I'm looking for an expression. Let me explain:

I have a meeting at certain time. What I want to say is that I will be there in time, but not before. I'll be there too close to time meeting.

I would excuse myself to not arrive with more than enough time. I was thinking in something like I'll arrive in time or just in time (which both would be true... I guess), but those expressions look to me that I will arrive some time before the meeting.
For instance, if the meeting would be at 19:30, I'll arrive at 19:29 or even 19:30, but I will be there, anyway.

  • 1
    You could say you expect to arrive on time, which means at the agreed moment.
    – oerkelens
    May 21, 2015 at 14:34
  • @oerkelens, Can you tell the difference between on and in in this context? Or is it in time wrong? My point is to put emphasis in the fact that I will arrive too close to meeting time, excuse myself and ask they don't leave.
    – Albert
    May 21, 2015 at 14:36
  • Do you want a sort of apologies for not beeing there before the meeting time ? Or you just want to say you won't be there before ?
    – Random
    May 21, 2015 at 14:37
  • @Random, I guess both, no? Something like Sorry, but I'll be there very close to meeting time. Wait for me.
    – Albert
    May 21, 2015 at 14:41
  • 1
    On time means you are there at the agreed moment. Not before, not after. Like the bus is on time. In time means you will be there soon enough to attend the meeting. You may even arrive 4 hours early. (Note that a bus that leaves early is not on time but it may eventually arrive at its destination in time)
    – oerkelens
    May 21, 2015 at 14:41

3 Answers 3


Promptly, precisely, or on the dot would all convey "not before" but they may not quite fit this situation.

I would probably say, "I'll make it by 19:30" or "I'll get there by 19:30" in casual conversation. Saying by promises that one will not be late, but make it [there] or get there focuses the sentence on one's short arrival.

If you are uncertain or unable to promise punctuality, then add the word try. "I'll try to be there by 19:30."

Another option for spoken English would be to stress the word at; "I'll be there at 19:30." This verbal emphasis implies "at but not before" in a "just barely" sort of way.


In time has the underlying meaning that you may be there some time before the meeting starts, but not just before it starts, but just in time means what you want to say:

I'll arrive just in time for the meeting.


I'm probably going to arrive right before the meeting starts.

is how I would say it in your situation, this communicates that there is no time between your arrival and the start of the meeting.

  • Thanks. So, as @Random pointed out, just in time and on time has the same meaning, right?
    – Albert
    May 21, 2015 at 15:33
  • On time is less specific, this may be to your advantage if you don't want to make the person expecting you worry that you'll be late.
    – LawrenceC
    May 21, 2015 at 15:44

I'll only just make it

I'll just about make it

You can also change either to 'I should' to add uncertainty, i.e. you think you can be there at 1930, but may be a little late.

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