Given this sentence:

Frankly, I was deeply offended the instant you left me.

This web page covers the sentence

the instant I heard it

which is grammatically similar to the above sentence, in the Translations section, so the construction looks legitimate. I'm not sure, though.

Is the use of "the instant" correct in my example sentence?

  • Yes, it' fine. It's similar to "the moment". "The instant" is used in the sense of "at the exact time" etc.
    – ralph.m
    Nov 28, 2015 at 22:33
  • It's a very interesting question. The web site you point to (as far as I can see) only implies that its use is legitimate, but doesn't cover grammatically why. "The instant you left me" is common (in the sense that it doesn't sound wrong) but actually I can't explain why the grammar is correct to my own satisfaction. The sentence appears to be a contraction, actually. It comprises a statement (I was offended) followed by a noun (the instant) without a preposition. It's "fine" in the sense that it sounds fine, but I'm curious about what class of "acceptable" grammar it falls into! Nov 28, 2015 at 22:35
  • Actually, I convinced myself it's fine and added an answer to that effect :) Nov 28, 2015 at 22:38
  • It's grammatically correct. Whether it's what you intend is harder to say.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 28, 2015 at 22:52
  • @HotLicks What do you mean in particular?
    – cadaniluk
    Nov 28, 2015 at 22:53

1 Answer 1


It appears to be fine on the grounds that statements about time are fine to have an abstract noun representing the time, following main clause.

For example, "I am fine today".

This has the same grammar as "I was offended yesterday", which has the same grammar as "I was offended the instant you left me".

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