Let's meet 'for' 5 o'clock / be here <for> seven o'clock / BE: '7:00 for 7:30'

natkretep

Moderato con anima (English Only)
English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
I used the sentence 'Let's meet for 5 o'clock' yesterday when arranging to meet up with someone. He commented that he thought that the preposition was strange. I think that when I say 'for 5 o'clock' I mean 'for a 5 o'clock start'. Now I'm left wondering whether this sounds strange to many English speakers too or would my meaning be understood?

I also say things like 'Dinner is at 7.00 for 7.30'.
 
  • compaqdrew

    Senior Member
    English - AE
    "at" is the correct preposition in AE.

    "for" generally explains a purpose or reason, so you might say "let's meet for dinner" but not "let's meet for 5:00".

    You might occasionally hear "Let's plan for a 5:00 start" or similar, but unusually long constructions are typically used for effect, not used routinely. If someone said "Let's plan for...", I might assume that there was some doubt about the speaker's ability to make the appointment.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    'Dinner is at 7.00 for 7.30'.
    That one's common in the UK, Nat:thumbsup:

    If you said to me (me personally, that is) Let's meet for 5 o'clock with no further explanation, I'd assume you meant "Let's meet before 5 o'clock, so as to be ready at 5 o'clock." (So yes, I'd understand you:))
     
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    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Thanks, ewie! I was beginning to think that I was the Martian. :eek:

    And, yes, that's what I meant when I said, 'Let's meet for 5 o'clock.' And a bit taken aback at being jumped on for saying that ...

    It looks as if this is only BE and not AE. Maybe other people could confirm this?
     
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    Rival

    Senior Member
    English - UK
    I agree with Ewie.

    'Let's meet for 5 o'clock.' tells me that we're meeting a little earlier in order to do some minor preparations, and then we'll be ready at 5'o'clock.

    As for "... beginning to think that I was the Martian", it remains possible. 'Let's meet for 5 o'clock.' doesn't prove or disprove it. :D
    .
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    My American English perspective: If you said "Let's meet for 5 o'clock," I wouldn't have the slightest idea what you meant. (Well, I would now, after reading this thread!) For your meaning, we would say something like, "Let's meet a little before 5."
     

    Nunty

    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    I am familiar with "at 7:00 for 7:30", but my AE ears hear it as formal and dated. I'm glad it is still common in BE because I find it both precise and charming.
     

    pob14

    Senior Member
    American English
    I forgot to address that one: After reading the thread, I'm still not sure what "Dinner is at 7:00 for 7:30" means. (We use the colon for time in the US.) Does it mean we are expected to show up at 7, and be served at 7:30? Does it mean we meet somewhere at 7, so we can travel to the place we are having dinner and get there by 7:30? Or could it mean either (or something else) depending on context?

    It's not a phrase I've ever heard before.
     

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm not sure that all BE speakers would detect a difference in meaning between "Let's meet for five o'clock" and "Let's meet at five o'clock". The version with "for" smacks of middle-class dinner parties to me ("seven for seven-thirty") and I seriously wonder whether someone from "lower" on the social scale would realise that the version with "for" implied some sort of preliminary business.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Does it mean we meet somewhere at 7, so we can travel to the place we are having dinner and get there by 7:30? Or could it mean either (or something else) depending on context?

    It's not a phrase I've ever heard before.
    It means the proper stuff starts at 7.30 (in this case dinner), and you can arrive at 7.00 and it will be fine (you won't be too early), but 7.15 is fine too. At least, that's how I deal with it. I think it sort of gives 'permission' to arrive before 7.30 and after 7.00.
     
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    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    << Moderator's note: This thread has been added to an existing thread. >>

    Ashlie and Stephen are signing up for tomorrow's dig at the Viking excavation. The receptionist:
    - Yes, the dig is right over there and you'll need to be here for seven o'clock tomorrow to pick up your tools.
    BBC video

    I'd expect to see you'll need to be here at seven o'clock tomorrow here. "For" sounds strange here, it's not the kind of phrases like these:
    The meeting has been timed for seven o'clock.
    We have a reservation for seven o'clock.
    What do you think?
    Thanks.
     
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    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    This is a perfectly acceptable usage. It means that the latest you can be there is seven o'clock, as opposed to having an appointment at seven o'clock
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    This is a perfectly acceptable usage. It means that the latest you can be there is seven o'clock, as opposed to having an appointment at seven o'clock
    Could you tell what exactly "for" denotes here (a purpose?) and why it means "the latest"...?
    I thought, to imply "the latest", additional information should be added... Like:
    You'll need to be here at seven o'clock
    , not later.
     

    Königskind

    Member
    English - USA
    you'll need to be here for seven o'clock tomorrow to pick up your tools.
    This must be a strictly British mode of expression. As an American, this seems completely incorrect to me. From my perspective, it doesn't even make any sense.
    "You'll need to be here at seven o'clock tomorrow to pick up your tools." would be the proper way to say this for me.
     

    Glasguensis

    Signal Modulation
    English - Scotland
    But I don't understand -- is it the only meaning the "for" conveys here? No purpose or anything? Dictionaries don't give such a meaning...
    Well you could say that the purpose is to observe 7 o'clock passing. In that sense it's like "going to my parents for Christmas". Whether or not dictionaries give this meaning, that's how it is being used in your example. Königskind is probably right about it being BE.
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    This must be a strictly British mode of expression. As an American, this seems completely incorrect to me. From my perspective, it doesn't even make any sense.
    "You'll need to be here at seven o'clock tomorrow to pick up your tools." would be the proper way to say this for me.
    I absolutely agree with this. If it was important to emphasize that you must arrive no later than 7:00, I would say "Be here by seven o'clock...."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Absolutely standard BE. It means the same as "You'll need to be here at seven o'clock tomorrow to pick up your tools." and "You'll need to be here by seven o'clock tomorrow to pick up your tools."

    The tools are going to be handed out at seven o'clock.
     

    VicNicSor

    Banned
    Russian
    Absolutely standard BE. It means the same as "You'll need to be here at seven o'clock tomorrow to pick up your tools." and "You'll need to be here by seven o'clock tomorrow to pick up your tools."

    The tools are going to be handed out at seven o'clock.
    You seem to disagree a little with Glasguensis who, as I understand, means that "for" here is used as opposed to "at"...
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    This must be a strictly British mode of expression. As an American, this seems completely incorrect to me. From my perspective, it doesn't even make any sense.
    I disagree, this makes perfect sense to me. Try this:

    Bob: I need to ride into town with my brother, and I'm not sure exactly when I will get there.
    Tom: Well, just make sure that no matter what happens, you are here for the start of the meeting.

    Doesn't that sound natural in American English? Presumably, the meeting has a definite starting time, so it seems to me we could also say "...just make sure you are here for the start of the meeting at eleven o'clock". I see little problem with taking that one step further to "... make sure you are here for eleven o'clock."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    You seem to disagree a little with Glasguensis who, as I understand, means that "for" here is used as opposed to "at"...
    Yes, I do. Whichever form of words you use, the critical point is that if you aren't there at seven you won't get any tools. The slight difference in meaning is that "for" suggests that you might choose to be there earlier, but seven is still the critical time. A standard form of invitation in BE is "7:00 for 7:30" meaning don't arrive before 7:00, but make sure you are there in time for the event start time of 7:30.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I am another American who finds "be here for 7:00" strange. I would use 'by' to express the idea that 7:00 was the latest time you should arrive.

    As Andy explains it, BE's "7:00 for 7:30" sounds useful, but I have never seen it in AE.

    (To express this idea we say something like: "Doors open at 7:00. Meeting at 7:30.")
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    "7 for 7.30" is a perfectly standard note on a British invitation. If it's to someone's home, it means "Get here somewhere round 7.10 and we'll have a drink before dinner. Any earlier than 7 and I'll still be in the shower; any later than 7.30 and I'll start thinking you've got lost." In other words, "for" = "by, not later than.

    Quite different from "Get here at 7.30" which means "between 7.27 and 7.33".
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    Quite different from "Get here at 7.30" which means "between 7.27 and 7.33".
    If the briefing is that the attack will start at 07:30 and your company crosses the start line at 07:33 the defence at your court martial "but KB says it means between 7.27 and 7.33" won't get you very far. "At" has never, for me, meant "and it's OK to be 3 minutes late".
     
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