in time or on time

bigsky888

Senior Member
chinese
Hello, there. There is a sentence as follow: He rode his bike to school this morning __________ .
A. in time B. on time C. as usual D. at the same time.
It's a multiple choice in the students' exercise book. My students ask me why 'B' is the answer, I just don't know how to explain this. Please help me. Many thanks.
 
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  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I would say C was the right answer there.

    You could say 'He arrived on time' but we don't usually ride on time.

    Buses can run on time.
     
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    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    You can't explain why B is the right answer because the sentence itself is wrong and even if it wasn't there would be at least 2 possibly correct answers. :D However, just to be a little more specific, I do not ride my books. I mean, not usually and not to school. I did not do that even as a student. :)

    PS. Cross posted.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I don't know who wrote that exercise, but the only answer which fits correctly in the way that a native speaker would say the sentence is (C)- "as usual".

    (A) "in time" would fit if you expanded the sentence to read "... for the first lesson".
    (B) "on time" makes it sound as if his bike is a train which "arrived on time" but it won't work with "rode".
    (D) "at the same time" needs the addition of "... as something/someone else".
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Now that the original question has been corrected I also need to update my view and say that, of course, DonnyB is right and C is the right answer.
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    Hmmm ... I'm going to play devil's advocate.

    I can see where "on time" is okay. We don't have any context.

    Let's use "on schedule".

    He rode his bike to school this morning on schedule.

    That's a hop, skip, and a jump from "on time".
     

    boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Hmm, 'riding' is a continuous process. How can something that continues be said to be 'on time'? You arrive 'on time' but, unlike 'riding', 'arriving' is, in theory at least, instantaneous...
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    I can see where "on time" is okay. We don't have any context.

    Let's use "on schedule".

    He rode his bike to school this morning on schedule.

    That's a hop, skip, and a jump from "on time".
    Fair enough: let's suppose just for a minute that (B) is the correct answer.

    How do we now explain to the students why (C) is wrong?
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    @boozer, sound shift, But the OP query uses "rode", and not "riding".

    @donny, (C) isn't wrong, but this is a test/quiz, and we have no context.
     

    DonnyB

    Sixties Mod
    English UK Southern Standard English
    @donny, (C) isn't wrong, but this is a test/quiz, and we have no context.
    True, but according to the OP it's just a multiple-choice question from a book of exercises for students and my understanding of those is that only one of the possible answers is ever the correct one. :confused:
     

    perpend

    Banned
    American English
    @donny, Oh boy, if I only had a dime for every time a question like that appears on WordReference. Often, the question in the exercise isn't even written by a native speaker of English.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    He rode his bike to school this morning __________ .
    A. in time B. on time C. as usual D. at the same time.
    That does not seem an unreasonable multiple-choice question to me.
    I agree entirely with DonnyB in post 4 (the answer is C) and with the explanations given there.

    All I would add is (1) that with A or B the sentence does not work grammatically; and (2) that with D the sentence works but only if the additional information (at the same time as what?) is provided.
    This additional information could be in the same sentence or in preceding context, but since it is not present anywhere in the question it follows that D is not the answer.
     
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