I am learning how to cook Japanese and Thai food. Some of us have just begun apprenticeship. My master (an experienced cook. He was from Middlesbrough) taught me how to make sushi more than several times, but I just failed to do it. He did not blame me but told me to practise it more.
I told him

Thank you for your kindness, master. I will do my best and keep practising. Time will tell you that I am a good cook.

  • 1
    Interestingly enough in Russian it would be "time will show".
    – Anixx
    Jul 30, 2015 at 13:24

3 Answers 3


The correct proverb is "(Only) time will tell", not time will tell you.

It means that you will know the outcome, truth, or correctness of something after a period of time or sooner or later. For examples:

I don't know if their marriage will be successful. Only time will tell.

Only time will tell whether we made the right decision.


Time will tell you that I am a good cook.

Time will tell is an idiom/well-known phrase, but it sounds weird to me to use it to express a definite or expected future event. You can use it to express something that you are not sure will happen:

Time will tell whether or not I am a good cook.

Taken literally, time is not something that "tells" other than when the above idiom is used, so saying something like Time will tell you X doesn't sound right.

But, you are trying to say that you will be a good cook in the future. So you should use in time instead:

In time, you'll see that I'm a good cook.

In time, you'll see me become a good cook.

  • 2
    Thinking of @Anixx 's comment on the question, "time will show" would also probably be a good fit here, even in English. Jul 30, 2015 at 14:17
  • Yes, I think that the "tell" in "time will tell" is the "discern/reveal" meaning, not the "communicate" meaning.
    – hobbs
    Jul 30, 2015 at 17:31
  • 1
    Exactly, but there's no need for the "or not" (there rarely is): "Time will tell whether I am a good cook." Jul 31, 2015 at 6:28

It is an idiom:

(Only) time will tell

Prov. You will only know the outcome after time has passed.

So in your case it is correct but it is better if you remove "you" from the sentence:

(Only) time will tell that I am a good cook.

  • 5
    "(Only) time will tell IF I am a good cook" is better Jul 30, 2015 at 20:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .