I went to the cinema in May and it was on then.

What exactly does "it was on" mean in the sentence above? Does it mean it was on theaters? or it was a hit back then?

  • 1
    Because you haven't furnished any additonal context, either interpretation could be correct – although your second interpretation is a bit more slangy than your first.
    – J.R.
    Dec 16, 2013 at 10:29

1 Answer 1


It means that the film being discussed was showing in the movie theatres back in May.

Ring ring
"Hello, Berkeley Cinemas here."
- "Hi. Can you tell me what's on tonight please?"
"The Desolation of Smaug. Showings at 5.00 and 8.00pm."
- "Thanks!"

  • Only 3 hours between shows- you must have fewer previews than we do ;-)
    – Jim
    Dec 16, 2013 at 3:07
  • Thanks for the answer. This expression is new/strange to me "The film (...) was showing". I've never heard of it written like this before. I did a quick Google search and picked up this sentence "Find out what (films are showing) at your local cinema"! I though films are shown, they do not show!
    – learner
    Dec 16, 2013 at 3:26
  • @learner - Perhaps the phrase "Now Showing" (as in this movie is now showing, usually found on advertising boards) might be a bit more familiar for you. Dec 16, 2013 at 5:11
  • @Jim - haha yes, I did think about that and even checked the runtime before posting my answer (161 minutes!) I'm sure you're right that the real gap between showings is longer :-)
    – toandfro
    Dec 16, 2013 at 6:57

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