Hello my friends foreign English speakers!
As you may already know, the English Harmony blog is all about showing you how English fluency can be achieved by doing loads of spoken English practice in combination with acquiring plenty of naturally occurring speech patterns and using them.
And in case you’re wondering – what the heck is a “naturally occurring speech pattern” anyway? – just let me spell it out for you – it’s a phrase, an expression, a word combination.
So, this time around we’re going to look at English phrases involving the word TIME, and there’s a good chance that you haven’t heard all of them so this is going to be the perfect opportunity for you to expand your English phrase pool.
And please bear in mind – make sure to repeat these phrases out loud and say at least a few sample sentences. Just because you’re reading them, doesn’t mean you’ll be able to use them, you’re just going to add them to your passive vocabulary.
So, are you ready?
It’s about time – this is a very handy English phrase to have at your disposal, and it can be used whenever you want to indicate that something is about to begin, or maybe you want to finish a conversation with someone: “OK Jimmy, it’s about time we carried on with our work, we only have one hour left to go!” And did you notice something weird in the sample sentence? Yes, this phrase demands the Past Tense after it, so bear it in mind: “It’s about time I stopped this relationship”, “It’s about time we went inside, the storm is coming!”
Big time – no matter how short, even a two-word combination can be very useful and help you big time to express yourself properly in certain situations, and this one is no exception. Now, did you just notice I already used this phrase in the previous sentence? So, just to clarify – this phrase simply means “a lot”, and here’s another sample sentence for you: “Listen, have you forgotten that Mike helped you big time when you were in trouble? So now it’s your turn to help him!”
From time to time – this English phrase referencing time simply means “sometimes”, here’s an example: “I would have some issues with my car from time to time, but for the most part it’s running just fine!” And in case you’re wondering – “well, if it means “sometimes”, why can’t I just say “sometimes” instead?” – the answer is – well, yes, you can, but if you use a phrase like this one, it will make you sound more native-like and fluent!
This time around – this phrase implies that whoever is the person saying this, they’ve already been involved in the process before, basically this isn’t the first time they’re making the announcement. “Now, this time around we’re going to look at the following…” – from the context alone you can gather that this time is just one time in a series of repeated events.
Time and time again – typically this English time related idiom is used when someone wants to emphasize the fact that something is happening again and again, and more often than not the connotation would be a negative one: “I keep telling her time and time again that she should spend more time doing her homework, but she just doesn’t listen!”
There was this time when – this is a very handy way of telling a story about something specific that happened at some stage in the past. Personally I love this phrase as it allows you to captivate your listeners’ attention – “There was this time when I was working in a coffee shop, and you know who walked in one day? John Travolta, no kidding!”
Hitting an all-time high – this is somewhat an industry-specific phrase and would be used when discussing finances and economy: “Now, according to the latest reports, the level of unemployment in the region is now hitting an all-time high of 17.5% which is an outrageous figure!”
How are we fixed for time? – you’d be most likely using this phrase when starting a meeting or some sort of a formal conversation and making sure that the people involved won’t be running out of time anytime soon – “So, Max, Tracey, now I want to run over some quarterly sales figures with you, how are we fixed for time?”
A number of times – as simple as this English collocation is, it’s still a very valid phrase. It’s pretty self-explanatory, and here’s an example sentence where you can see this phrase in action: “I’ve taken that road a number of times, but I’ve never noticed there was a derelict building on the left, that’s weird!”
In the meantime – let’s start with an example so you can see exactly how this phrase is used: “OK, I’m going to check out this information for you, in the meantime, do you mind doing something else for me?” Basically this phrase is used to describe a process or an event which is taking place while something else is going on.
While at the same time – this is a very handy phrase to be used in situations when you have to describe two things one of which is being contrasted with the other one – “Have you noticed that Rashid is very quiet and keeps mostly to himself while at the same time Tanja is full of life and is always running around with other kids?”
Running out of time – I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but in case you haven’t – this idiomatic expression describes a situation when there’s no more time left to get something done. “I’m sorry, but you’re running out of time and by the looks of it, you’re not going to be able to finish all the exam questions.”
Having a hard time – are you having a hard time developing your English fluency? Well – guess what? – I bet you don’t spend enough time opening your mouth and practicing your English, am I not right? Just to specify – “having a hard time” means having difficulties with something; in other words, it’s when you find something difficult.
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Now, I hope you’ll find this phrase list useful my friends, and just to remind you, please make sure you read these phrases out loud and come up with a number of sample sentences for each.
Remember – if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it – and English phraseology and your ability to use it is no different!
P.S. Are you serious about your spoken English improvement? Check out my English Harmony System HERE!