An interesting concept in American English is the usage of the phrases ‘times where’ and ‘times when’. In written form, you will almost always see this phrase as ‘times when’, however during speaking, many American English speakers, especially native ones, will use ‘times where’. There isn’t a right or wrong way to use this phrase, either one is correct, but it may depend on your personal understanding of actual time.
Continue reading on to learn more about why these phrases are interchangeable and how one’s perception of time and movement can determine which phrase they use most often.
Times When: Usage and Examples
To understand why both phrases are interchangeable, we must first look at examples of how to use each phrase within a sentence. Here are a few sentences to show how to properly use the phrase ‘times when’:
- There have been times when all I have wanted to do was sleep all day.
- At certain times when the sun is at its peak, you can see the oasis in the desert.
- In times when budgets are being stripped down to the bone, the costs for new pet projects are often forgotten about.
Times Where: Usage and Examples
Like the phrase ‘times when’, ‘times where’ can also be used to signify a certain point or instance. Even though ‘where’ normally points to a physical location, time is relative and is not bound by barriers. A few examples of using ‘times where’ in a sentence are:
- We are at a moment in time where civil unrest has never been higher.
- In my life, I am at a time where I will absolutely not go to a social function that starts in the evening.
- I think we are at a point in time where I need to know where you are going to be at.
Choosing the Correct Phrase
As stated above, there is no incorrect way to use either of these phrases because they are both interchangeable. Everyone’s perception of time is a little different. You could move forward or backward in time, we go step by step, time is spatial. Therefore, using where or when in either phrase is acceptable.
Keep English Accents in Mind!
The usage of the phrases ‘times where’ and ‘times when’, though interchangeable, are heavily influenced by the speaker’s physical location. On the East Coast and Southern regions of the United States, you’ll find most people use ‘times where’. People who are mostly in the Western and Midwestern regions tend to use ‘times when’ more often than not.