"if time allows" or "if time permits"? Which one is better in which case?

They look identical to me. But I suspect the second is more suitable in written English?


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    I looked it up in the Oxford Collocations Dictionary, the phrase if time permits is usual; however, I didn't find if time allows. So if I were you, I would choose if time permits just because it appears there. – Fantasier Apr 15 '14 at 17:01

IMO, both are interchangeable but then there's a subtle difference.

While allow simply favors someone, permission sounds more authoritative. Reference dictionary supports this.

Allow's history is interesting (on the same page).

1250–1300; Middle English alowen < Anglo-French al ( l ) o ( u ) er to place, allot, allow, Old French aloer to place < Late Latin allocāre; see al-, locus; the older sense “approve, sanction” and Middle English sense “praise” probably by taking the Anglo-French v. as representing Medieval Latin, Latin adlaudāre to praise; see ad-, laud

Now, in your case, it's the time and not an authority (such as government) or a person so either word can go. But had it been some government (for instance), the above statement may be considered.


I do agree that both can be sound & true. I've heard a lot from native people here. But in my humble idea the term " permit" is more prevalent than its counterpart.

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