I have seen games using both forms time's up and time up to say that the time is up. Which is correct?

2 Answers 2


They both mean the time is up, that is, the time allotted for this activity has expired. Time's up is a contracted form, and time up is an ellipted form. Which you use depends on context.

  • 4
    I have never heard time up in my life, only time’s up.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 17:56
  • @tchrist: But the OP has, or at least seen it. Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 18:01
  • 1
    @tchrist Check my comment above, the Bejeweled game uses it on speed mode.
    – BernardGra
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 18:03
  • @J.R., It is the same usage, you you play till the end of the 1 minute match, the Time Up comes on the screen, indicating that time has expired.
    – BernardGra
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 18:35

I think "time's up" is correct. It's a contraction for "time is up" (obviously). "Time up" seems to have no verb. It's just a noun and a preposition. Perhaps games that use "time up" are made in non-English-speaking countries. Foreign games often have slight missteps in colloquialisms.

  • "Time out" is common enough in the United States, where sports need breaks for advertising
    – Henry
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 17:55
  • The bejeweled uses Time up, when playing speed mode. Here is a Link: bejeweled.popcap.com/html5/
    – BernardGra
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 17:59
  • @Henry: except that "Time out" is an entirely different construction. There's no implied 'is':'Time is out' would not make sense/would mean something completely different.
    – Marthaª
    Commented Oct 15, 2012 at 19:55

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