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      • Native Language:
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    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    at THE time

    hi, actually this is a sentence a teacher here typed when he answered my
    previous question:

    "When I was a youngster, there was some actor who often appeared in the
    teen magazines I bought at the time whose first name was 'Sean'. "

    My question: is "at THE time" a correct expression? In my head, it should
    be "at THAT time" ?


    • Join Date: Dec 2007
    • Posts: 1

    Re: at THE time

    If I'm not mistaken, he could have used both expressions. AT THE TIME (he was a youngster, in general) AT THAT TIME (the specific time he bought the magazines)
    Last edited by costagleysson; 20-Dec-2007 at 04:01.

    • Join Date: Nov 2007
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    Re: at THE time

    The difference between the use of the two phrases is that "at that time" = 'at that particular, specific time' - it emphasizes that the time period itself is significant. Look at these sentences:
    "I was a teenager during the 60's. At that time, society was in great change and upheaval, and..."
    "When I was 18, I decided I wanted to be a rock star rather than go to uni. It seemed like a good idea at the time."

    Can others think of other examples and post them?

    • Member Info
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    Re: at THE time

    Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary
    At the time: at the particular point when something was thought of or done: "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

    "English Prepositional Idiom" by Frederick T.Wood
    At the time: at the time in question: "Jackson called at the office this afternoon, but I could not see him, as I was engaged at the time."

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