English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm free at around 7PM.

Is it correct?

share|improve this question

closed as off topic by tchrist, Matt E. Эллен, RegDwigнt Aug 22 '12 at 9:34

Questions on English Language & Usage Stack Exchange are expected to relate to English language and usage within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There's nothing wrong with using the present indicative instead of future tense when nailing down an action to a time or speaking of things in the future as if they have already occurred. There is even a literary device known as prolepsis, which deals with exactly this.

How often have you heard someone in a movie or TV show say:

Reach for that gun and you're a dead man.

That is one example of prolepsis. Your example is another.

share|improve this answer

There’s an argument that “at around” is not strictly correct, as either you’re free at 7 p.m. or around 7 p.m., but not both.

But it’s certainly widely used colloquially.

share|improve this answer
good to know, thx. – IAdapter Jan 6 '11 at 14:20
Ther's another argument that 'free around seven' would mean from (say) ten to seven to ten past, while 'free at around seven' means from circa 7 o'clock onwards. But in reality it all depends on context. – TimLymington Dec 28 '11 at 19:46

In everyday usage, I say "I'll be free around seven."

share|improve this answer

It's understandable, and would probably be used by most native speakers too.

It would be more (temporally) correct if you said "I will be free at around 7PM", but I'm not sure that anyone would really pick up on the difference.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.