Are "à temps" and "à l'heure" not interchangeable?

Sherry

Kwiziq community member

29 November 2017

2 replies

Are "à temps" and "à l'heure" not interchangeable?

Bonjour. I used the first one in a quiz to fill in the blank, and it was marked wrong: "Étais-tu ________ (à temps) pour ton rendez-vous? Were you on time for your appointment?" But à temps was used in another quiz: "Il court ________ (pour) arriver au travail à temps. He runs [in order] to get to work on time."

This relates to:
Expressing timeliness (late, early, on time) - in general -

Gruff

Kwiziq language super star

30 November 2017

30/11/17

Hi Sherry - that's a great question. The distinction between "à temps" and "à l'heure" is very much like the nuance between "in time" vs "on time" in English. So, depending on the context, they can be interchangeable, but if you want to get across something happening in advance of some deadline or event then use "à temps" (in time), whereas if you want to talk about something happening punctually with respect to a specific time then use "à l'heure" (on time). The wording in English is never going to be so clear cut, but it helps convey the nuances in the two meanings. Hope that helps!

Sherry

Kwiziq community member

30 November 2017

30/11/17

It does help. Merci, Gruff!

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