PDA

View Full Version : Ambiguity Poll: What does "Saturday at midnight" mean to you?


Jragon
01-15-2009, 03:13 PM
I'd think this would be pretty straight forward but there seem to be two common interpretations:

12AM on Saturday, that is to say 00:00 Saturday, 1 hour past 11:00PM/23:00 on Friday.
OR
12AM on SUNDAY, 24:00 on Saturday/00:00 on Sunday (concurrently), or 1 hour past 11:00Pm/23:00 on Saturday.

I'm in the first camp, but between all the people I know it seems split 50/50, leaving the construction of "midnight" entirely useless.

When someone says "Saturday" (or whatever day) "at midnight" what springs to mind first? The midnight occurring Saturday night or Saturday morning?

running coach
01-15-2009, 03:18 PM
I take it to mean you've lived through Saturday, it's now midnight going into Sunday.

Omega Glory
01-15-2009, 03:21 PM
I agree with runner pat.

askeptic
01-15-2009, 03:23 PM
Midnight on Saturday means half way between noon on Saturday and noon on Sunday, to me. The other way is silly, how could midnight saturday come before Saturday morning cartoons?

Bumbershoot
01-15-2009, 03:25 PM
To me, it means midnight Saturday night going into Sunday. As far as I'm concerned, it's not Sunday until I get up the next morning.

Freudian Slit
01-15-2009, 03:27 PM
I think it's the first option, 12AM on Saturday, that is to say 00:00 Saturday, 1 hour past 11:00PM/23:00 on Friday. Though the more I think about it, the more weird it feels.

Anyway, I guess the best way around this is to have the event begin at 11:59 pm on Friday. (Or on Saturday, if that's what you mean.) That way everyone knows which night it is.

Typo Negative
01-15-2009, 03:30 PM
12AM on SUNDAY, 24:00 on Saturday/00:00 on Sunday (concurrently), or 1 hour past 11:00Pm/23:00 on Saturday.

This one.

stargazer
01-15-2009, 04:07 PM
I would automatically assume Saturday-night-going-into-Sunday-morning, but if someone wanted me to be somewhere at that time, I would double-check with them.

Then I would probably tell them that, no, I can't be there, because I plan to be asleep at that time...

ouryL
01-15-2009, 04:12 PM
In America, Saturday night follows Saturday afternoon, Saturday afternoon, itself, follows Saturday morning.
Sunday morning follows Saturday midnight.

Hari Seldon
01-15-2009, 04:21 PM
I don't know the answer (totally ambiguous IMHO) but let me recount a story that was recently in the ndws up here in the frozen north. The Ontario Teachers' Federation was about to buy Bell Canada or a large piece thereof. (Why they would buy into a sunset business is beyond my ken.) The intent to purchase had a clause in it that said that Bell's accountant had to provide certain financial assurances by 12:00 AM on a certain date. For the sake of argument, let's say Dec. 15. It was a date in December at any rate. So at 11:59 PM on Dec. 14, the Teachers notified Bell that, the assurances not having been received, they were withdrawing their offer. Bell replied that they jumped the gun by 24 hours and were going to be sued for several billion dollars.

I don't think the suit has yet been filed and since the accountant had already refused to give those assurances, it doesn't seem to me that Bell has much of a case. But even lawyers can be so careless as to not specify the date unambiguously.

Dewey Finn
01-15-2009, 04:26 PM
Regarding the ambiguity of 12am and 12pm, I remember that Johnny Carson once had as a guest a guy who received a parking ticket because the meter said something like no parking from 7am-12pm and he assumed noon was meant. Carson actually called someone at the observatory in Greenwich, who confirmed that 12am and 12pm were ambiguous and to be avoided.

Dewey Finn
01-15-2009, 04:31 PM
And to answer the question, I would assume that immediately after 11:59:59pm on Saturday is what is meant.

Contrapuntal
01-15-2009, 04:31 PM
This one.Agreed.

To add : I used to manage bars the had bands that didn't start until midnight. We advertised those bands as playing Saturday night.

samm
01-15-2009, 04:33 PM
I agree with everyone else. Saturday midnight would occur one minute after Saturday at 11:59 PM.

Contrapuntal
01-15-2009, 04:45 PM
I'm in the first camp, but between all the people I know it seems split 50/50, leaving the construction of "midnight" entirely useless.
The problem is that "day" can have two meanings. The first is "daylight hours" and the second is "the 24 hour period corresponding to a particular date." If someone were to tell me "I'll get in town tonight, just after midnight," it would be clear to me that he is referring to a time that occurs sometime before the sun comes up again. So "midnight" tonight is not a useless concept at all.

KSO
01-15-2009, 04:54 PM
Saturday night into Sunday morning.

Sunspace
01-15-2009, 05:11 PM
This is why the 24-hour clock has two ways of writing 'midnight': 00:00 and 24:00.

If it's midnight 00:00, it's the midnight that starts the calendar day in in question. If it's 24:00, it's the midnight that ends the calendar day in in question. Thus, 00:00 on December 15th comes before 9:00, noon, and 17:00 on December 15th, and they all come before 24:00 on December 15th.

beowulff
01-15-2009, 05:56 PM
This is why the 24-hour clock has two ways of writing 'midnight': 00:00 and 24:00.

If it's midnight 00:00, it's the midnight that starts the calendar day in in question. If it's 24:00, it's the midnight that ends the calendar day in in question. Thus, 00:00 on December 15th comes before 9:00, noon, and 17:00 on December 15th, and they all come before 24:00 on December 15th.

Only because of sloppiness.
There is NO 24:00 on a 24-hour clock. The day runs from 00:00:00 to 23:59:59...

By the same token, on a 12 hour clock, Midnight on Saturday is defined as the instant that starts Saturday, i.e- just after 11:59:59pm on Friday. There is only one 12:00:00am per day. Unfortunately, common usage has made this ambiguous, and I myself would assume that Midnight on Saturday should be taken at 12:00am Sunday morning. As mentioned above, it's always best to be explicit.

Kyla
01-15-2009, 06:14 PM
Saturday at midnight is the moment before Sunday starts.

I had a paper due at Tuesday at midnight earlier this week (to be turned in online). I had a moment of confusion, too, but eventually decided that it was due at almost-Wednesday. I got it back today (got an A!) and the professor didn't say anything about a problem, so I guess I got it right.

elfkin477
01-15-2009, 06:37 PM
And to answer the question, I would assume that immediately after 11:59:59pm on Saturday is what is meant. Exactly. I'm shocked that 50% of the people the OP knows think otherwise.

Elyanna
01-15-2009, 06:38 PM
I had a paper due at Tuesday at midnight earlier this week (to be turned in online). I had a moment of confusion, too, but eventually decided that it was due at almost-Wednesday. I got it back today (got an A!) and the professor didn't say anything about a problem, so I guess I got it right.


I had a professor last quarter that had every paper due at a midnight. Someone asked, every time, which midnight she meant.

Saturday midnight comes before Sunday morning.

panache45
01-15-2009, 06:41 PM
It's the midnight separating Saturday from Sunday.

beowulff
01-15-2009, 06:45 PM
From Wikipedia:
The use of "12:00 midnight" or "midnight" is still problematic because it does not distinguish between the midnight at the start of a particular day and the midnight at its end. To avoid confusion and error, some U.S. style guides recommend either clarifying "midnight" with other context clues, or not referring to midnight at all. For an example of the latter method, "midnight" is replaced with "11:59 p.m." for the end of a day or "12:01 a.m." for the start of the next day. That has become common in the United States in legal contracts and for airplane, bus, or train schedules, though some schedules use other conventions.
The 24-hour clock notation avoids all of those ambiguities by using 00:00 for midnight at the start of the day and 12:00 for noon. From 23:59:59 the time shifts (one second later) to 00:00:00, the beginning of the next day. Some variants of 24-hour notation (including the world standard ISO 8601) use 24:00 when referring to a midnight at the end of a day.

Eyebrows 0f Doom
01-15-2009, 07:25 PM
Saturday at midnight means late Saturday night before Sunday morning.

Little Plastic Ninja
01-15-2009, 07:35 PM
Saturday midnight usually means just before Sunday morning, but I always ask to make sure. I have been burned before.

Chimera
01-15-2009, 07:38 PM
It's the midnight separating Saturday from Sunday.

Bingo.

I think of it this way: Night = Late in the Day. Morning = Early in the Day.

So if you said "Midnight Saturday night", it's Saturday at Midnight, or the same as saying "Midnight Sunday morning".

To take that a step further, if you said "2am Saturday night", I'd know that you were actually talking about "2am Sunday morning", but having been up continuously to that point, you still tend to think of it as "Saturday", because it's all the same day so far.

seodoa
01-15-2009, 07:54 PM
I've seen some train schedules here skirt this confusion by using 24:00. Some even go further than that: If the last train on Saturday leaves at 01:24 on Sunday, they write that the train leaves at 25:24! :confused:

Like this (http://ekikara.jp/newdata/ekijikoku/2701092/up1_15216011.htm) one.

Merejane
01-15-2009, 07:57 PM
I agree with Saturday night into Sunday morning.

The way I think of it is, when I was a teenager and had a midnight curfew -- so that my parents would say "Make sure you're home by midnight!" as I was walking out the door sometime Saturday evening -- they weren't talking about earlier that day! But that really just means that their conception of midnight and mine are the same, which isn't surprising. But still -- I would have thought most people think of it that way.

beowulff
01-15-2009, 08:31 PM
I agree with Saturday night into Sunday morning.

The way I think of it is, when I was a teenager and had a midnight curfew -- so that my parents would say "Make sure you're home by midnight!" as I was walking out the door sometime Saturday evening -- they weren't talking about earlier that day! But that really just means that their conception of midnight and mine are the same, which isn't surprising. But still -- I would have thought most people think of it that way.

Yes, but "By Midnight" isn't very ambiguous...

Bijou Drains
01-15-2009, 08:34 PM
I say Sat. night too.

BTW, I remember the guy on Carson with parking ticket. I wonder what happened with that.

5-HT
01-15-2009, 08:35 PM
It would mean 12:00am Sunday to me, I would be shocked if someone meant Friday Night/Saturday Morning.

Cervaise
01-15-2009, 08:53 PM
Depends. If I'm talking to people, it means the joining point between Saturday night and Sunday morning, as most responders here have said. But if I'm doing something computer-related, the reference could very well mean 12am Saturday, i.e. the joining point between Friday night and Saturday morning, so I would need to double-check.

Sunspace
01-15-2009, 09:03 PM
Only because of sloppiness.
There is NO 24:00 on a 24-hour clock. The day runs from 00:00:00 to 23:59:59...Your reference does indeed say that there can be a 24:00 on a 24-hour clock. I agree that it's not usually necessary (Saturday 24:00 is the same instant as Sunday 00:00); but, as other posters have mentioned, when discussing things that extend an hour or so past midnight and then end for the night, using 24:00 and even things like 24:15 can be useful.

runcible spoon
01-16-2009, 02:26 AM
Saturday MIDNIGHT is the MIDdle of Saturday NIGHT, to me.

Nava
01-16-2009, 04:47 AM
The second option.

Saturday night is the night *after* saturday day. Saturday midnight is the midnight *after* saturday day.

The hours between friday midnight and saturday's dawn are saturday wee hours.

madmonk28
01-16-2009, 05:01 AM
The second option. If someone said Saturday Midnight, it would mean one minute after 11:59 pm, Saturday.

Gangster Octopus
01-16-2009, 02:24 PM
The second option. If someone said Saturday Midnight, it would mean one minute after 11:59 pm, Saturday.

Exactly, and I think it is obvious why folks feel that way..midnight, Staurday night corresponds to Saturday midnight, otherwise it woudl corresponding to Saturday morning which seems counter-intuive.

Winston Smith
01-16-2009, 02:29 PM
"Midnight on Saturday" = time to "rotate the tires"

Freudian Slit
01-16-2009, 02:38 PM
Damn, Jragon, looks like you and me are in the minority. Though the more I think about it, the more I'm starting to feel intuitively like Saturday midnight should be a Saturday night thing. Hmm.

pravnik
01-16-2009, 02:39 PM
I don't know the answer (totally ambiguous IMHO) but let me recount a story that was recently in the ndws up here in the frozen north. The Ontario Teachers' Federation was about to buy Bell Canada or a large piece thereof. (Why they would buy into a sunset business is beyond my ken.) The intent to purchase had a clause in it that said that Bell's accountant had to provide certain financial assurances by 12:00 AM on a certain date. For the sake of argument, let's say Dec. 15. It was a date in December at any rate. So at 11:59 PM on Dec. 14, the Teachers notified Bell that, the assurances not having been received, they were withdrawing their offer. Bell replied that they jumped the gun by 24 hours and were going to be sued for several billion dollars.
I had a similar case, but criminal. A defendant had gotten back together with a girlfriend who had a protective order against him, but then they both got drunk and got in an argument, and she called the cops on him. The protective order was set to expire at 12:00 am on that date, so the cops arrested him, thinking it was still in force until midnight that evening. The guy had a pretty good record and the DA's offer was pretty stiff, so I asked for a bench trial, knowing that the judge travels a lot and knows that there's a very good reason why planes take off at 12:01 pm and 11:59 am, and why the Texas DPS absolutely will not issue an occupational license with 12:00 pm or am on it. The DA was mystified because he thought it was an open and shut case, but he made a sweetheart offer the day before trial that my guy felt like he couldn't afford to turn down. I told the DA afterwards why I'd set it for trial and how disappointed I was; I was really looking forward to cross-examining the arresting officers about exactly when 12:00 pm and 12:00 am were. :D

A multi-billion dollar claim, though? Yikes. All those highly paid lawyers and executives, and not one copped to the fact that 12:00 pm and am should be avoided in legal documents like the plague!

Jelymag
01-16-2009, 02:59 PM
If I hear "midnight on Saturday" then I agree with most others here, i.e. the second choice put forth in the OP. But if I hear "12 AM on Saturday," then that clearly means the other choice to me. I think it is because, while strict definition of "midnight" = "12 AM," the phrase "midnight" to me means middle of the night which began on Saturday.

If I am out at a bar at 1:00 AM on Sunday, and am telling people about it later, I say "I had a great time Saturday night." To say "I had a great time at this bar on Sunday morning," would sound very unusual to me. YMMV.

beowulff
01-16-2009, 03:05 PM
This whole question has about the same clarity as saying "we've decided to push the meeting time up by two hours."

Corner Case
01-16-2009, 03:13 PM
I making a few assumptions here but - Bell Canada is headquartered in Montreal, Quebec. This is approximately the same longitude as Danbury, Connecticut. According to the Navy's Astronomical Applications Department (http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.php), on December 15, 2008, sunset was at 4:25pm and on December 16, 2008, sunrise was at 7:14am. This makes midnight on December 15, 2008 actually at 11:49:30. :D

Now, consider it's Monday and someone says, "I'm having a party next Saturday. Wanna come?" Do you think they mean the Saturday that is occurring in 5 days or the one that will occur in 12 days? I think this Saturday is the one coming up and next Saturday is the one after.

I think this (or that) is why I don't get invited parties. :p

Erasmus Darwin
01-16-2009, 04:08 PM
11:59:58 PM Friday
11:59:59 PM Friday
12:00:00 AM Saturday <-- Midnight, technically Saturday
12:00:01 AM Saturday
12:00:02 AM Saturday
...
11:59:58 AM Saturday
11:59:59 AM Saturday
12:00:00 PM Saturday <-- Noon
12:00:01 PM Saturday
12:00:02 PM Saturday
...
11:59:58 PM Saturday
11:59:59 PM Saturday
12:00:00 AM Sunday <-- Midnight, technically Sunday
12:00:01 AM Sunday
12:00:02 AM Sunday

This clearly points to the first usage. That being said, I'm more than willing to recognize that conventional usage of "Saturday at Midnight" generally implies "Saturday [night] at Midnight", which is the second usage back in the original post. Personally, I tend to include "night" or "morning" to clarify -- even "Saturday night at 3 am" is recognizable as what's technically Sunday morning.

That being said, I'm flabbergasted at the people who're acting as if there's no rational basis for the first, technically correct interpretation. Furthermore, I'm even more shocked that documents specifying the time as "12:00:00 AM" could be interpreted in any manner other than the first way. Anyone with a digital watch that includes the date (or a computer) can easily see that "12:00:00 AM" is the first second of the new day -- at the same time that it rolls around from 11:59 to 12:00, it also rolls over from PM to AM and changes the date, just as I enumerated at the beginning of this post.

Cervaise
01-16-2009, 04:36 PM
Per my post, "it depends," based on context.

matt_mcl
01-16-2009, 04:40 PM
I would never say "Saturday at midnight."

Informally, I would say "Midnight Saturday night," meaning the midnight between Saturday and Sunday. I would also say "1 a.m. Saturday night," meaning the same night, or more probably "Saturday night at 1 a.m." Saturday night is unambiguously the night that concludes Saturday.

If I wished to be completely unambiguous I would of course say "midnight on the night between Saturday and Sunday." This construction is fairly common in French: la nuit de samedi dimanche.

matt_mcl
01-16-2009, 04:42 PM
Now, consider it's Monday and someone says, "I'm having a party next Saturday. Wanna come?" Do you think they mean the Saturday that is occurring in 5 days or the one that will occur in 12 days? I think this Saturday is the one coming up and next Saturday is the one after.

I think this (or that) is why I don't get invited parties. :p

We've done this before, and it's why I don't say "next Saturday" either. I say "this coming Saturday" or "a week from Saturday" depending on the case. (British English has the expression "Saturday week" meaning a week from this coming Saturday.

TWDuke
01-16-2009, 04:53 PM
Colloquially, "Saturday at midnight" means Saturday night, and Saturday night follows Saturday day. If I go out on Saturday and am still out at 3 a.m., it's still Saturday night.

In any kind of official documentation, I'd say "Saturday at midnight" is too ambiguous without further clarification.Now, consider it's Monday and someone says, "I'm having a party next Saturday. Wanna come?" Do you think they mean the Saturday that is occurring in 5 days or the one that will occur in 12 days? I think this Saturday is the one coming up and next Saturday is the one after.There's an even simpler term for the Saturday five days from now: "Saturday."I think this (or that) is why I don't get invited parties. :pOr it could be because you keep sticking out your tongue at people.

robardin
01-16-2009, 05:03 PM
"Saturday at midnight" means it's Saturday night, and it just turned midnight. Day comes before night for a normal person's schedule, so it must mean 6 hours past 6pm on Saturday night. In other words, midnight is something you stay up for, not something you kick off with, unless you're some kind of oversleeping vampire.

I would never say "Saturday at midnight."

Informally, I would say "Midnight Saturday night," meaning the midnight between Saturday and Sunday.

Exactly! "Midnight Saturday night" has an implied comma ("Midnight, Saturday night") which makes it unambiguous. I would take "Saturday at midnight" to mean the same thing, and "Saturday 00:00" (pronounced "oh-hundred" or more simply, "the zero hour") to mean "Saturday just as Friday ended".

gigi
01-16-2009, 05:07 PM
Saturday at midnight is the moment before Sunday starts.

I had a paper due at Tuesday at midnight earlier this week (to be turned in online). I had a moment of confusion, too, but eventually decided that it was due at almost-Wednesday. I got it back today (got an A!) and the professor didn't say anything about a problem, so I guess I got it right.

It would have been an A++ if it hadn't been late. ;)

And yeah, Saturday midnight means Saturday night at 12 (just before Sunday).

Mariemarie
01-16-2009, 05:15 PM
To me, "Saturday at midnight" means the same time as "Sunday 12:00 AM".

Chessic Sense
01-16-2009, 07:00 PM
Now, consider it's Monday and someone says, "I'm having a party next Saturday. Wanna come?" Do you think they mean the Saturday that is occurring in 5 days or the one that will occur in 12 days? I think this Saturday is the one coming up and next Saturday is the one after.

I think this (or that) is why I don't get invited parties. :p

It depends on how far away the Saturday is. If it's only Monday, then I assume they mean 5 days later. If it's Friday, then it must be 8 days later. "This" means "a couple days" and "the ___ after next" means "a couple days +7". Without the context, I'd default to it being the very next occurence, since "the __ after next" is never meant to mean 2.5 weeks away.

"Saturday at midnight" means it's Saturday night, and it just turned midnight. Day comes before night for a normal person's schedule, so it must mean 6 hours past 6pm on Saturday night. In other words, midnight is something you stay up for, not something you kick off with, unless you're some kind of oversleeping vampire.

Or in the military. Right now, I've got orders to do something at 00:00 on a certain day. I know exactly what that means- a minute later, it'll be the same day. In events where a day means something (like a club outing), Saturday midnight follows the rest of Saturday night. In a context where it happens 24 hours (shift work), Saturday midnight defaults to a part of Saturday morning, but it's terrible etiquette.

Best Topics: 2x4x8 cedar lowes tonic drinks ng pronounce bleach dollar bill is cashmere itchy green cap milk houston m4m vig loan walgreens detox drink nixon howl nudist males wellness check police cyst removal kit wilhelm scream copyright smoke peanut shells toutes translation define froggy scully's dog lowes cheesecloth cattle rustling laws yamaka with curls smokers smell cheapest construction methods the doctor's rules menthol cigarettes prices playoffs pool clipper oil substitute best krumblor basil exposition joke arab headwear useable graph selling personal information laws currency exchange cash check fees weed eater leg protectors words that rhyme with members what watch do navy seals actually wear triple lindy real dive dog anus red swollen largest open world game map how far does sound travel how long will dry ice last in a freezer long sleeve shirts under short sleeve shirts zip codes starting with 0 no fortune in fortune cookie superstition producing a smell to attract flies is an example of kate mulgrew jeri ryan walk like a camel video how hot does water need to be to sterilize space ghost coast to coast interview process window fans blow in or out 2008 f250 fuse box diagram 100 watt hps lumens good d&d riddles autocrat coffee syrup caffeine content how long to charge a car battery colder than a sayings do bulls have udders amazon delivery attempted - business closed how do you know when the stomach flu is gone how long does it take to get addicted to nicotine pip pip cheerio meaning