“In a timely manner”: Meaning, Usage & Alternatives

“In a timely manner” is an idiom. If something is finished quickly, on time, or without wasting any time, then it has been done “in a timely manner”. This phrase is not commonly used anymore. Most of the time people will say “on time”.

In a Timely Manner

What is the meaning of “in a timely manner”?

“In a timely manner” is basically a formal, but polite way of saying, ‘hurry up’, or ‘I need this task completed quickly’. The term arose around the mid-1900s during the era that saw the rise of corporate management. If a senior member of staff wanted a junior member of staff to deliver results quickly, they would employ this phrase.

Agreement between two parties

The use of the phrase implies an agreement between two people, usually of different ranks, about a task that will take a period of time, and may be complex.

For example, it would be used when requesting that the catering for a party be delivered on time, but not for a single cup of tea on returning home.

Example The first course at the wedding dinner needs to be served in a timely fashion so that the bridal party won’t be missed when they leave to have their photographs taken.

Note that this does not state a specific time. It is contingent on several factors, like the start of the wedding reception.

Time dependency

The phrase also implies that the timing matters because another action is dependant on this task being fulfilled.

Example The plumbing in the bathroom needs to be installed in a timely fashion so that the tilers can complete the finishing touches before the hotel opens for business in March.

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