# The use of へ and に in regards to time

If I were heading toward Tokyo but not neccessarily to Tokyo I would use へ.　If I were going to Tokyo I would use に. That much I understand.

My question is whether this can be extended to time.

For example, If I wanted to tell Jim I will call him around 5 (presumably sometime between 430 and 6) I would say ５時へ呼ぶでしょう．However, if I want him to be at the phone at 5 then I would say ５時に呼ぶでしょう。to indicate that I will be calling at a specific time.

Do I have this correct, or is に always used in regard to time?

よろしくお願いします、

• I've heard that explanation of へ and に in the spatial sense a lot before, but I don't think it's really terribly accurate. – snailplane Oct 26 '15 at 19:10
• You'd say either 東京に行く or 東京へ行く if you were going to Tokyo. You might say 東京のほうへ行く・東京のほうに行く・東京のほうに向かう etc. if you were heading toward Tokyo. – Chocolate Oct 30 '15 at 8:43

To use "around" for time, use ごろ. へ is not used this way

• 5時ごろ電話するわ！　→　I'll call you around 5:00.

×　5時ぐらい電話する　→　I'll call you "about" 5:00 (ブブー）
○　5時ごろ電話する　→　I'll call you around 5:00 (ピンポン)

This is used for time duration instead.

• 車で行くなら、３時間ぐらいかかる　→　If you go by car, it'll take about 3 hours.

*Note that my mapping of `around ←→ ごろ` and `about ←→ ぐらい` is arbitrary, and it would make equally as much sense in English to swap them. However, for my own sanity in their usage, I always did it this way by thinking of "around" as drawing a "round" circle on a timeline, like so:

Thus, "around 5:00" gives an easier (IMO) visual representation of when this time might be.

• Would you say it is a common mistake for native speakers to use 5時ぐらい for "around 5 o'clock"? I am prone to making this mistake and I pay special attention when speaking and listening, thus I noticed I hear it quite often. – macraf Oct 27 '15 at 0:29
• 「５時ぐらい」 is 100% correct, grammatical, etc. all by itself. When a verb phrase follows, we usually add a 「に」 to it. In informal speech, however, that 「に」 sometimes gets dropped. Try googling ”時ぐらい行く”. – l'électeur Oct 27 '15 at 0:57
• 「５時ごろ」「５時ごろに」「５時くらいに」「５時ぐらいに」 all sound alright to me...　「５時前後に」でもいいかも – Chocolate Oct 30 '15 at 8:46