on time – in time – in due time/course

On time refers to an event taking place at the exact time it was supposed to take place: the meeting started on time. Expect Swiss trains to run more or less on time. 

In time refers to something happening before a crucial deadline/event:

  • We finished the proposal in time for the meeting. (Nous avons terminé à temps…)
  • The police arrived just in time to see the robbers espace. (La police est arrivée le temps de voir…)
  • We arrived at the airport in time to catch the last flight. (Nous sommes arrivés à temps…)

In due time, in due course refers to something being completed in an appropriate amount of time. The committee will study your proposal and provide a response in due time/in due course. 

In French, with variations in brackets :

  • Je suis arrivé à l’heure→ on time [right on time, exactly on time]
  • Je suis arrivée (juste) à temps→ just in time [in the nick of time, just in time]
  • Je répondrai en temps voulu → I’ll reply in due time [in due course, when the time comes].

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