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I saw this sentence "Yesterday at this time, I was sitting at my desk at work." in this page

And then, I also saw this sentence "This time tomorrow I will be waiting at the doctor’s office." in this page

My question is that:

what are the difference between "at this time tomorrow / yesterday / next week..." and "this time tomorrow / yesterday / next week..."?

Are they the same?

In the dictionary,

time: [uncountable] the time shown on a clock in minutes and hours

The time is now half past ten

This time tomorrow I'll be in Canada.

also in another dictionary

at this time

(American English) at this particular moment

The president said his actions were ‘the right ones at this time’.

It seems like "at this time" is an idiom

  • "This time tomorrow" is a time reference. "At this time tomorrow" is a pointer to a time reference. – Lawrence Sep 17 '17 at 5:54
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In your example phrase

(at) this time tomorrow
tomorrow (at) this time

have the same meaning and are interchangeable.

I'm not sure if it rates as an idiom, but the "at" may be dropped as often happens when phrases are commonly and often used.

The phrase is a semi-specific time reference, maybe not as exact as

Tomorrow at 10:00 (assuming it is currently 10:00) I will be at the doctor's.

but more exact than just using

Tomorrow I will be at the doctor's.

It tends to have the meaning of "around this time".

  • Cambridge dictionary entry for time shows use of both "this time" and "at this time". "Just think, this time (= at the same particular point during) next week we'll be in Aruba." "It’s unusual to get snow at this time of year." The second sentence isn't the exact same usage but it's very similar. – urnonav Apr 25 '18 at 17:39

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