Interested in the language of this disciplinary technique, I read on the Internet that children can be in time out but I was also looking for how to tell a child that they are in time out and when they are done their time out.

So how would you say just that in both Englishes across the pond. An example would be very appreciated in order to show how to use the word/phrase/sentence in both cases.

  • 1
    If you're worried about saying You're out of time out! then don't be. There are no absolute rules for which prepositions are acceptable in contexts like this, but the fact that the "compound noun" time out includes a word which on its own could be a preposition doesn't affect whether or not that same preposition can be used in clauses involving that compound noun. Aug 13, 2016 at 11:54
  • Thanks @FumbleFingers I'm off hook then. Out of time out is simple for me.
    – learner
    Aug 13, 2016 at 13:43
  • You might know that the first shot in a game of snooker can be called the "break-off" (hyphenated or not, one word or two; they're all fine). So He potted a ball off the break-off is another another example of a related usage which would be perfectly okay to native speakers. Aug 13, 2016 at 13:52

1 Answer 1


In the UK, the term the naughty step- the bottom step of the stairs- is often used. This term is much easier to use in conversation. You can say that a child is on the naughty step, off the naughty step, you can tell a child to go to the naughty step or to get off the naughty step.

This document uses the term "time in" for the state of not being in time out, but it appears in apostrophes which suggests that they do not consider it to be a real term.

This guide suggests that you can release a child by saying

You're being quiet, so you may come out of time out now

Many, however, feel that this casts the parent in the role of jailer. Other guides like this one therefore recommend going to the child at the end of the time out and reminding them why they were placed on time out, then telling them they need to say sorry for their behavior. When they do apologize, the parent is nice to the child and does not mention the time out again.

  • Thanks @FumbleFingers and JavaLatte for helping out, much appreciated. I noticed only few people help in these topics.
    – learner
    Sep 20, 2016 at 7:42

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