The difference between ON Time and IN Time

Hi English learners. Welcome to a new lesson. We will discuss the difference between the phrases “on time” and “in time”.

On time

If you are on time, then you are not late; you are punctual. Things happening on time are the ones that are arranged or planned to be at that time; neither early nor late.

  • The bus arrived on time. (as it was planned in the schedule)
  • Tom always pays his bills on time
  • We finished the project on time and met the deadline.
  • Only if we leave now we’ll be able to get there on time.
  • The movie starts at 8. Please, make sure you are on time. Don’t be late.

In time

If something happens in time, then it happens soon enough; it happens before the scheduled time and usually with time to spare.

  • If you hurry, you’ll get to work in time. (soon enough for work)
  • We were lucky to spot the mistake in time.
  • The heavy traffic prevented us from coming in time.
  • Come on, shake a leg. I want to get home in time to watch the football game.
  • The doctor came in time to help the people injured in the accident.

The opposite of in time is too late, or after the time something was supposed to happen or be done.

  • Liam stepped on the brake too late and hit the cat with his car. (after the time he was supposed to step on the brake)
  • Lilly applied too late for the job. They’d already hired someone else.
  • We should deal with this problem now before it’s too late.

Just in time

We can also say just in time for something that happens at the last moment or almost too late.

  • He got home just in time to avoid the rain. (at the last moment before it started raining.)
  • The taxi arrived just in time to take us to the airport.
  • Sara made it to the cinema just in time to catch the film from the beginning.
The difference between ON Time and IN Time
The difference between ON Time and IN Time

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