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Unit 2: English In A Minute
Give us a minute and we'll give you English

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Session 3

Welcome to English In A Minute. Give us a minute and we'll give you a hot tip about English. Grammar, vocabulary... there's so much to learn! And all taught by your favourite BBC Learning English staff!

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

'On time' vs 'in time'

Do you have a minute to spare to learn some English? Phil's just in time to explain the difference between 'on time' and 'in time'. Give us 60 seconds and we'll give you the English.

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Phil
Let's look at the difference between on time and in time. They often mean the same, but sometimes they're different.

On time means 'according to a schedule or a deadline.' If I don't finish my work on time, my boss will be angry. My train is never on time.

In time means 'not too late to be successful.' I missed my deadline, but I still got the presentation finished in time for the meeting. My train was late but it still arrived in time for me to get to work early.

Neither my presentation nor my train were on time, but they were in time for me to do what I needed to do.

It's good to be on time. It's even more important to be in time! The difference is down to how flexible your schedule is. But be careful! Sometimes if you're not on time, you won't be in time either.

On time vs in time

Often the same, but not always
On time
and in time often mean the same thing, but sometimes they're different.

On time
On time
means 'according to a schedule or deadline'.

  • If I don't finish my work on time, my boss will be angry.
  • My train is never on time.

In time
In time means 'not too late to be successful.'

  • I missed my deadline, but I still got the presentation finished in time for the meeting.
  • My train was late but it still arrived in time for me to get to work early.

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