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-- Shall we go for a vacation?

-- Let's __ a time for it.

A. make B. find C. get D. fix

I narrow the answers down to "make" or "find", and I prefer "find", but there is "make an appointment". What do you think?

I also wonder if "time" can be used as a countable noun? I thought it was always uncountable. I would have said "let's find some time for it" instead. What would you think?

Thank!

3 Answers 3

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finding a time implies that unallocated time was available and it just needed to be identified and allocated for your purpose.

making a time implies that a deliberate decision was made to do something instead of other things. That is, you made the time available by actively forgoing something else.

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  • I edited my answer. The question of whether it should be a time or just time is a second question only introduced in the last paragraph of the post. But in answer: a time should be used when the intent is to actually allocate a specific time slot on the calendar. E.g., Let's find a time... how about between 3 and 4 on Thursday? Just finding time refers to the desire to do something in the abstract but without a specific timeslot identified.
    – Jim
    Dec 7, 2013 at 23:56
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    Wouldn't "make time for" more idiomatic? The question sounds as if to choose "find a time for sth." vs. "make time for sth.". Dec 8, 2013 at 6:05
  • @DamkerngT.- they are both idiomatic and are used in slightly different situations as I've outlined in my comment above. If I say, "We should make time to go to the circus" I mean that I think it would be a good idea to go and that I think it would be worth rearranging our schedules in order to see them, if necessary. But that's more of just an abstract comment on how worthwhile I think the circus is. But if I say, "We should make a time to go to see the circus," I'm implying that we should actually sit down and pick a time (and rearrange our schedules if necessary) to go see it.
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2013 at 8:41
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    @DamkerngT. Yes, make time is idiomatic while make a time is not. In COCA, I find 411 results for the former and only 11 for the latter; on inspection, all 11 are used in phrases where time is not the head noun, so all 11 are false positives. In contrast, out of a random sampling of 100 out of the 411 results for make time, almost all were actual examples.
    – user230
    Dec 8, 2013 at 17:14
  • @snailboat- Here is an example of an actual usage I found in ngrams: She had promised to call and make a time to see his garden... (Note there are two different links in this comment)
    – Jim
    Dec 8, 2013 at 17:22
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  1. I think much "make time" is more common than "make a time." I suspect most instances of "make a time" are coming from non-native speakers.

  2. In fact, "fix a time" is quite common and in my opinion is the best answer to this question. ("Find time" is more common than "find a time" although the latter sounds better, but still quite wrong, than "make a time.") But "fix a time" works well when we use "time" as a count noun meaning "date."

  3. The sentence "shall we go for a vacation" strikes me as excessively old-fashioned, but maybe it is just British. More commonly, at least in American English, one would say "Let's go on a vacation" or "Do you want to go on a vacation?"

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I think "fix a time" is the best answer because it covers more aspects of a vacation whereas other terms may imply an effect on time such as finances and logistics, which might not be relevant to both parties.

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  • Rls -- Can you provide a little information about why you think this is true, and which English speakers are likely to agree with you? For example, are you a native speaker? Of which kind of English?
    – Jasper
    Mar 19, 2015 at 15:57

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