How to Ask Someone to Be on Time in English

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Do you have friends, siblings, or relatives who’re always late when you plan to do something together? I believe most of us have. Even in our professional life, we find people late at the office or a business meeting. They need reminders from others or to be somewhere on time. So, how do you do it?

In this post, I’ll share some tips and expressions to help you politely request someone to be on time.

“Would you please be on time?” or “Please be on time” are two common ways to ask someone to be on time. Your words, tone, and gestures must be polite, and you should not say anything offensive or humiliating, no matter how bad someone is about showing up on time.

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People don’t like to hear negative things about them. So, when you ask someone to be on time, they may find that you consider them unpunctual. So, you have to be very careful while talking about punctuality. Here are some ways you can politely ask someone to be on time.

16 English Expressions to Ask Someone to Show Up on Time

Depending on the person and the formality, you can use different expressions to ask someone to be on time.

  • Would you please make it on time? I’ll be there for a short time.
  • May I expect you to be on time? I’ll have to attend another meeting.
  • Please come on time. We all will be there by 7 PM.
  • Is it possible to come at 4 PM sharp?
  • Could you attend the event on time? We’ll be waiting.
  • The meeting is at 10 AM. Please be on time.
  • The CEO will attend the meeting. So, please make sure everybody is on time.
  • How about scheduling the party for Monday at 7 PM? Can everybody come on time?
  • The last train will leave at 1 PM. So we must be there 15 minutes before.
  • I appreciate your presence on time tomorrow.
  • I would like to thank you in advance for attending tomorrow’s meeting on time.
  • It would be a pleasure to have the meeting tomorrow on time.
  • I hope you can show up on time.
  • I believe you will be able to attend the seminar on time.
  • Your presence on time will be appreciated.
  • Can you join us online tomorrow at 5 PM sharp?

While using the above expressions, you must consider other things to ask someone to arrive on time. Well! Now, let me give you some tips so you can politely ask someone to be on time.

#1 Motivate Them to Show up on Time

If your best friend is usually late for every event, you should motivate them to change this habit. You must try to explain how important it is to show up on time.

Many people don’t know or believe it is important to show up on time. Even some people don’t think they can change their habit of being late. Research says that almost 40% of people who are usually late don’t know they can learn to be on time.  

So, you should always help them to practice being on time. For example, suppose you and your friend are invited to the same event. In that case, you and your friend can go together. You can go to their place and take them with you on time. If you keep doing this for a particular time, the practice will develop in your friend too.

Then after a particular time, you’ll see the differences. And once they will develop the habit of being on time, keep them motivated to keep the good habit up. You should always appreciate them whenever they make something on time.

#2 Let Them Fix the Schedule

If you have friends who are usually late, it’s better not to force them to be on time. Instead, let them decide their convenient time. For example, you cannot expect your friend to join a party at 8 PM whose office ends at 7:30.

In such cases, it’s pretty obvious that your friend may show up late or miss the party. So it’s always better to match your schedule to other people’s convenient times. So, if possible, let other people decide when the meeting or the party should be.

If they fix the schedule, it will give them a sense of responsibility to come on time. They will not be able to show excuses for not being on time.   

#3 Remind Them Gently to Be on Time

To help people show up on time, you can remind them gently beforehand. For example, suppose you have a meeting with someone at 7 PM. And from your experience, you can guess the person may come late. In that case, you can gently remind them at 6 PM.

This reminder will help the person to realize the importance of the meeting, and thus you can expect them to be on time.

However, some people may find it insulting if you remind them about something repeatedly. So, make sure you stay within the limit and consider the relationship with the person.

#4 Don’t Be Rude in Your Words, Tone & Body Language

Suppose someone is late for any meeting or an event. In that case, it’s natural that other people associated with that meeting or event find it disgusting. However, you should not say anything rude to the person for being late. Instead, you must control and express your anger politely.

You must use polite words, voice tone, and body language whenever you talk to a person.

Now, let’s learn some English expressions that can help you to ask someone to be on time.

Sample Conversation: Asking Someone to Be on Time in English

Situation: Jordan has noticed that his colleague, Claire, has been frequently late to team meetings. He decides to talk to her about the importance of punctuality.

Jordan: Hey Claire, do you have a moment?

Claire: Sure, Jordan. What’s up?

Jordan: I wanted to talk about our team meetings. I’ve noticed you’ve been arriving a bit late recently. Is everything okay?

Claire: Oh, I’m sorry about that. I’ve had back-to-back tasks in the mornings, and sometimes they run over.

Jordan: I understand that things can get busy. However, it’s essential for all of us to be punctual for the meetings. It ensures we’re all on the same page and shows respect for each other’s time. Can you please try to be on time in the future?

Claire: Of course, Jordan. I apologize for the oversight. I’ll make sure to manage my time better and be punctual for our meetings.

Jordan: Thank you, Claire. I appreciate it.

In Conclusion

Whenever you ask someone to show up on time, it’s best to share how important it is to be on time. However, there will still be some people who are always late. I also have some friends and colleagues who are often late.

You must handle those people with the best care. Try to help them and let them develop the good habit of being on time slowly. Don’t rush and be disappointed in them for not being punctual.

I hope the above English expressions and the tips will help you to ask someone to be on time.

Keep helping people regarding this.

Thank you for reading.

Happy learning!

1. How can I politely remind someone to be punctual?

You can say, “I just wanted to remind you about our meeting at 10 am. It’s crucial for us to start on time.”

2. Is it rude to emphasize punctuality?

Not if it’s done respectfully. Punctuality is a sign of professionalism and consideration for others.

3. How can I stress the importance of being on time without sounding demanding?

You can explain the reasoning, like, “It’s important for us to start on time because we have a tight schedule.”

4. What if someone is frequently late despite reminders?

You might consider having a more in-depth conversation to understand any underlying issues and find potential solutions.

5. Can I set reminders or alarms for someone who struggles with punctuality?

Offering to set a reminder can be helpful, but ensure it’s done with their consent.

6. How do I address chronic tardiness in a group setting?

You can make a general statement like, “Let’s all aim to be on time for our meetings to make the most of them.”

7. Is it okay to start a meeting without waiting for latecomers?

Yes, it’s essential to respect the time of those who are punctual. Latecomers can catch up later.

8. How can I encourage a culture of punctuality in a team?

Leading by example and recognizing those who are consistently punctual can help emphasize its importance.

9. Should I consider scheduling meetings at different times if punctuality is an issue?

Yes, sometimes adjusting the timing can help, especially if team members have valid reasons for their tardiness.

10. Is it appropriate to address tardiness in a performance review?

If it impacts work quality and team dynamics, it’s essential to address it constructively during reviews.

Niaj A A Khan is an ESL Instructor with over 7 years of experience in teaching & developing resources at different universities and institutes. Mr. Khan is also a passionate writer working on his first book, "Learn English at Ease."

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