example-image image source: piermanparis

MOTIVATION

에펠탑은 매 정시마다 반짝이는 것으로 유명하다. 그런데 “매 정시”를 영어로 어떻게 표현할까? on the hour 라고 표현할 수도 있지만, 좀 더 비주얼하게 표현할 수 있다. “Eiffel tower twinkle will resume at the top of the hour.”

DEFINITION

  1. at the exact beginning of an hour. (Alludes to the big hand on a clock pointing to the 12.) Often heard on television or the radio.
  2. At every hour exactly; one o’clock, two o’clock, and so on

COMMENT

시침이 위를 가르키는 형상에서, 매 정시를 at the top of the hour라고 표현하는 것이다. 비슷한 형상으로 매 30분은 at the bottom of the hour이라고 표현한다.

FROM MOVIES

  • We’ll bring you more details as we get them, and we’ll also have a live report at the top of the hour. (Life Or Something Like It)
  • That story leads our headlines at the top of the hour. (Knowing)
  • This is WJRC News at the top of the hour (House of 1000 Corpses )
  • Details at the top of the hour. (Simone )
  • If you’re gonna shut off the power, do it at the top of the hour. (The Middle)

FROM NEWS

  • At the top of the hour I switch on the TV, expecting to find the BBC’s hourly newscast. (Economist)
  • Flights depart at the top of the hour beginning at 7 a.m. (Bloomberg)
  • A fellow student raised his hand and offered that classes ended at the top of the hour and began at 10 minutes past, so that students could make it from one course to the next. (NYT)
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FROM TWITTER

  • At the top of the hour … you could hear a pin drop, and wild applause.
  • The “HitMan” Kam Chancellor is coming back. Was not an easy decision. I’ll explain at the top of the hour on @FirstTake.
  • A big Subway Series is coming up at the top of the hour. Should be fun.

META & CONTEXT

  • Is it a slang? No.
  • Can I use it in an email? Yes.
  • Can I use it in a formal setting? I wouldn’t. Look at the chart below
  • Frequency? 뉴스나 라디오에서 앵커들이 자주 쓴다.

context plot data source: Davies, Mark. (2008-) The Corpus of Contemporary American English: 450 million words, 1990-present. Available online at http://corpus.byu.edu/coca/

PHRASE HISTORY

90년대부터 자주 쓰이기 시작한 표현이다. top of the hour가 쓰이니까, 사람들이 bottom of the hour도 쓰기 시작한 것 같다. ngram_img image source: Google Ngram

TYPICAL MISTAKES

  1. 그냥 top이 아니라, 시침이 가리키는 top이라 THE가 붙는다
  2. We’ll be back at top of the hour. (X)
  3. We’ll be back at THE top of the hour. (O)
  4. hour에도 the 가 붙는다. “더 아워”가 아니라 “디 아워”로 발음한다는 것도 까먹지말자
  5. We’ll be back at the top of hour. (X)
  6. We’ll be back at the top of THE hour. (O)
  7. 마지막으로 전치사는 at이라는 것을 기억하자
  8. We’ll be back on the top of hour. (X)
  9. We’ll be back AT the top of the hour. (O)