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  1. #1
    Tedwonny is offline Member
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    Question on time, in time, at the right time

    I've heard phrases like just in time, just at the right time...

    but if there are no other hints, are 'on time' more or less the same as 'in time'?

    thanks

  2. #2
    spongie's Avatar
    spongie is offline Member
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    Default Re: on time, in time, at the right time

    Quote Originally Posted by Tedwonny View Post
    I've heard phrases like just in time, just at the right time...

    but if there are no other hints, are 'on time' more or less the same as 'in time'?

    thanks
    on time = happening or done at the particular moment that it was expected to happen or be done.
    The bus arrived right on time.

    in time = early enough
    I got home just in time - it's starting to rain.

    Cambridge Dictionary

  3. #3
    Tedwonny is offline Member
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    Default Re: on time, in time, at the right time

    Quote Originally Posted by spongie View Post
    on time = happening or done at the particular moment that it was expected to happen or be done.
    The bus arrived right on time.

    in time = early enough
    I got home just in time - it's starting to rain.

    Cambridge Dictionary
    Thanks, I know how to check them in the dictionaries of course. What I'm really looking for is some 'live' tips for learners to easily distinguish between the two. Perhaps, it's better if I write my interpretations here and see what you guys think:

    on time = key concept: expected
    in time = key concept: more personal

    E.g. I got to school on time = stressing that I arrived at an exact moment expected, say, 8am when the bell rang.
    E.g. I got to school in time = stressing I'm not late. I got to school within the expected time range.

    at the right time => doesn't tell us whether it's early/late, it tells us appropriateness.

    what do you think? =)

  4. #4
    Barb_D's Avatar
    Barb_D is online now Moderator
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    Default Re: on time, in time, at the right time

    Your basic idea is okay. "In time" is not personal, though. It means that something happened at a time that did not interfer with another previously scheduled things.

    I am supposed to meet you outside the theater at 7:30. The show starts at 8.
    If I show up at 7:50, I am not on time. I did not arrive when I was exected. However, I still arrived in time to see the show.

    Let's say you told me to meet you at 7:30, but you read the Web site wrong and the movie we wanted to see starts at 7:20. If I show up at 7:30, I am on time, but we are not in time to see the movie.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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