Timely Manner - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Did you just receive an email from your boss requesting information from you in a "timely manner?" If that's the case, you had better drop what you're doing and attend to the matter right now. This post unpacks everything you need to know about the meaning, origin, and use of this expression.

Timely Manner Meaning

If you hear someone mention the phrase "timely manner" in a conversation or document, they ask you politely to return them the requested information as soon as possible. While the term is a polite way of telling someone you want something ASAP, it also has the tone of a threat in it. It's a veiled threat, stating there will be consequences if you don't get it back to them on time.

A "timely manner" could also be a polite way of telling someone to hurry up and complete the outstanding task without being forceful with your language. Most people understand that they have to drop everything and complete the task if they see this expression in the request.

Typically, the phrase appears in business and the corporate world, and it's part of formal internal communications, usually between management and lower-level employees. You could also say the phrase has the meaning of "delivering work to a given standard, within your budget, and on time."

Timely Manner Example Usage

"I hope you understand the importance of this document and that you need to submit it in a timely manner if you want to avoid the IRS auditing you."

"Our boss told us that we have to send all reporting through to him in a timely manner, or we're out of a job."

"The court told the defendant to report for jail in a timely manner after sorting out their affairs."

"It's important that you get those emails out to your clients in a timely manner, or they are going to forget about your pitch."

"We ask you to attend the service in a timely manner to avoid interruptions."

Timely Manner Origin

No one knows the exact origin of this phrase. Still, most language experts believe it appeared in language for the first time towards the end of the industrial revolution, as people started to form businesses and contract law around commerce.

Some experts say the phrase had its origin in the mid-1900s, and it was common in project management where people would complete a task relating to the project in a "timely manner" not to derail the project deadline.

The phrase is still in use today in modern language, and it's common to hear it in business conversations, contract law, and formal requests for information. The expression requests haste from the other person without being direct or pushy.

Phrases Similar to Timely Manner

  • Timeous manner.
  • ASAP.
  • No time to waste.

Phrases Opposite to Timely Manner

  • Take your time.
  • No rush.
  • Whenever you're ready.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Timely manner.
  • Timeous manner.

Ways People May Say Timely Manner Incorrectly

Some pole may use "timely manner" in social situations, which makes you sound like a school teacher or a manager, and your friends will find it rather irritating that you are pushing them around. Save this phrase for professional use only.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Timely Manner

You can use the term "timely manner" in professional situations where you try to impress a speedy reply on someone to a task or query. Typically, you won't use this in social situations as people might find it pompous. It's also suitable to use this phrase as a stern reference and warning for the other person not to be late.

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