Late afternoon is a non-specific time that means between 3pm and 6pm. People often use “late afternoon” when they want to arrange a meeting but don’t want to be specific about the time as they might have plenty of availability in their agenda.
It is important to note that there is no definitive time that the “afternoon” ends and the evening starts. People often feel that the evening starts when the sun goes down and that depends on where you are in the world and the time of year.
There is however a time when afternoon starts and that is after 12pm(midday). Early afternoon is from approximately 12pm-3pm and late afternoon is from 3pm-6pm.
Why do people say “late afternoon”?
In many offices people want to arrange a meeting and they want to give an approximate time but they will leave the specific time for the other person to decide. “Late afternoon” is often used to describe a non-specific time that is after 3 o’clock and before the end of the work day.
What time is early evening?
There is some crossover between “late afternoon” and “early evening”. The “evening” usually begins at 5pm but there is no definitive time and people can feel like the evening starts earlier in winter as it gets darker earlier.
“Early Evening” is a non-specific time usually between 5pm and 7pm. As you can see, 5pm could possibly be late afternoon or early evening. It all depends on context. If you are organizing a meeting at work then 5pm probably means “late afternoon” but if you are organizing a social gathering then 5pm probably means “early evening”.
How do you use “late afternoon”?
The phrase “late afternoon” is often used when talking about an approximate time and is especially used when organizing meetings.
Let’s look at some examples:
I love the late afternoon sun, it is so much nicer than the midday sun.
I alway feel tired in the late afternoon. I need more coffee.
Organizing a meeting
Let’s schedule the meeting for late afternoon on Wednesday.
Ok great, What about 4 o’clock.
Yes, perfect, please mark it on my calendar.
When you shouldn’t use “late afternoon”
You shouldn’t use “late afternoon” when organizing a meeting over email. This will cause more emails than necessary. It is better to be specific and give people a few options.
Instead of saying “late afternoon” you can say:
Let’s schedule a meeting. I am available from 3pm until 6pm on Wednesday.
This gives the other person concrete information about your availability.
It is perfectly acceptable to use “late afternoon” if you are talking to the person (or instant chat) as it is easier to ask a follow up question.
Is 7pm late afternoon?
7pm is not late afternoon. When it is 7pm, it is evening time no matter where you are in the world and the time of year. It is safe to say that the afternoon finishes at 6pm at the latest.