a time / the time

VicNicSor

Banned
Russian
And if there comes a time when you would like me to tell you more about your father, what he was like when he was your age, what things he liked to play and do, I'll come back here and do so.
Guardians of the Keep by Carol Berg

And a time will come, Veronica, mark my words, a time will come when you will bless me for my firmness to-night.
Ann Veronica by Herbert George Wells

I have the bill ready, and when the time comes, I'll present it to them, with all interest duly noted.
Wizard and Glass by Stephen King

Until the time comes and we take him down and burn his power in Mount Doom.
Fury by Rushdie Salman

Explain to me please, what is the difference between the 'times' in first two and second two examples (why they take different articles).
Thanks.
 
  • JustKate

    Moderate Mod
    Because in both cases where a time is used, it refers to a very unspecified time. Veronica may not bless him the first time she ought to, or the second, or the 115th, but a time will come when she will. In contrast, the time - the exact, correct time - will come when it's time to present the bill to them.
     
    Last edited:
    Good point, Vik. And you have 'got' the rule. "the" would be used, if there were rephrasing. Second sentence (presently incomplete).

    OP2*: "She would have to remember that once the time came to bond Ran, she would carry out the legal and appropriate procedures."

    Compare, "She had to remember that if there ever came a time when it would be necessary to legally bond Ran, it would prove very objectionable to him."
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Good point, Vik. And you have 'got' the rule. "the" would be used, if there were rephrasing. Second sentence (presently incomplete).

    OP2*: "She would have to remember that once the time came to bond Ran, she would carry out the legal and appropriate procedures."

    Compare, "She had to remember that if there ever came a time when it would be necessary to legally bond Ran, it would prove very objectionable to him."
    One question. I still don't understand why zero article is used:eek:
    Is it just a set phrase -- "it comes time" (= the time comes)
     
    Yes, that's the easiest way to understand it. Alternately distinguish an adjectival 'time' as 'timely.' [It becomes time = It becomes timely]. The nomimal 'time' here, by contrast, means a moment or an instant and has to have an article.


    One question. I still don't understand why zero article is used:eek:
    Is it just a set phrase -- "it comes time" (= the time comes)
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Yes, that's the easiest way to understand it. Alternately distinguish an adjectival 'time' as 'timely.' [It becomes time = It becomes timely]. The nomimal 'time' here, by contrast, means a moment or an instant and has to have an article.
    If I correctly understand you, in "it comes time" "time" acts as an adjectival, and when you say "The nomimal 'time' here, by contrast, means a moment or an instant and has to have an article." -- you mean "the time comes"... is this right?
     
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