Talking about Time

This week, I’d like to talk about how easily misunderstandings occur when trying to arrange times in English. I can only recommend confirming every appointment with the date and time or you might end up wondering why the other person hasn’t turned up at a prearranged time … Let’s look at the following examples:

  1. A dear student of mine wrote this week, “I can’t make the lesson on 25 April so could we have another lesson this week.” I thought great, she wants two lessons this week without realizing she meant the week starting 25 April which she was perfectly entitled to do. Luckily I checked …
  2. Years ago, I arrived at a lesson on Tuesday at 11:00. My student looked at me in surprise and said that our lesson was on Tuesday … Yes, Tuesday often gets confused with Thursday and can be remembered by the simple “two” or second day in the week which Tuesday sounds like. He was really embarrassed and I was cross with myself for not checking.
  3. Then we’ve got next weekend. Now when is next weekend or when does it become this weekend which I would probably use from Wednesday onwards. It’s often a good idea to say the coming weekend.
  4. And I nearly forgot the famous half nine which I found out soon after I arrived in Germany many years ago and turned up an hour late …

Do you know any more and can you see why we need to be specific? Don’t forget to write dates in full e.g. 10 April 2022 as 10.04.2022 is early autumn in the US … and use the 24-hour clock with times e.g. 15:00 CET with a time zone just in case.

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