I just read a sentence from a news article and was a bit confused with it.

It was

"The incident happened late on Monday night." (S1)

I usually see people write in this way

"The incident happened on late Monday night." (S2)

What is the purpose of writing in S1 format and are there any differences between S1 and S2?

  • 2
    As far as I am aware S1 is the normal way of expressing it. I would regard S2 as unusual. – Kate Bunting Aug 21 '18 at 7:52
  • 1
    @KateBunting Probably because on doesn't go with late. – Kris Aug 21 '18 at 8:18
  • Please explain where or when you usually see people write "The incident happened on late Monday night." (S2) That could only be true if your writers were not all comfortable with English… – Robbie Goodwin Aug 31 '18 at 23:11

If you use the preposition, place it after late, or not at all.

"The incident happened late on Monday night." — with preposition.

"The incident happened late Monday night." — with no preposition.

*"The incident happened on late Monday night." — wrong because late does not take the preposition.

  • Thank you. I think the concern goes to preposition. But how about the meaning, "The incident happened late on Monday night/ on late Monday night" = something happened near the end of Monday night, say 11pm? Thank you. – jessc Aug 22 '18 at 9:17
  • @jessc The preposition on is used with the day and at with time. "Late" something refers to a time-reference and so should take at rather. However, that makes for a poor phrasing. HTH. – Kris Aug 26 '18 at 10:57
  • @jessc I would read "On late Monday night" as a non-standard way of saying "On last Monday night" rather than at an advanced hour on Monday. "Late on Monday night" is the standard way to say it. The problem is that "late" is not an exactly defined period in time so 'on' is inappropriate. "On Monday", "On Monday night" and "At ten to twelve on Monday night" are all appropriate but "late" is insufficiently precise to take a preposition. – BoldBen Sep 23 '19 at 9:28

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