by Liz Walter
With many people around the world in some form of lockdown and almost everyone affected by the pandemic in some way, I thought it might be useful to offer some language suitable for talking about living in a climate of uncertainty (a general situation of not knowing what is going to happen).
It is very difficult to make plans when we don’t know what is going to happen and what our country’s rules might be at any point. We can say that the situation is unpredictable and that it is difficult/impossible to plan ahead. When we make plans that are spoiled, we sometimes use the phrase thrown into disarray:
We can’t book a holiday while things are so unpredictable.
We’d like to expand the business, but it’s difficult to plan ahead at the moment.
Their wedding plans were thrown into disarray.
One phrase that has been used a lot recently is put something on hold, meaning to delay it. We can also simply say that something is on hold. Other common synonyms are postpone, put off, put back and defer:
We’ve been forced to put our plans on hold.
I feel like my life’s on hold at the moment.
The company has decided to defer its graduate training scheme.
When it is impossible to make a decision because things around you keep changing, you might say that things are up in the air. When we decide to go ahead with a plan even though we are aware that there might be a problem, we often say that we will cross that bridge when we come to it:
We’re hoping to open the restaurant again soon, but everything’s up in the air at the moment.
We may need more funding at some stage, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
I hope I’ll still have a job after lockdown, but I’m hedging my bets by making enquiries with some other companies.
We’re not going to book accommodation yet, as we want to keep our options open.
Many of us have had to adapt (change the way we behave) to cope with new circumstances in the pandemic. This certainly hasn’t always been easy, but lots of people have risen to the challenge (succeeded) in many different ways:
It took me a while to adapt to working from home.
Local communities have risen to the challenge of supporting one another in these difficult times.
I hope you find these phrases useful, and that many of us can now see light at the end of the tunnel (hope that a bad situation will improve soon).