Does “upon his arrival” mean “the minute he arrives”?

Do “upon his arrival” and “on his arrival” mean the same thing?

1 Answer 1


"Upon his arrival" might mean "the minute he arrives" but it isn't necessarily that precise. It just means that the speaker considers the actions close enough to count as "at the same time" (for whatever purpose the speaker has in mind).

"Columbus hoped to gain fame and fortune upon his arrival in the Americas." It doesn't necessarily mean the exact same time, just that one will follow the other very quickly.

Macmillan Dictionary gives an example of using upon:

Barry had joined the army immediately upon leaving school.

It's obvious that Barry followed all the procedures to join the army and this does not happen the moment Barry was out from the school.

"On his arrival" and "Upon his arrival" don't have a difference in meaning, at least not one that's obvious in a couple minutes of thinking about it. I would probably prefer "upon" myself for style reasons.

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