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A friend asked me to make this post about the use of prepositions in relation to time, and I thought why not? How many people confuse “in time” and “on time” and do not realize it? But since that is a rather short explanation, I thought of explaining some more concepts related to time here as well.

So, first things first, let’s look at “in time” vs. “on time”

“In time” indicates that something has to be done with enough time to spare, or before the last moment.

– We reached the station just in time…the train left five minutes later.

So you had five minutes to go before the train left, or in other words, you reached the station with five minutes to spare. Therefore, you were “in” time. Other examples would be:

I have to prepare the presentation in time for Friday’s meeting
David reached the cafe in time, so he looked around the bookstall for a while.
I hope I can finish cooking in time, so I can get dressed for the evening.

“On time” indicates something will be done at a given time, neither late nor early.

– The meeting started on time.

The meeting started at whatever time was planned, and was not delayed or started earlier than that given time. Hence, the meeting started “on” time. Examples would be:

David is always on time for work.
We reached on time for the Sunday sermon.
I was there on time, but she did not come.

Now, let’s move on to another oft-confused set of time-related concepts. “Sometime” is an adverb meaning “at an unspecified or indefinite time”

– Why don’t you come over for dinner sometime?

You do not specify the day, date or even time when you are asking the pther person to come by for dinner, so you make that an indefinite time, and use “sometime”

“Some time” means “a period of time” or “a while”

– Give her some time to get used to the new software. She’ll learn.

You are talking about letting a person spend a while trying out the new software. Therefore you are using the word “some” as a determiner, and so you let the person have “some” time.

“Sometimes” means “occasionally” or “now and then”

– I meet Paul at the park sometimes.

This means that Paul is not there at the park each time I visit, and I meet him only when he’s there, which is occasionally. Hence, I meet him “sometimes”

Other examples would be:

I’ll take a look at your thesis sometime and mail you the feedback.
I have been trying to quit smoking for some time.
I don’t understand your philosophy sometimes.

Send me your suggestions about what else you would like to see on this blog some time, and I promise I shall try to put it up in time so you don’t get tired waiting for it, ok?

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