As in: "At 2:15 AM, she entered the victim's bedroom carrying a knife."

Can that exact time be considered a part of an introductory phrase and split the sentence with a comma?

Also, if that could be the case, could you provide any websites where this exact structure is used? I've been looking for some examples, but the closest I could find was "On 12 July, the new law came into effect". None seem to be giving exact time in minutes as an introductory clause.

Thank you.

  • 2
    If the exact time turns out to be important (e.g. in a detective story), you can certainly mention it. Nov 19, 2021 at 14:10
  • 2
    I'm not sure "introductory phrase" is a useful concept here. What you have is an ordinary "adverb of time" clause that's been "fronted" as an "inversion" (stylised literary device) from its default position after the verb in English: She entered the victim's bedroom at 2:15am carrying a knife. It's syntactically irrelevant whether the adverb of time specifies an exact time or not - syntactically, it's still the same construction if we switch to a more vague adverbial element: She entered the bedroom at some time last night (which could also be "fronted" in the same way). Nov 19, 2021 at 17:14
  • 1
    Without wishing to make too much of it, I'd say this sentence is a better example of an "introductory phrase". In principle, that preceding sentence also has a "fronted adverbial clause", but for reasons I wouldn't want to get bogged down in, I think "introductory phrase" describes the usage better. Nov 19, 2021 at 17:23
  • @FumbleFingers, that was very helpful. Thank you! Dec 4, 2021 at 4:19
  • Times are always "at" to indicate a specific time.
    – Lambie
    Apr 19, 2022 at 15:17

3 Answers 3


Yes, it is perfectly fine. Personally, I would expect more sentences with exact times. Like "At 2:18, she slit the victims throat". ... "At 2:44, she was back at her own front door, and at 2:46 she took a long hot shower to remove all the blood".


It is quite correct. Here is a twitter user using exactly this construction

At 2:30 am, he drops Diana off and home. At 3 am, just two miles from the Broughtons' house, two dairy workers see a car stopped at a crossroads. They look inside and find Josslyn Hay dead, kneeling in the footwell of the front passenger seat. source

Twitter isn't always a great example of grammatical English but in this case it is correct. There is nothing surprising about placing a time expression with "at" at the start of the sentence in an introductory phrase.


Yes, that prepositional phrase ("at 2:15 AM") is fine there. By the way, we usually don't write "AM" like that in a sentence, at least in AmE, but sometimes it occurs.

I'm not sure why you had trouble finding this construction online; I Googled "at 12:00" (with quotation marks), and the first three hits that I got (I didn't bother looking any further) all included that exact phrase:


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