When I have to catch a train, I'm always worried that I'll miss it. So, I like getting/ to get to the station in plenty of time.

In grammar in use book, the bold part has been considered as correct answer. I am wondering why.

What is more, would you show me a more detailed explanation or another synonym for the following?-- I have some problem with especially using the preposition in along with plenty of time.

in plenty of time

My specific question is here:

Although there has been mentioned something an habit or something like that-- considering the adverb"always"--,so why don't we say getting?

Thanks in advance

  • You are right. This sentence is not correct, in that it does't convey the right meaning. Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 7:27
  • I like to reach the station plenty of time ahead Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 7:59
  • Nima, I think you forgot to bold the section of your sentence you're asking about.
    – miltonaut
    Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 8:54
  • I am so sorry, as I forgot to bold it,
    – nima
    Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 9:42

1 Answer 1


Regarding the use of in with time:

There's a couple of common expressions that use in with time (there's probably more than below):

In time - means before an understood deadline of some sort. It differs from on time - on time means you arrived at the correct time - in time may mean you got there early.

("In time" can mean "when circumstances allow" or "eventually" - it will usually but not always start the sentence, or precede the subject-verb part of the sentence, i.e. In time, we will conquer the enemy or *If you keep working at it, in time you will succeed.)

In plenty of time - means with an ample amount of time left over.

For in time and in plenty of time, the point of time that you arrive is "within" or "inside of" the range of time you have to be at the destination, so "in" makes sense.

Let's say we are talking about a train - the train leaves at 5:00PM, and you learned of the train leaving then at 3:00PM. You arrived at 4:45PM. 4:45PM is in the range of 3:00PM to 5:00PM.

Some others:

In good time - equivalent to in plenty of time (people racing one another comes to mind with this)

In enough time - when something is ready - The cookies are baking. In enough time we can eat them.

In no time - means something has taken no time to happen, or a very short duration of time passed. - I was driving recklessly and got to the station in no time.


I like getting to the station in plenty of time.

I like to get to the station in plenty of time.

These sound fine to me, but are something you'd hear in speech more than see in writing in my opinion.

Regarding the difference between getting and to get:

In my initial opinion as a native speaker, there is not a difference between them. However, this says the following:

Using a gerund (-ing form) suggests that you are referring to real activities or experiences. Using an infinitive (to X) suggests that you are talking about potential or possible activities or experiences.

So, since you are talking about a potential activity, to get is the right thing to use.

  • "to get to the station in plenty of time", doesn't that also mean "it took a plenty of time to reach the station"? Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 13:10
  • No. If you explicitly state a duration, then it means that - i.e. "I got to the station in 3 hours." means it took you 3 hours to get to the station. "I got to the station in plenty of time." means you arrived at the station on time. See my edits, I clarified quite a bit and made some corrections after really thinking about this.
    – LawrenceC
    Commented Dec 31, 2014 at 18:24

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