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I was always taught that when you are talking about the time you fell asleep, you say "I went to sleep at 10pm". I am increasingly hearing people say "I slept at 10pm". Is that also correct?

Related question: to "sleep" vs to "go to sleep"

However the above discusses "sleep" as part of a longer sentence, while I am talking specifically about using it in these shorter sentences.

marked as duplicate by Xanne, Scott, jimm101, Centaurus, kiamlaluno Nov 29 '17 at 8:03

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“I slept at 10 pm” feels very awkward to me. In terms of its meaning, it is equivalent to “I was asleep at 10 pm.” This is importantly different from “I went to sleep at 10 pm” for two reasons.

Firstly, it’s only asserting that at 10 pm you were asleep, but doesn’t assert that you had previously been awake the way “I went to sleep at 10 pm” does. Presumably you’re trying to communicate when you went from being awake to being asleep, not the mere fact that you were asleep at 10 pm.

Secondly, in common usage “I went to sleep at 10 pm” doesn’t mean you actually fell asleep at 10 pm. Rather, it means you got into bed and tried to fall asleep. So, in all likelihood, it’s not actually true that you were asleep at 10 pm.

You shouldn't say "I slept at 10 pm" to mean "I went to sleep at 10 pm." Although "I slept at 10 pm" is grammatically correct, it has a different meaning and feels awkward enough that I would discourage you from using it in general.

  • But is it grammatically correct? It sounds wrong to me as well, but I don't know why it sounds wrong. – BlackSheep Nov 27 '17 at 5:10
  • @BlackSheep It is grammatically correct, just like “I ran at 10 pm” or “I ate at 10 pm” are. – Stella Biderman Nov 27 '17 at 5:29
  • This answer is unsupported and misleading, if not just wrong, in a couple of places. – Xanne Nov 27 '17 at 7:00
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    @Xanne What part do you think is wrong? – Stella Biderman Nov 27 '17 at 13:44
  • See the link above to the same question; it goes through everything and explains it. – Xanne Nov 27 '17 at 21:58
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You ask:

I was always taught that when you are talking about the time you fell asleep, you say "I went to sleep at 10pm". I am increasingly hearing people say "I slept at 10pm". Is that also correct?

"I slept at 10pm" can mean that you went to sleep at that time; you might say "I went to bed at 8pm and finally slept at 10pm." It means, in standard English, that you were not asleep before 10pm. Another use of slept would be "Last night I slept for eight hours."

Also, "I slept at 10pm" doesn't mean you went to bed then, although it has been used that way among some speakers of English as a second language and among children whose parents are not native speakers, according to the answers in the link you provide. Answers in that link also suggest it's slang common among the Z (post-millennial) generation.

If you are asleep at 10pm when, for example, someone telephones you, you would say "I was sleeping" when you called.

Insomnia is a common enough problem that there are standard ways to express going to bed, going to sleep, falling asleep, having slept, and so forth.

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