The word time is used with many other words to make short phrases which can be very confusing. For example, in time means “with enough time“ (to do something) but on time means “at the right (or scheduled) time“. I get up in the morning in time to shower, shave, have breakfast and still be at work on time.
However if I arrive just in time I mean that I arrived at the last possible moment for something. The Japanese have created a style of management called just in time management. Rather than have every business and manufacturing location keep inventory in storage where it is needed, supplies are delivered to where they are used just in time, thus saving costs for storage space at every location in a country where real estate prices are the highest in the world.
Of course if I arrive early for an appointment I am in time but I am also ahead of time. A man who is ahead of his time was born too early in history. Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks contain plans for airplanes, submarines, tanks, and many things beyond the technology of his age. Truly he was a man ahead of his time.
These days many of us are very busy or pressed for time, but if you want something done just right perhaps you should take your time (don’t hurry). If someone we are waiting for is late we might say sarcastically, “You took your own sweet time getting here.“
If you have been busy for a long time perhaps you might want to take some time off for a vacation. And if you play some sports, such as American football, you know that the referee sometimes calls time out, during which the clock doesn’t run.
When somebody finishes something we have been waiting impatiently for we might say, “Well it’s about time.“ When people keep making the same stupid mistake, or children refuse to listen to us, we say, “I’ve told you time after time...“
WORD PICTURES by Stephen Browne
published by inlingua GALINDO Language School