ENGLISHPairs of Words

ON TIME & IN TIME

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1. On Time

ON TIME = at a fixed/planned time established (not before, not after); e.g.

i) My train is on time, so I’ll have to leave just now.
ii) The train arrived at 5.25 – exactly on time.

2. In Time

IN TIME = not late; doing something ‘in time’ means doing it before a deadline; e.g.

i) I could not get admission because I didn’t submit my application in time.
ii) Make sure you arrive in time to see the beginning of the film.

INCORRECT: I had to rush to reach school in time.
CORRECT: I had to rush to reach school on time.

NOTE-I: If we want to convey that something happened with a comfortable margin (means well before of an event) we use ‘IN GOOD TIME’ or ‘IN PLENTY OF TIME’; e.g.

I reached the cinema hall in good time.

NOTE-II: We say ‘JUST IN TIME’ or ‘IN THE NICK OF TIME’ to emphasize that something happened immediately before the limit/deadline; e.g.

i) I could leave home a little late and arrived just in time to catch my bus.
ii) In movies, a bomb is disarmed in the nick of time, with just a few seconds left to explode.

NOTE-III: We do not use the word TIME after NOT LONG or NOT BE LONG; e.g.

INCORRECT: The dinner won’t take long time, it’ll be ready just in five minutes.
CORRECT: The dinner won’t take long, it’ll be ready just in five minutes.

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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