Is the phrase time flies or time flys correct?

Many verbs have unique conjugations. It may sometimes be hard to remember all the rules governing their use, but if there’s a will, there’s a way. In what way should we use the phrase: time flies or flys? What is the correct spelling of the verb form in simple present tense? How about the noun plural of fly? Do different rules apply when we talk about noun form? Time flys or flies, and we still don’t know the correct version! Let’s check!

Flies or flys? Which form is correct meaning definition correct form difference examples

What’s the meaning of the word fly?

Talking about grammar is, obviously, the greatest fun ever. Still, most importantly, language has to carry some meaning, so let’s discuss the first things first. Fly can be either a verb or a noun. When it is used as a noun, it means a small insect, or an opening at the front of a pair of trousers. Fly as a verb means to move through the air, control an aircraft, or to move or go quickly. This last meaning is of our interest now: how time flys or flies? Which is the correct word: the one in the first sentence, or the one from the second sentence? Let’s look at the flies flys grammar.


Which is correct time flys or time flies?

Is it time flies or flys? When it comes to the time flys or time flies grammar, we are looking for the third person singular conjugation of the verb fly in present tense. In today’s world, flies is the only correct form. This word follows the general rule, which governs words ending in –y. When conjugating verbs ending like fly, e.g. cry, spy or try, you should remember that such a verb ends in –ies for the third person singular (he/she/it) of the present simple tense. Flys is a misspelling of the word flies, and it should not be used on a daily basis. The same rule applies when you form the plural of the noun fly. So, if you see masses of annoying buzzing insects, you are speaking of flies

In case of the verb fly, it is also worth remembering its irregular simple past tense form: flew, and its past participle: flown. Past participles can be a nightmare too. To find the correct answer to the questions related to various tricky verbs, visit our website and explore our other articles.


Make the time fly

In final thoughts, there is an interesting piece of information. Although we know now that the sentence time flies is the only correct option, there was a time when the word flys was very much around. The noun flys was understood as zippers on the pants, antique carriages, fly balls in baseball, and areas over stages. However, nowadays, the form flies prevailed and the other option, flys, is long forgotten.

What are the synonyms of the verb flies?

The verb flies can be replaced by some useful synonyms, such as:

  • Soars,
  • wings,
  • glides,
  • flutters,
  • waves.

Flies or flys – now it’s all clear! Examples in sentences

  • Pretty often the bird flies to a tree branch near my window and sings a melodious tune.
  • House flies pose a risk to human health.
  • Flies feeding on the ears of big cats in zoos can be a big problem.
  • Fruit flies enjoy sweet liquids.

A handful of useful fly idioms

The word fly forms many idioms, and it is worth to know at least some of them.

  • To send someone or something flying: to cause something to move through the air, suddenly or accidentally; e.g. She stumbled and sent all her groceries flying.
  • To fly off the handle: to react in a very angry way; e.g. When they got stuck in yet another traffic jam, he flew off the handle.
  • To fly in the face of something: to completely oppose what seems sensible and normal; e.g. His essay flies in the face of modern science.
  • With flying colours: if you do something with flying colours, you do it very successfully; e.g. She passed all her tests with flying colours.
  • Go fly a kite: used to tell someone annoying to go away; e.g. She couldn’t stand the guy any more, and finally told him to go fly a kite.
  • To fly into a rage: to suddenly get very angry; e.g. When he saw the bill, he immediately flew into a rage.
  • Be flying high: to be very successful; e.g. His company used to by flying high, so we were surprised when he decided to retire.

How time flies or flys – now it’s all clear! Examples from literature in sentences

‘Doesn’t it scare you sometimes how time flies and nothing changes?’

Ika Natassa, Antologi Rasa, 2011

‘You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’s a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.’

E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web, 1952

‘Beauty, the world seemed to say. And as if to prove it (scientifically) wherever he looked at the houses, at the railings, at the antelopes stretching over the palings, beauty sprang instantly. To watch a leaf quivering in the rush of air was an exquisite joy. Up in the sky swallows swooping, swerving, flinging themselves in and out, round and round, yet always with perfect control as if elastics held them; and the flies rising and falling; and the sun spotting now this leaf, now that, in mockery, dazzling it with soft gold in pure good temper; and now again some chime (it might be a motor horn) tinkling divinely on the grass stalks—all of this, calm and reasonable as it was, made out of ordinary things as it was, was the truth now; beauty, that was the truth now. Beauty was everywhere.’

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway, 1925

Written by

Graduate of English philology. Currently a student of internet marketing. She previously worked as a shopping assistant, associate consultant and kindergarten English teacher. Currently working as a copywriter. Privately mother of two children. Loves reading books and spending time actively.