## Asking when someone leaves work or home?

7

2

I need to know the most natural and least wordy way in English to ask what time someone leave work for the day.

Could you please verify these sentences below and let me know if 1) They are actually used by native speakers and 2) if I can improve them in anyway?

And lastly, how do you usually ask this question yourself in everyday life?

A. What time does she usually leave? B. What time does she usually leave work (home)?

A. What time does she usually get off? B. What time does she usually get off work (home)?

A. What time does she usually work until? B. What time until does she usually work? C. Until what time does she usually work?

Is there a way to ask this via the verb stay?

2how late does she (usually) stay? – mobileink – 2016-10-25T22:33:25.900

1All of the answers below contain valuable language information. However, if you're mainly trying to figure out when she's most likely to answer your call, you might want to ask directly: "When would be the best time to reach her?" Any wording asking about her working hours might run into problems where she's still at work but in a meeting or otherwise unavailable to talk to you. – 1006a – 2016-10-26T00:48:44.723

14

In U.S. English, the simplest way would be to ask

What time does she get off work?

A shade more formal would be

What time does she usually leave work?

or

What time does she usually leave for the day?

In the latter, the work context would be understood. Don't use it if there could be some confusion.

Here's one way to ask involving the word stay:

How late does she usually stay [at work]?

Be careful, though, because any of these might be construed by the listener as evidence that you may be nosy at least, and possibly a stalker. So unless you're checking up on this woman as a job applicant, the prudent course would be to ask her yourself.

You asked where you should place the until in your constructions. Presumably you're wondering whether you should avoid putting it at the end of the sentence. The answer is: don't avoid that. While some pedants will wince at this, they really don't have a leg to stand on. See this accepted answer on ELU to the same question. (TL;DR: This is a rule made up hundreds of years ago by fussbudgets who determined, against all usage evidence to the contrary, that English should behave more like Latin.)

What time does she work till?

or

What time does she work until?

But since English is pretty flexible, you could also easily say

Until what time does she work?

But for my money, that sounds a little more formal, even stilted.

Note that till and until are pretty much interchangeable here. See this related discussion on till and until on ELU.

Hahahaha! +1 for "you may be nosy at least, and possibly a stalker." Good answer, even though it isn't "authoritative" by some user's standards. :-) – Mark Hubbard – 2016-10-25T15:15:43.197

Thank you. The reason I need to ask this is that I'm a client of her but she's not available now and so I ask a coworker so that I can plan until what time she'll be available. Btw, could you also let me know where's the most appropriate place for until in my examples? – user34244 – 2016-10-25T15:19:40.423

@user34244: You don't need until in any of these constructions. It's not necessary to convey your meaning. But I'll add a bit about that. – Robusto – 2016-10-25T15:20:43.787

@Robusto I'm sorry if I'm giving you too much trouble, but what if I want to ask a friend if she's leaving work NOW? Can we use get off in that context too? For example: Are you getting off (now)? Couldn't this convey a sexual meaning as well, as I don't want that to be the case? – user34244 – 2016-10-25T15:30:00.810

4Everything depends on context. If you are in a work environment and someone appears to be gathering her things, you could ask if she's "getting off now" and unless you accompanied the question with a leer or a wink no suspicion of double entendre would attach to it. Easier might be to ask "Are you going home now?" or even "Are you getting off work now?" which would make the meaning clear and uncontroversial. – Robusto – 2016-10-25T15:32:37.510

@Robusto Thanks! You are a life saver. You literally resolved half of my problems in English language! Lol. I really appreciate you help! :) – user34244 – 2016-10-25T15:39:45.853

caveat: what time does she get off work is not synonymous with what time does she leave. if quitting time is 6 pm that does not mean she leaves at 6 pm. it doesn't really have anything to do with formality. – mobileink – 2016-10-25T22:32:19.040

@mobileink Do you mean that in "what time does she get off work?" 'get' has a meaning of 'being given' unlike in get in the phrase "get off the bus"? – user34244 – 2016-10-26T14:29:15.810

@user34244 No, it's idiomatic. "I get off work at 5 pm" means that's when I'm scheduled to get off, i.e. my official quitting time. It does not necessarily mean that I leave at 5. – mobileink – 2016-10-26T15:07:38.893

@mobileink So it doesn't have the same literal meaning as "I get off the bus"? – user34244 – 2016-10-26T15:49:34.570

1@user34244: who knows? I'm not sure it has a "literal" meaning. "get" occurs in many idioms: get on (not in) the bus, get in trouble, get hammered (very drunk), get off (have an orgasm: do not get off on the bus!), get over something (stop fretting about it), etc. we do not normally ask whether "get" has the same meaning everywhere, we just learn by experience how to use phrases in the right context. if you're learning English over-analyzing can impede your progress by leading you down blind alleys. hth. – mobileink – 2016-10-26T18:54:59.367

1@user34244: note that "What time does she usually get off?" could be interpreted as a sexual double entendre. I would tend to say "What time (or when) does she get off work, assuming that that is the time she usually leaves work. an answer could be "She gets off work at five but she usually doesn't leave until 5:30." – mobileink – 2016-10-26T19:02:24.647

1@user34244: btw I'm talking about US English, Midwestern variety. – mobileink – 2016-10-26T19:03:59.873

5

The direct and unambigious way in British English would be "When does she leave home (to go to work)?" and "When does she leave work?".

In BrE you can also ask "When does she leave for work?" meaning "When does she leave home to go to work?".

But "When does she leave for home?" would sounds strange. People leave home to go to many different places, but when you leave work you almost always go home. But you could ask something like "When does she leave for Paris?" if she was going on a business trip and travelling direct from work to an airport, perhaps in the middle of the normal working day.

You can replace "When" by "What time" in all of the above.

Using "stay":

You could ask something like "How long does she stay at work?" or "How long will she be staying at work?" Those questions assume that when she finishes work she will go home. The first question is asking about the usual time she finishes work. The second one is asking about one particular occasion - "when will she leave work today?".

3

The three A versions are better.

However, in real life I'd usually just say "What time do you finish?".

(Note to moderators: I'm not sure how I'm supposed to provide justification or backup information for this type of answer)

2

As an example (a bit wordy, but I want to setup the context), I need to call a company and speak with a specific person. I call and ask to speak to Susan Smith.

The response could be:

Sorry, she is out of the office right now.
Sorry, she is out for lunch right now.
Sorry, she is out for lunch right now, she'll be back around 1:00 (1:00 PM).


If they didn't mention it, I'll ask when will she return (to work)?

But, I won't be available around that time, so I want to know when she will leave work so I can plan when I will call her back.

I'll ask something like (I'd probably go with #1):

What time will she be done working today?
When will she leave work today?
What time will she work until, today?


Including "today" is somewhat optional as most would see it as implied, but to avoid ambiguity, I'd include it. Particularly if I needed to speak with her today, it's important to not ask what time does she usually work until because "today" may not be a "usual" day.

To be completely clear, I might also ask:

When might she be available to speak with me today?
Can I call her back anytime between 1:00 and 5:00?


Perhaps after she returns, she will be in a meeting from 3:00 until the end of the day. If possible, I'd like to know that so I can call her back between 1:00 and sometime before 3:00.

2

What time does she usually get off?

I would be very cautious about using that phrase. "Get off" has a number of connotations, including sexual ones:

http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/get-off

It also has other meanings like "get off a criminal charge", "get off a bus" and so on.

What time does she usually get off home

You don't normally "get off" home, so that wouldn't work.

I need to know the most natural and least wordy way in English to ask what time someone leave work for the day

I would say: When does she leave work?

"At what time" is wordy. "When" means the same thing. "For the day" is implied. You aren't asking "for the week" or "for ever".

And lastly, how do you usually ask this question yourself in everyday life?

In Australia we might ask someone: "When do you knock off?"

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/knock+off

Informal
a. To take a break or rest from; stop: knocked off work at noon.
b. To cease work: It's after five; let's knock off.

However that is a bit colloquial as well (and can also have sexual implications).