I've learned that 来不及 means that I can't make something at a specific time. I've most often seen it used in the sense that "I can't make the appointment at all". How do you indicate to someone that you won't be able to make the appointment at the prescribed time, but you still want to meet and will be just a little later?

My best guess would be: "我晚一点到吧。"

4 Answers 4


There are many ways you can say this. Some examples:

  • 我会迟到一点
  • 我要来得晚些
  • 我会晚来一会儿
  • 我会晚一点到达

You can also say it your way. It is not really necessarily, but I would add 要 or 会. I also wouldn't use the 吧 in this sentence. So something like

  • 我要晚一点到
  • 我会晚一点到
  • Are those ways all interchangeable?
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jun 26, 2012 at 23:06
  • @Alenanno Almost. From the top of my head, I can't think of a situation where I can't use these interchangeably. Commented Jun 28, 2012 at 5:24

What you suggested works, but you can still use 来不及 to say you won't be able to make a certain time if you use it in the right context (it doesn't have to mean "I can't be there at all"). Just put the time you can't make right before 来不及.

For instance, to express "I can't be there by 6, but a little later would work" you could say:



To be honest, you're asking for a literal translation.

In the culture of most western countries, we'd say "I'm going to be a little late." In China, it might be 我快到了。


不好意思,我会晚一点到 - Sorry, I'll be a bit late.

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