Learn Time Expressions With Meaning and Examples

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Do you sometimes feel confused when people talk about time in English? Don’t worry! Time expressions can be tricky, but they don’t have to be. In this simple guide, you’ll learn some common time expressions in English to help you understand and use them better.

Related: Time Expressions for All Tenses

Time Expressions

1. Yesterday

  • Meaning: The day before today.
  • Example: We had a picnic yesterday afternoon.

2. Last night

  • Meaning: The night before today.
  • Example: She watched a movie last night.

3. Last week

  • Meaning: The week before this one.
  • Example: They traveled to Paris last week.

4. Last month

  • Meaning: The month before this one.
  • Example: I started my new job last month.

5. Last year

  • Meaning: The year before this one.
  • Example: We bought a new car last year.

6. A long time ago

  • Meaning: Far in the past.
  • Example: He visited France a long time ago.

7. In the past

  • Meaning: Happened before the present.
  • Example: People used horses for travel in the past.

8. Recently

  • Meaning: Not long ago.
  • Example: We visited the museum recently.

9. Just now

  • Meaning: A very short time ago.
  • Example: I finished reading the book just now.

10. Before

  • Meaning: At an earlier time.
  • Example: She lived in New York before moving here.

11. Previously

  • Meaning: At a previous time.
  • Example: I had previously worked as a chef.

12. In those days

  • Meaning: At that period in the past.
  • Example: In those days, people wrote letters.

13. The other day

  • Meaning: A few days ago.
  • Example: I saw him at the store the other day.

14. Once upon a time

  • Meaning: A long time ago (story start).
  • Example: Once upon a time, there was a princess.

15. Once

  • Meaning: At one time in the past.
  • Example: She once lived in Australia.

16. Formerly

  • Meaning: In the past, previously.
  • Example: He was formerly a professional dancer.

17. At that time

  • Meaning: Refers to a specific past moment.
  • Example: At that time, she was living abroad.

18. When

  • Meaning: Refers to a specific time.
  • Example: When I was a child, I loved swimming.

19. In the meantime

  • Meaning: While waiting for something.
  • Example: The bus will come soon. In the meantime, let’s talk.

20. While

  • Meaning: During the same period.
  • Example: She sang while he played the piano.

21. Today

  • Meaning: The current day.
  • Example: I have two meetings today.

22. Nowadays

  • Meaning: At the present time.
  • Example: People use smartphones for everything nowadays.

23. These days

  • Meaning: Currently, in this period.
  • Example: Everyone seems to be busy these days.

24. Now

  • Meaning: At this present moment.
  • Example: He is reading a book now.

25. At the moment

  • Meaning: Right now, currently.
  • Example: I’m a little busy at the moment.

26. Currently

  • Meaning: At this time.
  • Example: She is currently studying for her exams.

27. Right now

  • Meaning: Exactly at this moment.
  • Example: I’m not feeling well right now.

28. This morning

  • Meaning: The current day’s morning.
  • Example: I exercised for an hour this morning.

29. This afternoon

  • Meaning: The current day’s afternoon.
  • Example: We are meeting with friends this afternoon.

30. This evening

  • Meaning: The current day’s evening.
  • Example: I’m going to a concert this evening.

31. Tonight

  • Meaning: The night of today.
  • Example: We’re having dinner together tonight.

32. At present

  • Meaning: Now, at this time.
  • Example: We don’t have any vacancies at present.

33. Immediately

  • Meaning: Without delay, right away.
  • Example: Please call me back immediately.

34. In a minute

  • Meaning: In a very short time.
  • Example: I’ll be there in a minute.

35. In no time

  • Meaning: Very quickly, soon.
  • Example: We’ll finish the project in no time.

36. Soon

  • Meaning: In a short time from now.
  • Example: We will start the meeting soon.

37. In a while

  • Meaning: After a short time.
  • Example: She’ll join us in a while.

38. Tomorrow

  • Meaning: The day after today.
  • Example: We’re going to the zoo tomorrow.

39. Next week

  • Meaning: The week after this one.
  • Example: We will meet again next week.

40. Next month

  • Meaning: The month after this one.
  • Example: We’re moving to a new house next month.

41. Next year

  • Meaning: The year after this one.
  • Example: I’m planning to visit Italy next year.

42. In the future

  • Meaning: At a later time, not now.
  • Example: She hopes to start her own business in the future.

43. In a few days

  • Meaning: A short time from now.
  • Example: We will visit them in a few days.

44. In a few weeks

  • Meaning: In a short time from now.
  • Example: We’ll be ready to launch the product in a few weeks.

45. Later

  • Meaning: At a future time.
  • Example: I’ll call you back later.

46. By then

  • Meaning: At that time in the future.
  • Example: By then, I hope to have finished my thesis.

47. One day

  • Meaning: At some future time.
  • Example: One day, I want to write a book.

48. Some day

  • Meaning: At an unspecified future time.
  • Example: She hopes to visit Japan some day.

49. Eventually

  • Meaning: After a long time or delay.
  • Example: He eventually found a solution to the problem.

50. In the long run

  • Meaning: Over an extended period.
  • Example: Investing in education will benefit you in the long run.

Time Expressions


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