Time is the most important factor for everyone. Yet, our expressions of time sound very monotonous. Using the same old terms like the time of the day, or the day of the week is slowly moving out of fashion. Of course, using one word does make a sentence sound less complex, but then, what’s the fun in using the language at all?
In this lesson, we will take a look at 12 varied time expressions that will boost your language. They come in handy not just in spoken English, but also in writing. Let’s avoid using the basics like tomorrow, today, morning and night! With these expressions, speaking about time becomes a notch more fun. Let’s jump straight to it.
Expressions of Time
1. To Bide One’s Time
Not that we could see, but if we could see every person reading this article, we would do a show of hands to understand how many of you have heard this expression before. Now that you will know the meaning, you will find its use very frequently.
Meaning: To wait
Example Sentences: Silvester bided his time by window shopping until his girlfriend arrived at the mall.
Don’t we have to wait a lot in life? Go ahead! Express your wait fabulously from hereon.
2. Behind the times
Here is an expression, which has nothing to do with delay or being late. It is also amongst those expressions of time that you can include in your daily communication.
Meaning: Old-fashion; to give outdated ideas
Example Sentence: Podrick’s ideas are behind the times; they will not sustain our company for long if he goes on this way!
Say, do you know anyone who gives the most behind the times ideas?
3. Pressed for Time
Pressing time does not seem like a very literal thing to do. Some misuse of this expression to describe a difficult period. But that is not the exact meaning of this time phrase.
Meaning: To fall short of time to complete something
Example Sentence: Anita couldn’t wish all her friends goodbye before leaving the country because she was pressed for time.
We all feel short of time to accomplish some tasks in hand. Maybe, we can make it less stressful by putting our issue in better words like these.
4. All in good time
Here is one more from our list of expressions of time, which is the opposite of the phrase we discussed above.
Meaning: With a considerable amount of time
Example Sentence: “We will set the record of becoming the best manufacturers in our industry; but, all in good time,” the CEO addressed.
When you want to express that a particular task will require a reasonable amount of time, use this expression like a pro.
5. In the nick of time
In the nick of time is an informal expression.
Meaning: At the last minute
Example Sentence: Jonah was about to fall on her face, but her father reflexively saved her in the nick of time.
There are a lot of things that take place seconds or minutes before the end time. Using this phrase adds more emphasis to the situation.
6. When the time is ripe
And we thought, only fruits ripe! When the time is ripe is amongst our favorite ones from the varied expressions of time.
Meaning: At the right time/proper time
Example Sentence: Your situation will change when the time is ripe; keep working hard until then.
What is it that you want to succeed in when the time is ripe?
7. Keep time
Keep time is one of those expressions, which is specific to a certain industry only.
Meaning: To keep a note on the number of beats in music
Example Sentence: The children snapped their fingers to keep time when their teacher taught them a new piece.
Now you know a technical term referring to time in the music world.
8. Serve time
We have another specific phrase in our list of expressions of time. Although, many of you might have come across this word before.
Meaning: To spend time in prison
Example Sentence: The poor mother stood outside for two hours every day while her son served time.
Indeed, it is a legal term; but not so uncommon.
9. Live on borrowed time
Although now so common in use, live on borrowed time is a classic in the expressions of time.
Meaning: To live dangerously
Example Sentence: Unless Timothy changes his lifestyle, I’m afraid, he is living on borrowed time.
It is perfect to express the situation of a person who lives a risky life.
10. Withstand the test of time
If you wish to compliment someone for their consistent work, use this expression to sound linguistically classy.
Meaning: To perform well over a period of time
Example Sentence: My grandfather withstood the test of time in this business; it is all his doing that the company is thriving today.
See, it does sound like a better way to compliment, doesn’t it?
11. Have the time of your life
Many of you readers might have come across this word several times. It is the happy one from the other expressions of time.
Meaning: Enjoying to the fullest extent
Example Sentence: Hands down, I had the time of my life during this trio. God knows when we will enjoy as much every again.
12. Ahead of one’s time
You will agree once you know the meaning, that this expression is perfect to describe many from the newer generation.
Meaning: To be more talented than the others of that age
Example sentence: Sophie is so ahead of her time, that she finds it hard to fit with members of her age-group. She always hangs out with her seniors.
We are sure you agree now with the claim we made above.
Here we are then, with 12 exciting expressions of time that we can include in our routine communication. Which one is your favorite? Can you form sentences using them? Leave them in the comment section below.
If you are looking for a vocabulary update, then check out our lesson on the latest updates in the Oxford Dictionary here.
Get notified as soon as new "Word of the day is published"