This week we were supposed to write a film review in the school. I used a phrase in mine, which was : "in a time, when"

I saw/heard it many times and it was a big surprise when the teacher said it was incorrect and I was to use "during time" instead. I tried to argue with him (not sure it was a clever thing to do, actually), since the net is flooded with reviews using "in a time when", but he said it was all wrong. But surely the Empire, too, wouldn't write incorrectly? Anyway I just would like to hear more from you about this.

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We would need to see at least the whole sentence to understand the context in which it is written.
Can you post the paragraph in which it was written for us?
"Arguably not the most proficiently crafted film in Cannes this year and certainly not the most balanced, but Moore’s assault on the Bush administration is a terrific polemic. It’s sprawling at times, but still uncomfortable, angry viewing in a time when apathy and resignation rule."

"He was a Protestant true believer in a time when the passion for religious persecution ran high and gruesome, and when the official... "

"Then again, it is set in a time when cynicism and irreverence were not as rampant. When men were not mere mortals. When an idea was worth dying for."
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I'm not too sure about your first example, but in your second, the "in" belongs to "believer" (it's "to believe in something), and in the third, the "in" belongs to "set" (the action is set in a time, in a country, in a place).

I wonder whether the grammar is correct in the sentence from "It's sprawling" to "rule". Or isn't a word missing?
Hmmm. I don't know. I always thought "in a time when" was a way of saying something like "it was/happenned in a time period wich was like ...."
Wait for a native, Mitriel, it's safer!
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It sounds ok to me although your sentences have other problems. It is certainly a phrase that gets used, but it does tend to sound a little over-dramatic!
The two people live in 18th century France, at a time just before the revolution, when the decadence of the aristocracy has become an end in itself. The Marquise de Merteuil lives in a world of drawing rooms and boudoirs, where she swoops down like a hawk upon the innocent and the naive, wrecking their idealism with a triumphant laugh to herself.

Hi Mitriel,

Here is a quotation from a movie review and ,as you see, includes the phrase in question. I agree that it is used in reviews frequently but,as far as I know , there are some differences. please look at the sample:

The first difference is, it's 'at a time' istead of 'in a time' I don't know whether 'in a time' is incorrect grammatically but I am much more acquainted with 'at a time and there is a prep. just before the 'when' which modifies the 'time'.

If I may add some trivia, the quotation is from the review of the film ' Dangerous Liaisons' and from the work of movie critic 'Roger Ebert'Emotion: smile

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