“On time” and “in time”, what is the difference?

Today we will learn to use the phrases “on time” and “in time”. These phrases are very commonly used in English, and they are quite similar in meaning.

What is the difference between “on time” and “in time”?

How to use them in different situation? The English native speakers use these phases in slightly different situations. Both “on time” and “in time” mean you are not late.

To be “on time” means at the planned time, neither early nor late. For example, the meeting is set at 10h00 and you arrive the meeting at 10h00. You are on time.

The boss asks everyone to be present at the meeting exactly on time.

The train always arrives on time.

To be “in time” means before the planned time with enough time to spare. For example, the meeting is set at 10h00 and you arrive at 09h58. You are in time.

The concert is at 8 o’clock. I hope we will make it to the theatre in time.

If I hadn’t caught him in time, he would have fallen from the wall.

If you misuse “in time” or “on time” during a conversation, it is not a big problem.

Learn more: Can I make an appointment?

 

More useful expressions

Here you can learn some more expression swith to be on time:

punctual (adj)
use this adjective to describe to arrive at the planned time.

Being punctual is very important at the workplace.
(arriving work on time is very important.)

prompt (adj)/promptly (adv)
something happens immediately or exactly at a particular time.

The police cars arrive promptly.
He was there promptly at twelve o’clock.

sharp (adv)
exactly at the agreed time

You have to be here at 12:00 sharp. The ship will depart on time.

Learn more: At the Airport Check-in

well-time (adj)
something happening at the right time, it’s very suitable or appropriate to do something.

His coming to our party was well-time. We just started to open the champagne.

just in time (adj)
something happening at the last possible moment.

The train is leaving soon in one minute. We are just in time.

on the dot
at exactly the agreed time that you have arranged before.

We will meet our first customer at 9 a.m. on the dot.


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