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Is there a difference in meaning between writing "in earlier time" and "earlier", for example

I wasn't able to send you an email (earlier \ in earlier time).

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    'In earlier time' isn't a correct/commonly used expression in any context I can think of. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 15:47
  • "In earlier time" is not idiomatic. Where have you heard this phrase? It's possible to say "at an earlier time" but not in this context.
    – Andrew
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 15:48
  • @Andrew At an earlier time would work quite well in this context. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 17:10
  • @JasonBassford You'll have to give me an example. Any way I try to fit it in, it sounds forced.
    – Andrew
    Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 21:34
  • @Andrew The one you alluded to sounds fine to me: I wasn't able to send you email at an earlier time. It's just a bit more formal than the alternative. Commented Aug 4, 2019 at 22:08

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The problem is that I used the wrong preposition. Check the following example which is extracted from The Guardian:

However, BBC bosses may be reluctant to show the ceremony at an earlier time as it would mean bumping a substantially more popular show such as Call the Midwife from a peak Sunday early evening time slot.

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