I found few examples of the word gone as preposition; I know that this form is chiefly used in British English, and that it means "later than the time mentioned". But I couldn't grasp the connotation behind this word.

  • It was gone ten o’clock by the time they arrived.
  • It's gone six already.

Can anyone please define the word connotatively, and provide some examples to create a clearer understanding of how it works?

I also know that connotation means the secondary meaning of a word; so I need the secondary meaning of the word gone. ODO defined its primary meaning as "denotation".

  • You already have found the answer in ODO. What's the question now? – Kris Jul 31 '18 at 6:09
  • @Kris, I just found its precis definition in ODO, my question is how do you define it broadly by putting its connotation? – Ahmed Jul 31 '18 at 6:12
  • What do you mean by connotation? You probably mean to use another word, not "connotation." – Kris Jul 31 '18 at 6:13
  • @Kris, connotation means the secondary meaning of a word, I need that exactly. ODO defined its primary meaning that is denotation. – Ahmed Jul 31 '18 at 6:16
  • Don't worry. There's no other meaning to worry about in the context. It just means what the dictionary says. – Kris Jul 31 '18 at 6:19

The use of "gone" in this manner is British slang; you would never hear an American use it this way.

Collins Dictionary gives the third definition of "gone" as follows:

  1. preposition

If you say it is gone a particular time, you mean it is later than that time. [British, informal]

[Example:] It was just gone 7 o'clock this evening when I finished.

In actual use, though, there is a bit more to it. A speaker uses "gone" in this manner to convey the idea of where one stands (what time it is) in relation to larger block of time or upcoming event.

Example: She is six months gone.

Here we have a woman who is pregnant. Her pregnancy will last 9 months. She has been pregnant for 6 months and she will be pregnant for 3 more months. All of these ideas are part of the statement.

Example: It's gone ten o'clock and you are still not in bed!

Here we have a child who is still awake at an hour past their ordinary bedtime. Although the previous posters are correct that this usage of "gone" frequently indicates concern or frustration, this is not always the case. This example could be a stern warning on a school night from a parent or an affectionate comment from a visiting aunt.

Using the examples in your original question:

Example: It was gone ten o'clock by the time they arrived.

Most likely, here we have someone who has been waiting longer than they expected to wait. It may be as simple as that, or it could also indicate that the speaker was inconvenienced or missed out on something because of the late arrival.

But, this example can also mean nothing more than a plain, neutral "It was after ten o'clock when they arrived."

Example: It's gone six already.

Here we have have someone who is concerned about it being six o'clock because of a timing concern. It could be something like: It's gone six already and, although I've been working steadily, I'm worried I won't finish my paper by the deadline. Or: It's gone six already and if the cab doesn't show up in the next few minutes, we will miss our flight.

This example could also have a slightly more positive connotation of surprise instead of concern or frustration. You are having coffee with a new friend and chatting away, when one of you says, "It's gone six already!" meaning that you were so engrossed in the conversation that you did not notice the passing of time. This would usually be said as you were finishing coffee and moving to your next appointment; you usually wouldn't say this and stick around for another hour.


With connotation, you can often look to the context the word is being used in. In this case, "It's gone six already" means that "It is already past six." There is no way to use that latter phrase in a positive context, so "It's gone six already" describes a sort of frustration with the time passing.

  • it is already past six, so the gates should be opening any minute – Arm the good guys in America Aug 1 '18 at 3:56
  • That still sounds like frustration to me. "It is already past six, so the gates should be opening any minute," implies that the gates open at six. Why would there be a need to comment on it if it were in order? – Nikolas Radulovich Aug 1 '18 at 4:01
  • If I go with a friend to a concert and we get there at 5:00 because it is general admission only and the place always opens the gates/doors sometime after 6, not exactly at 6 but always some time after 6 and before 6:30; and we get to talking and forget about the time and then we wonder how close we are to the doors being opened and I look at my watch and say Its' already past six so the gates/doors will open any minute', that is hopeful and positive – Arm the good guys in America Aug 1 '18 at 19:48
  • My concern is with the use of the term "already." I agree that it would be positive and hopeful to say "It is past six so the gates will open any minute." But saying that "It is already past six" implies that you have been waiting. If you were not concerned about waiting, and that waiting was not a problem, then there would be no need to include the term "already." – Nikolas Radulovich Aug 2 '18 at 22:48

It is already past six.

I believe it implies negativity and frustration because of the word - already, and that we do not have any chance to attend the concert, as the gates/doors will not be opened after six.

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