These expressions are very similar, but there is a slight difference in meaning.


On time

On time means that there is a specific time established when something is supposed/expected to happen, and it is happening at the planned time.

  • I want to start the meeting on time so please don’t be late.
  • The 11.45 train left on time.

In time

If we say we arrived in time, we’re saying that we got there a little early – that there was time to spare.

We often use the structure in time to do something:

  • We arrived in time to get some drinks before the show started.
  • Will you be home in time for dinner?


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