Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Expressions in English | Against the Clock

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Sep 28, 2011 @ 08:53 AM

expressions in EnglishIf you have been living in the United States and learning English, you probably know that the concept of time is important in our culture because we have so many expressions in English that are related to time. In a previous article, we talked about the link between language and American culture that can be seen through phrases like "time is money". Today we have a few new expressions that are frequently used in American English. These expressions tell us that in the United States, especially in big cities like Boston or New York, time is definitely on our minds.


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Common Expressions and Idioms:


To be pressed for time: To have very little time or to be in a rush.

" I was pressed for time on my way to work this morning so I couldn't stop and get a coffee"

Down to the wire: Something continues until the last possible moment

" We are down to the wire on this project. It is due tomorrow and it's not finished yet"

Just around the corner: Something will be happening soon

"The weeks go by so fast. Halloween is just around the corner"


Against the clock: To be in a race with time. To feel rushed or to be in a hurry to accomplish something.

"If we want to be ready for this presentation by this afternoon, we are going to have to race against the clock. We only have 3 hours"


Better late than never: It's better to do something late than to never do it at all.

"My friend came to the party just before it ended. Better late than never I suppose"

To have time on your hands: To have a lot of spare time

"Last summer I was not working or taking classes so I had a lot of time on my hands"

Practical Tips for your Life in the U.S.  

photo credit: Moonrhino

Topics: United States Culture, Vocabulary Workshop, English Idioms

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