What is the difference between "in time" and "on time"
If you do something or something happens in time, the emphasis is usually on the fact that you did it or it happened soon enough to prevent a bad outcome. For example:
Sue was going into labor in the taxi, but they made it to the hospital in time.
(Bad outcome: You hope the taxi driver has had some medical training!)
Tim was able to make it home from college in time to celebrate Christmas with his family.
(Bad outcome: Flight attendants in Santa suits. Ho ho ho.)
If you do something or something happens on time, the emphasis is usually on the fact that you didn't do it or it didn't happen late. It could be early or at the exact time, but just not late.
John is a very punctual person; he's always on time.
(He is never late. He probably arrives a little early most of the time.)
Be sure to hand in your homework on time.
(Turn it in early or on the day it is due.)
In many situations, either one may be used; however, the same principle applies. In time emphasizes the prevention of a bad result and on time emphasizes something being done or occurring at or before the required time. For example:
I made it to work on time.
(I'm glad I wasn't late.)
I made it to work in time.
(If I had been late, the boss would have docked me a day's pay!)
Hope this helps.
Last edited by dragn; 09-Apr-2009 at 01:50.