The correct phrase is “at all times.” Without the –s on “time,” it’s incorrect. Ergo, you would never use “at all time.” While “all time” can have a singular and plural use, the preposition prior to “all time” will help you differentiate depending on the context and situation of the discussion.
“Time,” as a noun, is one of the most confusing four-letter words in the English language. The rules around plurality and singular use don’t always agree or are consistent. Therefore, it’s something you have to commit to memory.
To quell the confusion, refer to the preposition and/or article preceding “all time.” This is what determines plurality or singularity within sentence structure, not other nouns or verbs. Different prepositions will change plural capacity for “all time.”
In regards to “at” coming ahead of “all time,” you will say “at all times.” For illustration, if you replace “at,” with “of” or “in,” then “all time” stays singular. However, “in” can have correct use in the singular or plural forms.
- Correct: At all times
- Incorrect: At all time
- Correct: Of all time
- Incorrect: Of all times
- Correct: In all time
- Also Correct: In all times
Articles Can Allow Plurality
But, the article will be equally as important and can change the phrase in such a way as to make it singular or plural; as the case may require. When using “of all time,” then an article like “the” has the potential for plurality.
In the case of “at all times,” no article is necessary since there is nothing there to ensure grammatical logic. There would have to be additional nouns or pronouns around the phrase to clarify “at” and it doesn’t allow for “time” to be singular.
Usage of “At All Times”
The typical phrase “at all times” confers persistence without fail no matter the circumstances. There are no breaks, pauses or differentiations. It carries with it a galvanizing sense of permanency and staying power. Try to memorize this mnemonic device: “At all times” is a plural phrase at all times.
Keep your fingers away from a live electrical socket at all times.
At all times, it’s imperative you are quiet while roaming the library.
The post office is open at all times of day thanks to 24-hour kiosk access.
Stay wary of news reports and official government narratives at all times.
Mary sings at all times because she’s auditioning for a leading role in the opera.
At all times of night in a major city, you can hear police sirens.
It’s important to maintain situational awareness at all times.
The correct phrase when using “at” in combination with “all time” is “at all times.” While different prepositions and articles will shift plurality, the basic rule for this particular phrase will always be plural. Memorizing the relevant mnemonic device will help: “At all times” is a plural phrase at all times.
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