In one of the 6th grade classes last week, it talked about time difference and time expressions. When it came to telling the different expressions of day and night time, we touched on am and pm.
We use am and pm every day to tell whether it is day or night time, but the way that it is expressed in the east seems quite different and it is one of the most common errors I have ever seen in my professional life. 9 times out of 10, I will see am/ pm put before the time. Say, 8o’clock at night, they put it pm 8, which is really annoying to me.
Because this error is way too prevalent and seems to be so commonly accepted, as a teacher, I thought I had the responsibility to clarify it at that moment. So I told the students the ads in various media are wrong because they put am / pm before the time, though it can be seen everywhere every day. But, Japanese homeroom teacher defended for this immediately. She told the students that there are two ways to use am and pm, putting am/pm after the time is western and the other way is Japanese. This is one of the biggest jokes I have ever heard of. Yet I have never ever seen any native speakers putting it that way.
Anyway, what gets me really upset is that as a teacher, she rather let the students learn the wrong thing than admit this is wrong to put am/ pm before the time! No wonder Japanese people score one of the lowest in public English testings such as IELTS, TOEFL, even after having introduced native English teachers into their classrooms for 20 years or so! I guess the prospect that Japanese people will speak and write proper English one day is quite bleak, as long as they still think their English is always right and it is fine to use pm8.