The Difference between “On Time” & “In Time” in English

On Time vs. In Time - what is the difference?


1. 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. In other words, On time means “at the right time”, “on schedule”

  • If something happens on time, it happens at the time it was planned.
  • The opposite of on time is late.

Examples:

  • The plane took off on time.
  • I hope the meeting starts on time.
  • Rachel is never on time. She’s always late.
  • I want to start the meeting on time so please don’t be late.
  • The 11.45 train left on time.

2. IN TIME

In time means that something happened at the last moment before it was too late; before something bad would happen. In other words, in time means “early enough”.

  • The opposite of in time is too late.
  • Just in time means almost too late.

Examples:

  • We’ll have to hurry if we want to be in time for the show.
  • We got to the airport in time to have a coffee before checking in.
  • I was about to close the door when just in time I remember my key. (at the last moment)
  • We arrived in time to get some drinks before the show started.
  • Will you be home in time for dinner?

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