Peter had applied for a teaching position at a school, and he agreed to start his employment on 25-April-2016. But Peter did not go to the school on the day as promised, he came to the school three days later without any good reasons and so was fired from the job.

Given that situation, I am trying describe it in a simple way,

Peter was fired from his job because he could not come to work on time on 25-April-2015.

But I am not sure whether using "on time" in the sentence can fully describe what happened, or it is incorrectly used. Will people think think he got fired because he was late to work when seeing "on time" in the sentence.

  • 1
    could not = was unable. He had a sprained ankle and could not run fast. Since the original explicitly mentions that Peter gave no good reason, "could not" would be the wrong choice, because it supplies (dreams up) an explanation that Peter did not supply.
    – TimR
    May 26, 2016 at 13:07
  • 1
    You can also say: Peter was fired from his job because he didn't start his employment on 25-April-2015 as promised. This is a minor detail, but try to write the date in a formal way, depends on where you live: Peter was fired from his job because he didn't start his employment on April 25, 2015, as promised.
    – Usernew
    May 26, 2016 at 14:48

4 Answers 4


You are right that your use of "on time" will imply late arrival on the day. You might instead say

as scheduled


as agreed

I prefer the latter, because I think that the crucial problem was that Peter had said he we come on a specific date and did not arrive. There is an implication that he also did not contact the employer to explain the problem. It's not just that he "could not" come (we can imagine many acceptable reasons why he could not come) but also that he didn't notify his employer.

Hence I would also modify "could not"

Peter was fired from his job because without explanation he failed to come to work as agreed on 25-May-2015.

  • 2
    +1 for "failed to" and overall sentence, but I do think we should add that he didn't come on the 26th or the 27th either, which aggravates his case.
    – Azami
    May 26, 2016 at 9:46

As @djna mentioned in the answer, using "on time" is not appropriate as it means he was late on that particular date.

There are good suggestions, but here is another one.

Peter was fired from his job because he didn't (or failed to) show up for three consecutive days from April 25, 2015 which was his first day at the school.

Especially if there was a weekend between April 25, 2015 and April 28, 2015 (I didn't check the calendar), this sentence clearly states that he didn't show up for three days consecutively and it led to the unfortunate consequence (his being fired).


You can explain the situation quite directly by avoiding the word "not":

Peter was fired from his job after he showed up four days late.

As others have said (including you), using on time would generally mean he was late, not that he was a no-show.


This does not exactly describe what happened. He got fired for being absent 3 days in a row, not just for being late/absent on the 25th.

You'll need a sentence a bit more complex in order to describe perfectly what happened:

Peter was fired from his job because he could not come to work on his starting day, 25-May-2015, but instead started on 28-May-2015 without any good reasons.

Or something along the line.


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