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Punctuality is the characteristic of being able to complete a required task or fulfill an obligation before or at a previously designated time.[1] "Punctual" is often used synonymously with "on time". It is also acceptable that punctual can also, be related to talking about grammar, means "to be accurate".[citation needed]

An opposite personality trait is tardiness.

According to each culture, there is often an understanding about what is considered an acceptable degree of punctuality.[2] Usually, a small amount of lateness is acceptable; this is commonly about ten or fifteen minutes in Western cultures, but this is not the case in such instances as doctor's appointments or school lessons.[3] In some cultures, such as Japanese society, and settings, such as military ones, expectations may be much stricter.[citation needed]

Some cultures have an unspoken understanding that actual deadlines are different from stated deadlines, for example with Africa time. For example, it may be understood in a particular culture that people will turn up an hour later than advertised.[4] In this case, since everyone understands that a 9 pm party will actually start at around 10 pm, no-one is inconvenienced when everyone arrives at 10 pm.[5]

In cultures which value punctuality, being late is seen as disrespectful of others' time and may be considered insulting.[6] In such cases, punctuality may be enforced by social penalties, for example by excluding low-status latecomers from meetings entirely. Such considerations can lead on to considering the value of punctuality in econometrics and to considering the effects of non-punctuality on others in queueing theory.

See also


  1. ^ "Punctual - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Merriam-webster.com. 2012-08-31. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  2. ^ Engle, Jane (1994-12-30). "Punctuality: Some cultures are wound tighter than others - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  3. ^ "Germans and punctuality | All about those Germans | DW.DE | 09.12.2012". DW.DE. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  4. ^ White, Lawrence T. (2012-02-23). "Is "Punctuality Standard" an Oxymoron?". Psychology Today. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  5. ^ "Africa | Can Africa keep time?". BBC News. 2003-10-28. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  6. ^ "Time for Africa to abandon tardy culture to avoid punctuality problems - OP-ED". Globaltimes.cn. 2013-06-13. Archived from the original on 2014-11-13. Retrieved 2014-02-01.

External links

  • Kaushik Basu, Jörgen W. Weibull. "MIT Department of Economics Working Paper No. 02-26: Punctuality: A Cultural Trait as Equilibrium". MIT Department of Economics. SSRN 317621. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  • M. Brahimi, D.J. Worthington (September 1991). "Queueing Models for Out-Patient Appointment Systems – A Case Study". Journal of the Operational Research Society. 42 (9): 733–746. doi:10.1057/jors.1991.144. ISSN 0160-5682. JSTOR 2583656.
  • Andrew Chamberlain. "The economics of punctuality". The Idea Shop.
  • Marcelo Pisarro, Nerds All Star, Revista Ñ, Diario Clarín, 9 de junio de 2008. "No perdamos la puntualidad" (in Spanish)
  • Haddon Field. "Punctuality in Japan". Sound of Waves.
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