If there's an event yet to come and two people talking to each other about it, if one of them doesn't know about the day and the time, can he ask (What day is it?) and (What time is it?)? Isn't it misundrestood that he is asking about the day and the time of now?


A: There's a game this month.

B: What time is it?

A: It's at 8:30 P.M.

B: What day is it?

A: On the fifth.

2 Answers 2


Don't confuse the name of a verb tense with the way we use it to talk about time. For example, present tense does not always refer to present time:

  • Your appointment is tomorrow.
  • He goes in for surgery next Saturday.
  • The story runs in next Sunday's Post.
  • Q: How do we know it's dinnertime? A: When the dinner bell rings at six o'clock.

The verbs "is," "goes," "runs," "do," and "rings" are all present simple, but they refer here to future time.

Here is another example:

John: I'm going to have a party.

Jane: When is it?

The present tense of the verb "to be" is often used to talk about the time of things that will happen in the future.




  • Another question: Which one is right? 1.There's a game in this month. or 2.There's a game this month.
    – Reza
    Jan 14, 2016 at 14:51
  • @Reza : 2. There's a game this month. Jan 14, 2016 at 14:57

Though it correct to answer with what time [...] I would not use the verb form of to be in this context.

  • What time does it take place?

  • At what time does it take place?

  • What time does it take place at?

Same goes with day

I feel What time is it? would rather be understood as What time is it at this exact moment?

  • 1
    Agreed. The unambiguous question to me would be "when is it?" I would always take "what day/time is it?" to mean now, not a future event.
    – The Real Bill
    Jan 14, 2016 at 12:53
  • So if we don't take the pronoun it, it would be correct to use the noun itself: "What time's the game?" or "What day is the game?" The question is not whether to use "to be" verb or not. The question is that if we can use a pronoun instead of nouns or not?
    – Reza
    Jan 14, 2016 at 15:06
  • I would consider it correct, yes. And no, the question was never if to be was right in the above case. I just took up the OP's wording and therefore also mentioned What time is it?
    – jera
    Jan 14, 2016 at 15:09

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