Expressing timeliness (late, early) - precise

Expressing timeliness (late, early, on time) - in general can be extended to say precisely how late...

Here are some sentences:

Notre train a eu 2 heures de retard à cause de la neige
Our train was two hours late because of the snow

Notre train a été en retard de 2 heures à cause de la neige.
Our train was two hours late because of the snow.

J'aurai sûrement un quart d'heure de retard
I will probably be fifteen minutes late

Je serai sûrement en retard d'un quart d'heure.
I will probably be fifteen minutes late.

Je ne suis pas encore prête, tu as vingt minutes d'avance!
I'm not ready yet, you are twenty minutes early!

Je ne suis pas encore prête, tu es en avance de vingt minutes!
I'm not ready yet, you are twenty minutes early!

To indicate the degree of timeliness (to be [5 minutes] late/early) in French, you can use these two expressions: 

late -> avoir [5 minutes] de  retard OR être en retard de [5 minutes]

early -> avoir [5 minutes] d'avance OR être en avance de [5 minutes]

 

ATTENTION:  

In sentences with arriver/venir/commencer/finir, you will use either:

avec [5 minutes] de retard / avec [5 minutes] d'avance
or
[5 minutes] en retard / [5 minutes] en avance

Je suis arrivé avec dix minutes de retard.
Je suis arrivé dix minutes en retard.

I arrived ten minutes late

La réunion a commencé avec une demi-heure d'avance.
La réunion a commencé une demi-heure en avance

The meeting started half an hour early

Le concert a fini avec une heure de retard.
Le concert a fini une heure en retard.

The concert ended one hour late.

Il est venu avec une heure d'avance.
Il est venu une heure en avance.

He came an hour earlier.

Learn more about these related French grammar topics

Examples and resources

Notre train a eu 2 heures de retard à cause de la neige
Our train was two hours late because of the snow


Notre train a été en retard de 2 heures à cause de la neige.
Our train was two hours late because of the snow.


La réunion a commencé avec une demi-heure d'avance.
La réunion a commencé une demi-heure en avance

The meeting started half an hour early


Je serai sûrement en retard d'un quart d'heure.
I will probably be fifteen minutes late.


Le concert a fini avec une heure de retard.
Le concert a fini une heure en retard.

The concert ended one hour late.


Je ne suis pas encore prête, tu es en avance de vingt minutes!
I'm not ready yet, you are twenty minutes early!


Je ne suis pas encore prête, tu as vingt minutes d'avance!
I'm not ready yet, you are twenty minutes early!


Il est venu avec une heure d'avance.
Il est venu une heure en avance.

He came an hour earlier.


J'aurai sûrement un quart d'heure de retard
I will probably be fifteen minutes late



Je suis arrivé avec dix minutes de retard.
Je suis arrivé dix minutes en retard.

I arrived ten minutes late


Q&A Forum 13 questions, 35 answers

RobinA2

lesson could use a video lesson

A video lesson would be nice.  It seems most of the other lessons offer at least one video as a supplemental resource. Merci.

Asked 8 months ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star

Bonjour Robin !

You'll be pleased to know that we've now added a video to illustrate this lesson :)

Bonne journée !

RobinA2

Merci!

Robin asked:View original

lesson could use a video lesson

A video lesson would be nice.  It seems most of the other lessons offer at least one video as a supplemental resource. Merci.

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10 minutes en avance

"Je suis arrivée 10 minutes en avance" seems to be common in Montreal, QC, Canada. Is this incorrect?
Asked 1 year ago
CécileKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Hi Connie,

It is correct you can say both:

Je suis arrivé(e) avec dix minutes d'avance.

ou bien

Je suis arrivé(e) dix minutes en avance.

Hope this helps!

 

 

 

Thank you! I also wanted to say how excellent your website is. I am so impressed, the pedagogy is so well-thought-out !!!

GruffKwiziq language super star
Thanks Connie! That's lovely to hear. May we use that in our testimonials?

10 minutes en avance

"Je suis arrivée 10 minutes en avance" seems to be common in Montreal, QC, Canada. Is this incorrect?

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Je suis dix minutes en retard?

Can you tell me what is incorrect : Je suis dix minutes en retard? Should it be "je suis en retard de dix minutes"?
Asked 1 year ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

It is either: 

1) J'ai dix minutes de retard.
I have 10 minutes of delay.

2) Je suis en retard de dix minutes. 
I am in delay of 10 minutes.

Please note that the English translations are only meant as a mnemonic and not real translations.

In French, you either "have xx minutes of delay" or "you are in delay of xx minutes."

-- Chris (not a native speaker).

Thanks Chris but you haven’t really answered my question- is “ je suis dix minutes en retard “ incorrect? Ii is marked down as being so.
Sorry, I wasn't being entirely clear, I guess. Yes, "je suis dix minutes en retard" is incorrect. The only two possibilites are the ones I cited in my first reply. -- Chris.

Je suis dix minutes en retard?

Can you tell me what is incorrect : Je suis dix minutes en retard? Should it be "je suis en retard de dix minutes"?

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Same question as Robert

Why is je suis arrivé cinq minutes en avance accepted but in pink?
Asked 1 year ago
Pink isn't bad, Jennifer. Your answer is correct. I guess the color just tells you that there is another possible answer to this question. -- Chris (not a native speaker).
Thanks Claus, I thought it meant the answer was ok but less ok than the usual black and white colour.

Same question as Robert

Why is je suis arrivé cinq minutes en avance accepted but in pink?

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RobertB2

mr quizik only accepts two answers of four shown in this article

"Il est en avance de deux heurs" is shown as error with "Il a deux heures d'avance" as the correct answer. The computer seems to accepting only two of the four forms shown on this page
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Robert ! The reason is that you wrote "deux heurs" instead of "deux heures" :) Bonne journée !
Robert asked:View original

mr quizik only accepts two answers of four shown in this article

"Il est en avance de deux heurs" is shown as error with "Il a deux heures d'avance" as the correct answer. The computer seems to accepting only two of the four forms shown on this page

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TamaniA2

Je serai sûrement en retard d'un quatre d'heure

Shouldn't it be 'Je serai sûrement en retard un quatre d'heure,' since the article states être en retard (without the de) is a possibility?
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer
Bonjour Tamani !

You can use en retard on its own to express simply "[I'm] late".

However, if you want to be more precise and add how long you're late for, then you will need to use "en retard de + [duration]" :

Je suis en retard à mon rendez-vous.
Je suis en retard de dix minutes à mon rendez-vous.
See also : 
Expressing timeliness (late, early, on time) - in general">Expressing timeliness (late, early, on time) - in general">Expressing timeliness (late, early, on time) - in general">Expressing timeliness (late, early, on time) - in general

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !
TamaniA2
Thank you, that is helpful! So it seems that the article is incorrect where it says: 'To indicate the degree of timeliness...you can use these two expressions avoir (5 mins) de retard/d'avance or être EN RETARD/en avance de (5 mins).' N'est-ce pas?
Hello Tamani. Note that the final "de" belongs to both "en retard" and "en avance". That slash can be somewhat confusing. You should read that text as these four options: "avoir 5 mins de retard", "avoir 5 mins d'avance", "être en retard de 5 mins", "être en avance de 5 mins".
TamaniA2
Bonjour David. Yes I see that the slash doesn't make it entirely clear. But I've got it now. Thanks!
Tamani asked:View original

Je serai sûrement en retard d'un quatre d'heure

Shouldn't it be 'Je serai sûrement en retard un quatre d'heure,' since the article states être en retard (without the de) is a possibility?

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RobertB2

(arrivé) "cinq minutes en retard"

Shown as valid option, but my answer was marked with pink (error?) with the alternative "avec cinq minutes de retard" in blue (preference check mark?) although I received credit for the question
Asked 2 years ago
RonC1
Bonjour Robert, It has been a while since I have had that occur on my response to a question. It is my understanding that the program considers your answer correct, hence the pink, but it considers another response to be the correct response. (Aren't computer programs wonderful since they tend to view response in a «black and white» context) I think that anyone who has studied French for any length of time, or English for that matter, know that there are usually multiple ways to respond or word phrases with the same or similar meaning, typically known as syntax. Even with one word responses, there is usually more than one word that will suffice, i.e. manger, avaler, dévorer, déjeuner, dîner, se nourrir, se sustenter, etc. J'espère que cela vous aiderait. Bonne chance. Ron
I have the same question. What am I missing?
Robert asked:View original

(arrivé) "cinq minutes en retard"

Shown as valid option, but my answer was marked with pink (error?) with the alternative "avec cinq minutes de retard" in blue (preference check mark?) although I received credit for the question

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Why is it no longer possible to print the quick lessons?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer
Bonjour Suzanne !

Sorry about that !
The share buttons will be back very soon, but in the meantime you can still print by pressing [ctrl]+[p] :)

À bientôt ! 
RonC1Correct answer

Here is a link from apple support concerning print commands on a Mac

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204135

I hope it helps.

RonC1
Bonjour Suzanne, I am not sure what the print issue is that you are experiencing as I just opened this lesson and was able to print it.
Merci, Aurélie. I was using the share buttons--I had not tried [ctrl]+[p]!
RonC1
Bonjour Aurélie, Je vois que vous étés revenue et j'ai une question. De temps en temps, il y a une carré verte au-dessous votre nom. Qu'est la signification? Merci en avance.
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Ron ! This a new feature we're rolling out to help highlight helpful comments. So far, I've tested it on my own answers, but we'll start applying it soon to the users' best answers :)
RonC1
Merci pour m'avoir répondu et bonne journée.
Thanks for all the help. I have a MAC and the comparable [ctrl]+[p] command causes a blank sheet to print. I can't copy any of the text either.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my question!

Why is it no longer possible to print the quick lessons?

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Why is this incorrect

I put Je suis dix minutes en retard i.e. Être plus en, not Avoir plus de. It was marked wrong. .....?
Asked 2 years ago
ChrisC1Correct answer

The two options are:

1) Je suis en retard de dix minutes.
2) J'ai dix minutes de retard.

The word order is off in your answer.

-- Chris.

Thanks v much! Aha

Why is this incorrect

I put Je suis dix minutes en retard i.e. Être plus en, not Avoir plus de. It was marked wrong. .....?

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Late or early in French

What is used most often in French, the “être” expression or the “avoir” expression? The “avoir” expression sounds like an intangible expression of quantity, j’ai deux bouteilles de lait mais j’ai deux heures de retard ou deux heures d’avance.
Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour William ! Based on my own usage, I'd say I tend to use the "avoir" expression more often, but I don't know if you can make a rule of it :) Both are perfectly colloquial. Bonne journée !

Late or early in French

What is used most often in French, the “être” expression or the “avoir” expression? The “avoir” expression sounds like an intangible expression of quantity, j’ai deux bouteilles de lait mais j’ai deux heures de retard ou deux heures d’avance.

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When would you use "tôt"?

Asked 2 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

Bonjour Lorraine !

The word "tôt" means "early" as opposed to "tard" (late) in French, to indicate a time in the day, i.e. "early in the morning". 

"Je me suis levé tôt." (I got up early.)
"Oh là là, il est tôt !" (Oh, it's early!)
"Tu es arrivé plus tôt que prévu." (You arrived earlier than expected.)
"En avance" and "en retard" indicate a relationship between those moments and a given time: you're early or late compared to that given time.

I hope that's helpful!
À bientôt !

When would you use "tôt"?

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J'aurai vs. Je serai. What's the difference?

I'm bit confused by these two examples: J'aurai sûrement un quart d'heure de retard. I will probably be fifteen minutes late. Je serai sûrement en retard d'un quart d'heure. I will probably be fifteen minutes late. If "j'aurai" and "je serai" both mean "I will", how do I know which one to use?
Asked 3 years ago
LauraKwiziq language super starCorrect answer

They don't really mean "I will," but rather "I will have" and "I will be," respectively.

J'aurai is the future of avoir - to have. So J'aurai sûrement un quart d'heure de retard literally means "I will surely have a quarter hour of lateness." Here, retard is a noun in French, so you "have" it.

Je serai is the future of être - to be. Je serai sûrement en retard d'un quart d'heure means I will surely be late by a quarter hour. Here, en retard is an adverb, so you are late.

The difference is probably easier to understand with different examples:

J'aurai du temps libre demain = I will have some free time tomorrow.

vs

Je serai là à midi = I will be there at noon.

J'aurai vs. Je serai. What's the difference?

I'm bit confused by these two examples: J'aurai sûrement un quart d'heure de retard. I will probably be fifteen minutes late. Je serai sûrement en retard d'un quart d'heure. I will probably be fifteen minutes late. If "j'aurai" and "je serai" both mean "I will", how do I know which one to use?

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How do we express "to make someone late?"

The Week One B2 writing challenge used "mettre" rather than "faire" to say when something (a taxi) made me late ("m'a mis en retard"). Is there a lesson with some examples on using mettre? Thanks.
Asked 3 years ago
AurélieKwiziq language super star

Bonjour John,

Unfortunately, we don't currently have a lesson on the expression "mettre <quelqu'un> en retard" (to make someone late), but it's an excellent suggestion!

In the meantime, here are a few examples for you to enjoy:
"Mon fils me met toujours en retard."    (My son always makes me late.)
"Ma voiture est tombée en panne, ce qui m'a mis(e) en retard."    (My car broke down, which made me late.)
"Ne me mets pas en retard !"    (Don't make me late!)

I hope that's useful!

A bientôt !

Bonjour, can we use "faire" like : "Il m'a fait en retard à cause de sa voiture est en panne"? Thanks.
AurélieKwiziq language super star
Bonjour Ly Fen ! No, in this context, you cannot use "faire", but you will use the expression "mettre < quelqu'un > en retard".
JimC1
There is the expression "mettre du temps" (employer un certain temps) You may recall in British English that we can use an expression "to put some time in ..." So I can see "mettre" translating to "The taxi employed a certain amount of time making you late" I hope this way of looking at the translation will help you? Alan

How do we express "to make someone late?"

The Week One B2 writing challenge used "mettre" rather than "faire" to say when something (a taxi) made me late ("m'a mis en retard"). Is there a lesson with some examples on using mettre? Thanks.

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