by Liz Walter
In my last post, I mentioned that the word ‘time’ is the most common noun in English. This is partly because there are so many phrases which contain the word. This post looks at some common and useful examples.
If you say that it’s time to do something or it’s time for something, you mean that it should happen now:
It’s time to start the meeting.
It’s time for lunch.
If something takes a long time, you need a lot of time to do it:
It takes a long time to become a doctor.
If someone or something does something all the time, they do it a lot. We often use this phrase for things we find annoying:
My laptop keeps crashing all the time.
If something happens or if you do something on time, it happens at the correct time, and if you do something in time, you do it before it is too late:
The train arrived on time. We ran all the way to the station and got there just in time.
If you take your time, you do something slowly and often carefully:
The quiz is difficult, so take your time and think about the answers.
If you say that something happens from time to time, you mean that it happens sometimes – not very often, but not very rarely either. You can also say that it happens at times:
I have to travel abroad from time to time.
Her job can be very stressful at times.
Moving to some slightly more advanced phrases now, if you say that something is just/only a matter of time, you mean that it will certainly happen at some point in the future:
It’s only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured on that road.
If you have time on your hands, you don’t have enough to do. We often talk about people having too much time on their hands, when we disapprove of something unimportant they are doing:
Anyone who irons their sheets clearly has too much time on their hands.
If you have time to kill, you have nothing to do for a period of time. We often use this idiom to talk about things we do to fill that time. Sometimes we use a specific period of time instead of the word ‘time’:
I had two hours to kill while I waited for Tom, so I went to the art gallery.
There are many other phrases with ‘time’ – you may have your own favourites. I will end with a positive one – if you are having the time of your life, you are enjoying yourself very much indeed.