'On Time' or 'In Time'? What Is the Difference? | Mastering Grammar

(Last Updated: 12 July 2023)

'On Time' or 'In Time'?

On Time or In Time: What Is the Difference?

On time and in time are two expressions that are often confused.

If something happens on time, it happens punctually or at the right time:

Trains here never arrive on time.

Please arrive on time. Don't be late.

I don't know whether I'll be able to get there on time.

If something happens in time, it happens earlier than necessary or required: 

He arrived in time for dinner.

Luckily, we got home just in time. It's starting to rain.

They got there just in time to watch the beginning of the show.

Examples from the Media

You researched the organisation, showed your respect by arriving on time and in the right clothes, struck up a rapport with the interviewer, and felt you had given the best impression of yourself you could. The Guardian (2009)

Transit riders want to be able to get on streetcars and buses that arrive on time and have space to squeeze in the door. Toronto Star (2018)

His father, who lives 267 km away in Shenzhen, watches from his monitor to ensure his son gets out of the house in time for the bus. —South China Morning Post (2022)

Brighton's annual gala was held just in time for thousands of people to gather and enjoy themselves. Otago Daily Times (2022)

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