What's the difference in usage for 'there's a time' vs. 'there's time' vs. 'there's the time'? Is the last one even correct?

Similarly, what's the difference between 'it was a time' vs. 'it was the time' vs. 'it was time'?

I suspect the last one is only used in fixed expressions like 'it's high time' etc. but I'm not sure of anything anymore.


There's a time and a place for everything.

There's time to get a cup of coffee before we have to leave.

(I can't think of a context for there's the time.)

It was a time of great hardship.

It was the time of year when...

It was time to say goodbye.

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  • Can we try some generalization, then: 'a time' - a specific period/moment in time now or in the past; 'there's time' and 'it's time' - we're basically talking about the clock and what the time is; and... what about 'the time'? Is it only in expressions like 'the time of the year', 'the time of the month' etc.? – Natalia Jun 24 at 8:24
  • There's time = there's enough time. I suppose you could use it was the time of historical periods - 'It was the time when crinolines were coming into fashion'. C.f. the famous opening paragraph of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...' – Kate Bunting Jun 24 at 8:41
  • Yeah, but the best/ the worst of times seems just a plural of a time in the sense of being a specific period of time. I agree with 'the time' example which sounds alright to me. But then again, there seems to be no clear difference between the time and a time when it comes to usage. – Natalia Jun 24 at 10:46
  • The difference is between the time when a specific thing was happening, and a time , say, of hardship, which was one of many such times. – Kate Bunting Jun 24 at 13:03
  • OK, it's clear now. Thank you! – Natalia Jun 24 at 15:42

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