The way people describe the concept of time varies greatly between cultures. If you aren’t a native speaker, it may sometimes be difficult to choose the correct prepositions while talking about time. And although you might think that the grammar of time holds no surprises for you, it is still a good idea to brush up your memory.
We start off by explaining the meaning and grammar connected with ‘on time’. Then, in a later part, you can find synonyms and example sentences that include the phrase.
‘On time’ – what does it mean?
‘On time’ is an adverb that essentially has two meanings. The primary one describes things that occur at an expected time.
Those things that are done ‘on time’ happen exactly when they are supposed to, not earlier or later. For example, if a train is on time, it arrives at the destination exactly as the timetable stated.
Secondly, a much less popular meaning is when we buy something ‘on time‘. This is understood as paying for something using some kind of delayed payment or credit. The ‘time‘ refers to the point when the payments must be complete.
Is ‘on time’ grammatically correct?
Generally it is, although it must be used in the correct context. The adverb ‘on time’ should only be used to describe activities and events that happened in a timely manner. It doesn’t really matter if they are in the past, present or future.
‘On time’, ‘at a time’, ‘in time’ and ‘for a time’
As already mentioned, ‘on time’ means at an expected time, but depending on the preposition used with the noun ‘time’ the meaning changes. So ‘at a time’ can mean at an exact moment, ‘in time’ – eventually, sometime in the future, ‘with time’ also having a similar meaning. There is also ‘for a time’, which is used when talking about something that only lasts a short period.
Synonyms for ‘on time’
When you need to replace ‘on time’ you can use one of the following words or phrases:
- on schedule
Some examples of ‘on time’ in a sentence
Finally, definitions aren’t always enough to understand vocabulary, so it can be helpful to check out some examples. Here are a number that include ‘on time’:
- It suddenly occurred to me that I would never be there on time.
- For my whole life I’ve always been on time, I can’t believe I’m late.
- The nearly instantaneous flash on a camera always happens on time, a few milliseconds after pressing the button.
- I can’t help you in this matter if you don’t even see me on time.
- With your help, we should be able to collect all the plums on time.
- Since everything finished on time, all her worries left her mind completely.
- As much as he found sitting in a deck chair pleasant, this famous Philippine painter could rest no longer, as he had commissions that needed to be delivered on time.
- After six months the full length of the sentence had passed, imprisonment was over, and I was released on time.
Everything to know about ‘on time’
To sum up, the adverb ‘on time’ is used when something happens when it should. It also has another much less well-known meaning that refers to purchasing things on credit. Also, take special care to not mix up the prepositions, as they determine the meanings of the phrases using the noun ‘time’.
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