Is this late or early? It's a bit unclear to me.

Because this question body wasn't meeting good quality standards of this site, I had to write this additional sentence.

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    It's neither fast nor slow- it's just in time. – Jim Dec 24 '13 at 1:35

Not a moment too soon implies that something happened when it was almost too late; just in time

Help arrived - and not a moment too soon.

Another minute and he'd have drowned; she found him in the pool not a moment too soon.

With this idiom, the five words are usually kept together. One may say

She arrived not a moment too soon.

But not (if using the idiom as intended)

She did not arrive a moment too soon. (incorrect)

Picky, I know, but it's idiomatic usage.


It is an idiom, and it is not helpful to try to analyse its literal meaning. The literal meaning is a sort of litotes, where "not too soon" means "almost too late".

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