Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

mark time in English

When you say goodbye to someone in English and they reply by saying “later!” what do they mean?

What are some other natural ways that English use the word “later” to mark time?

Find out in today’s episode.


Hi Lindsay and Michelle!- I’m Yukiko from Osaka in Japan.

I really enjoy listening to your podcasts and your fun conversations! Thank you so much for the fun time!!

I have a question.

How would you use the expression “later on”? Why don’t you just say “later” instead? Is there a difference? And I would also like to know how to use other expressions with similar meanings such as “in a bit,” “in a minute,” or “in a second.”

You guys would make me super happy if you answered my question!!!

Yoroshiku (that’s a Japanese expression, and there’s no way to translate it into English. It means something like thanks in advance.)



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Good question!

There are a lot of directions we could have taken with today’s lesson.

We’re going to focus on the first part of the question.


Two ways we use “later”:

  • Casual goodbye (see ya)
  • Marking time (future or past), (later that day, he walked up to me and …)

Today let’s focus on the narrating since you asked about “later on” and it could also be used in the casual goodbye but it’s more common when you are narrating.


Here are some examples of how it’s used when we narrate events and mark time:

  • A: Where did you go on your date Friday night?
  • B: Oh we started with dinner then later (later on) we went to a late-night movie


Other ways to mark time:

  • In a bit (I can help you in a bit)
  • After a while (we went to the park but after a while we got tired and went home)
  • In a few minutes, in a few (I’ll be over in a few)


Any questions from today’s episode?

Let us know in the comments below.

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