I have booked a flight in September.

In the above sentence, does it mean the flight is in September or the action of booking is in September?

In May, I have booked a flight back to home in September.

This sentence should be more clear than the previous one. But I feel like it is not a very good expression, is it? How do I reword this sentence so it gets better?

  • 1
    See attachment ambiguity. As long as you use prepositional phrases at the end of the clause, there will be ambiguities. These will be unavoidable in writing, but usually not a problem in speech, where intonation and rhythm can help. Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 20:38
  • This is where our brains come in. Unless you mean the September of 10 months ago, we know you bought a ticket to fly in the September coming up. We would not think you meant that you beamed yourself forward to September to buy a ticket. Okay, for September would be clearer, but not a must. Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 20:53
  • What the others above said and I think you're also missing that the time is easily inferred correctly here. The second sentence does not occur in nature, because you'd say "In May, I booked a flight home for September." Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 21:08

3 Answers 3


One simple (and the shortest) way of rephrasing the sentence so that it unambiguously provides the meaning you want is the following:

I have booked a September flight.

This turns September into an attributive noun, leaving no room for misinterpretation.

  • 0r say “a flight for September.” Lots of was to say it unambiguously.
    – Xanne
    Commented Jul 30, 2020 at 20:58

I booked a flight for Sept.(-ember) (all the way) back in (the month of) May.
I booked a flight back in May for (the month of) September.
I booked a flight for May, back (earlier) in September


"I have booked a flight in September."

The verb is in the perfect tense, and so indicates a present state of affairs brought about by a past action. This makes it clear that the booking happened in the past, and the flight is next September. There is no ambiguity.

"In May, I have booked a flight back to home in September."

This sentence does not make sense. If you mean that you made the booking in May, then you're talking about a past action, so you'd use the imperfect (past) tense.

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