How much time do you have? This question is a bit more complex than one might imagine. First, is it EST or EDT? What do those even stand for? Is there a difference? 

  • EST = Eastern Standard Time, and during autumn/winter, this time zone is five hours behind UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time. 
  • EDT = Eastern Daylight Time, and during spring/summer, this time zone is four hours behind UTC, or Coordinated Universal Time.

And so on … but before pulling your hair out trying to make sure your next Zoom meeting will be on schedule, we recommend using the website Time and Date’s time zone converter.

But how we write these time zones, style-wise, is another question. AP Style writes the full name of the time zone as shown above, Eastern Standard Time or Pacific Standard Time, for example. In short form, lowercase all but the region: the Central time zone or Mountain time.

Abbreviations are acceptable on first reference for zones used within the continental U.S., Canada and Mexico only if the abbreviation is linked with a clock reading, such as 9 a.m. MST or noon PST. —Sarah Muench