Time is quite an important concept in Western culture: this can be seen in our tense systems. Compare this with some Asian languages where time is expressed by time words rather than changes made at sentence level. As a result we have many different conventions for expressing time.
Here is a selection:
- about about 4 o’clock
- shortly after We arrived shortly after/shortly before midnight.
- shortly before
- ‘ish’ We’ll start about 9 ‘ish’
- just after
- just before I got here just before/just after nine o’clock.
- just gone It was just gone six o’clock when we took our seats.
Periods of the day
- dawn When the sun rises
- dusk When the sun sets
- daybreak dawn
- first light daybreak
- twilight as the sun sets
Time as a modifier
- a morning’s work
- the eight-forty train
- the ten o’clock news
Prepositions with time
- after (I can meet you after 10 o’clock.)
- by (I’ll get there by 6 at the latest.)
- at (The film starts at 2 p.m.)
- until/’till (It won’t finish until/’till late.)
- before (The room is unavailable before 12.00.)
Frequently asked- the difference between in time and on time
- in time means not late – He arrived in time for the meeting.
- just in time means very near to the start time – He arrived just in time to catch the train. (He didn’t miss it)
- on time means punctual – David is always on time. (we wouldn’t use just with ‘on time’)
Note: do not use a.m. or p.m. with o’clock!