grammatical expression: in the meantime

In The Mean TIme mob base

Last week, one of my readers asked me to write about the expression “in the meantime”, so I will do that today.

This expression is used when we want to talk about the period of time between two events. The first period of time can be now or a certain date or time; the second period of time is when something is supposed to happen. For example:

You can cut up these vegetables. In the meantime, I will start making the sauce.

I will start my new job at an international company in two months. In the meantime, I plan to study a lot and improve my English skills.

The party was supposed to start at 7:00, but I arrived in the area at 5:00 so, in the meantime, I went to a cafe and read a book.

A: Our work finishes at 6:00, but the office dinner doesn’t start until 7:30! What are we supposed to do in the meantime?!

B: Let’s just have a beer at the bar near the office.

As you can see, this expression can be used to talk about the past, the present or the future. In the case of the first example, the period of time that “in the meantime” is referring to is the time the person starts cutting up the vegetables, and the time they finish doing that. In the second example, the first period of time is now, and the second period of time is two months from now when the person starts their new job. In the last two examples, the periods of time are quite obvious because the person mentions exact times: between 5:00 and 7:00 (third example) and between 6:00 and 7:30 (last example).



  1. Agustín López Said:

    I want to know if the expression “period of time” is correct. I´m mexican and i have this doubt because in spanish is incorrect to say “periodo de tiempo”, that means literaly “period of time”.

    • Hi there.

      In English, we do sometimes say “period of time”. For example:

      We need to wait a certain period of time before we start the next project.

      Thanks for your question.


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