Just as students would be unwise to study around the clock, it would be equally imprudent for them to spend every ounce of their time chilling with friends.

Ounce is a unit of weight, can it be used to describe time? I would prefer words like moment, second, minute.

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    Certainly, "every ounce of effort" is commonly used... but I've never heard "every ounce of their time." It makes more sense to say, "every [second, minute, moment., etc.] of their time." Ii might make sense used poetically, if weights or measures were used elsewhere. You can see if there is any such entry in Ngram, though. Commented Apr 13, 2023 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


No, measurements which have defined units should take their proper units. It is incorrect to do otherwise, and sounds wrong. "Every second of their time" would be correct.

There is room for poetic license when it comes to quantities that can't be measured physically ("An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.")

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    There are a few "mixed" unit expressions that are common and colloquially accepted: the exact phrase "ton of time", for example, shows up tens of millions of times on a google search even though it's impossible to measure time in tons. They are pretty rare though and a learner should avoid mixing time/weight/distance/etc. willy-nilly. Commented Apr 14, 2023 at 15:38
  • @CanadianYankee "every ounce of one's energy/effort" is fairly common, and we don't measure energy in ounces either. Perhaps that's what happened here. The author was originally going to write energy/effort, but was thinking of time because of the previous mention of "around the clock". The result looks like a mixed metaphor, likely an error.
    – Billy Kerr
    Commented Apr 14, 2023 at 20:49

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