying semantics when it's not necessary, ACRONYM is the correct semantic element for that particular usage.
    A.M. and P.M. are abbreviations, but not acronyms, so if anything I would use <abbr>. Mind you, as others have said, these are standard abbreviations that don't deserve extra markup.

    I'm glad to hear that HTML 5 will support <abbr>, as it covers more bases.

    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    in continental Europe, 'half six' means 05:30
    Hm, Alex stole my thunder. I was going to say that, in Australia, 'half six' is three.

  23. #23
    SQL Consultant gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    I usually do it when it's of genuine value to explain something that needs explaining (or to give context for screen readers).

    Not bothering with ABBR at all (if that's what you're implying Rudy) isn't a good policy though.
    then once again, my dear friend, we will have to agree to disagree

    and i resent how you're always telling me that what i'm doing isn't good policy

    i certainly agree that semantic markup is important, but in this case, a.m. and p.m. are so well known that adding ABBR to them is silly

    like somebody said, do it only "when it's of genuine value to explain something that needs explaining"
    rudy.ca | @rudydotca
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  24. #24
    Resident curmudgeon bronze trophy gary.turner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C. Ankerstjerne View Post
    []
    You'd especially get some problems if you need to schedule something at eg. 12:30 a.m./p.m. A lot of those who do 'get' the a.m./p.m. system will just add 12 to the p.m. time, and will be confused when they come across 12:30 p.m. This will then be seen as 24:30, which would be understood as '30 minutes past midnight the following day'.
    Then you're converting wrongly. The 12 isn't added until you reach 1pm, i.e.1300hrs. 12:30p.m. is equivalent to, um, 1230hrs. 12:30a.m. is 0030hrs or 2430hrs, the second of which I've not seen used.

    It'd be better if the US and UK would just catch up with the rest of the world
    So true.

    Quote Originally Posted by AlexDawson View Post
    Do your clocks show 24 hours on the hands then? Because if they only show 12 you're running on the same AM/PM as the rest of us (and I've never seen a clock that goes to 24).
    Hm, my analog wristwatch (an el cheapo from Walmart) has 24 hour markings. My first digital watch, from the 70s, and every one since, allowed the user to select a 12 or 24 hour display. For years, when I was an active ham radio operator, I had two 24hr clocks on the wall over my operating position; one set to GMT/Zulu time, the other set to local.

    Not saying your backwards or anything but it seems rather strange to say that we're the only users of the AM/PM system.
    My experience is we're in the minority, worldwide. In my personal world, almost everyone uses a.m./p.m.

    cheers,

    gary
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  25. #25
    SitePoint Wizard bronze trophy C. Ankerstjerne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gary.turner
    Then you're converting wrongly. The 12 isn't added until you reach 1pm, i.e.1300hrs. 12:30p.m. is equivalent to, um, 1230hrs. 12:30a.m. is 0030hrs or 2430hrs, the second of which I've not seen used.
    I know. But those who doesn't know this (which is the majority of the world's population) will almost always do it as I wrote down above. Usually, this won't matter much, as they'll be able to figure it out anyway (it's rare to meet with someone for lunch at 00:30 ), but for flight schedules etc. it'll be quite important.
    Christian Ankerstjerne
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