Longer free time between presentation of verbal list items often leads to better immediate serial recall. The present series of three experiments demonstrates that this beneficial effect of time is more general than has been known: It is found for verbal items presented visually and auditorily (Experiments 1 and 2), and also when people engage in concurrent articulation during presentation, thereby preventing rehearsal (Experiment 3). The effect of time is to improve memory most strongly for the later part of the list, contrary to what is predicted from the assumption that time between items is used to bolster memory traces of already encoded items through rehearsal, refreshing, or elaboration. The data are compatible with a ballistic form of short-term consolidation, and with the assumption that encoding an item into working memory partially depletes a limited resource, which is replenished over time. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2023 APA, all rights reserved).