In the expression we leave at eight thirty for nine, what time is the departure going to be?

  • I have wondered the very same thing since hearing the expression used by Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon in The Trip (at 1:10–1:15) in their imagined preparations for battle, after rising at dawn. – Sven Yargs Sep 1 '18 at 0:55

There is possibly a little ambiguity here, since this type of expression is occasionally used to mean "we will plan to meet early in case there are delays or stragglers."

So it might for example be said "we will meet at 8:30 for a 9:00 start", meaning that it will acceptable to arrive at any point within the half-hour, though arriving early is encouraged.

  • I've never heard it but this quote indicates you're correct: "It appeared that 'six-thirty for seven o'clock precisely' meant seven-fifteen." gutenberg.org/cache/epub/5247/pg5247.html – z7sg Ѫ Aug 6 '11 at 16:25
  • In these days of mobile phones I suppose you'd just ring the people you were supposed to be leaving with at 8:30 if they weren't there by then. I might wait if they then said they wouldn't arrive for another 30 minutes, but I'd probably be exceptionally irritated. So I might just say "Sod you, then!" and go without them. – FumbleFingers Aug 6 '11 at 23:05
  • ...I would not excuse them for choosing to place this interpretation on the agreed timerscale. :) – FumbleFingers Aug 6 '11 at 23:07
  • Sure, I agree but this question does not belong here. – Lambie Aug 31 '18 at 21:47

It means you leave at 8:30 expecting to arrive wherever you need to be by 9:00.


All the above answers are incorrect. It's a British expression that just means show up anytime between 8:30 and 9--it's often used for evening events with dinner preceded by a social hour (i.e., drinks).

  • 2
    "The party starts at 8.30 for 9" certainly means this, but "leave at 8.30 for 9"? – Tim Lymington Aug 31 '18 at 21:23

what time is the departure going to be?

The departure time is at 8:30


It depends where you are going and how you are going there, it also depends which departure you are talking about. If you are leaving your house to get to a railway station (or bus stop or rendezvous point) from which the actual journey will start you will depart from your house at 7:30, take about 20 minutes to get to the station then the train (or bus or convoy) will depart at 8:00.

The form is also used for performance times. If you are in a band or and the instruction is to be at a gig venue at 7:00 for 8:00 you are expected to arrive at 7:00 so that PA can be set up, instruments tuned, sound check done and perhaps makeup and costume sorted out ready for an 8:00 start.

It's also used for dinner parties, but that is a little less exact. If a dinner invitation says "7:30 for 8:00" you should arrive closer to 7:30 than 8:00 so that you can mingle, you can, possibly, drink an apertif and your host is sure that the guests have arrived in good time. Everyone can then be seated around table and the cook (who might be your host) can serve the meal when it is ready.

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