Running Late vs Running Out Of Time


“I’m running late” is the idiomatic expression used when a person wants to be excused for the likelihood that he will be late.

It may also be used to cut off a conversation, for example, the listener wants to stop talking and interrupts the speaker with, “I have to go, I’m running late”. It would be bad taste for the speaker to continue talking and he would be expected to end the conversation.

How do you use the term “running late”?

For example,  a person says to a waiter: “Could you bring the bill with coffee? We’re running late”. This means that if they do not hurry, they risk being late for their next appointment.

Can you think of situations when it’s necessary to tell someone that you’re “running late”?

On the other hand, the expression “Running out of time” is used when someone tells you that they have run out of time; they mean that they have used up most of their allocated time, that they have no time left, for a particular activity such as a test.

How do we use the term?

  • “My biggest worry is that I’m running out of time and energy. Thirty years ago, I thought 10 years was a really long time.”
  • “We are running out of time. Can we take a decision before we wrap up the meeting?

Can you think of situations when it’s necessary to tell someone that you are running out of time?

You can share it, like it and comment if you like. It pleases & motivates us to see our followers engaging:-)



Wise Owl Idioms



I received this pic in my mailbox and instantly got inspired.

Here is my take on the word OWL.


What does the idiom “as wise as an owl” mean?

  • It means someone who is really smart. In lots of stories and myths, owls were associated with wisdom.
  • Some synonyms are: wise; worldy- wise; experienced or intelligent.
  • Owls have a reputation for being wise because their large eyes and stern, professional glare make them look educated. Often, their eyes are “framed” as if they’re wearing eyeglasses, which many associate with studious work. And their large, feathery heads seem to have plenty of room for big brains.

Some famous quotes referring to wise owls:

  • “Can grave and formal pass for wise when men the solemn Owl despise?” => Benjamin Franklin.
  • “A wise old owl sat on an oak; the more he saw, the less he spoke; the less he spoke, the more he heard. Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?” – Edward H. Richards.

Conversation Questions:

  • Did any of your school teachers remind you of a wise owl?
  • Do you know any wise owls today?


What does the idiom “a night owl” mean?

  • “a night owl”:This refers to a person who habitually stays up late and is active or who works at night, as in “You can call her after midnight, because she’s a night owl”. The term derives from the primary nocturnal habits of the owl. Usually, people who are night owls stay awake past midnight and extreme night owls may stay awake until just before or after dawn.
  • Night owls tend to feel most energetic just before they go to sleep at night.
  • Some curious synonyms for ‘a night owl’ are: lacking restraint; indulgent; wayward; wicked or wanton!
  • This colloquial term, originally used in the late 1500s for an owl that is active at night, was transferred to nocturnal human beings in the mid- 1800s. There is the sense of “one who seeks prey at night, one who stays up late”.

Who are some famous night owls?

  • Thomas Edison;
  • Adolf Hitler (during WWII, slept from about 4 to 10 am and napped between 5 and 7pm);
  • Winston Churchill;
  • James Joyce;
  • Joseph Stalin.

Conversation Questions:

  1. Are you a night owl?
  2. Do you know anyone who’s a night owl?
  3. Do they work better at night?

You can like it if you learned something, Share it if you foudn it useful. Post something if you want to practice writing in English. We would ove to hear from you.


p.s. Thanks SLP for your precious work.

Support The Voiceless Women Of The World

My post today is not about Learning English . It is about all the women out there who are victims of physical and psychological abuse in their lives.

November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

The UN has a page that gives lots of invaluable information. Click Here

What do people have to say about Violence against women?

  • Violence  against women is an appalling human rights violation. But it is not inevitable.  We can put a stop to this.
    -Nicole Kidman
  • No  woman has to be a victim of physical abuse. Women have to feel like they are not  alone.
    -Salma Hayek
  • The main goal of the future is to stop violence. The world is addicted to it. -Bill Cosby.+
  • We  can all take responsibility for helping to bring about change, and keeping our  friends and colleagues safe from domestic violence -Charles Clarke
  • If  the numbers we see in domestic violence were applied to terrorism or gang violence,  the entire country would be up in arms, and it would be the lead story on the  news every night.-Rep. Mark Green

Like, Tweet & Share…Awareness makes a difference & you can be an agent of change & improvement.


Do you ever make snap judgments about people?


Are you one to make hurried or impulsive decisions about people or situations? If so, then you make snap judgments.

What does it mean?

Snap in this case means quick or impetuous.

A Judgment is the ability to make a decision or create an opinon about something or someone.

A snap judgment is similar to a rash decision. An opinon is formed in an impulsive way and it make be wrong.

How do we use it in context?

  • I made a snap decision. Forgive me for jumping the gun!
  • She always makes snap decisions about people. She is convinced that she can read people but she can’t.
  • Don’t make  snap decision about the offer. You might live to regret it.

Try to initiate conversation with your trainer, spouse or friends.

  1. When was the last time someone made a snap judgment about you?How did it make you feel?
  2. How can someone avoid making snap decisions in the office? Do you have any advice?

If you like this post, share it with yours friends who need to improve their English.



2013’s Word of the Year ‘SELFIE’


Selfie (Photo credit: joeldinda)

Oxford Dictionary has announced ‘SELFIE” word of the year for 2013.

It has been around for quite some time but the use of SELFIE has increased by 17000% in this year alone. Can you believe it? That is mind-boggling,right?

If you snap a shot of yourself  with your iphone, then you have just taken a selfie!

It is definitely an  iconic word and it helps us understand how important images are in our world these days.

What is the official definition?

A type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera that is planned to be uploaded onto facebook, my space or any other social media platform.

Long live the SELFIE!

If you take selfies, then share, tweet or like this post!


p.s. Special thanks to Heather for posting the announcement on facebook

In the same boat vs On the same page

A group of people riding a wooden boat off a b...

A group of people riding a wooden boat off a beach in Venezuela. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)









Last week, I was in a lesson  with a learner  who was telling me he really enjoyed working with his new boss because they seemed to be “on the same boat”.

He was referring to the fact that they both have similar views and  a similar approach when it comes to their  business, so  what he really meant was that they were on the same page.

What do they mean?

  • On the same page > agreeing about something (such as how something should be done)
  • In the same boat > in the same unpleasant or difficult situation

 How do we use them in context?

  1. The project manager called a meeting to make sure everyone involved was on the same page (i.e. thinking in a similar way).
  2. Katherine said : “I think we should boost sales through a new marketing  campaign.” John replied: “I’m glad to see we’re on the same page” (we agree).
  3. If the company closes, we’ll all lose our jobs, so we all have to make an effort, from top management to junior staff members, because we are all in the same boat.
  4. Jack is always complaining that he doesn’t have enough money, but we’re all in the same boat.

Can we use other expressions that mean the same?

On the same wavelength‘ can be used instead of ‘On the same page’.

It would make us happy if you could share this post with a fried who needs to gain confidence in English. Learning a little English every day, goes a long way.


Best Coronation Street Story Ever

Anyone who knows me knows that I love Strombo . He is one of Canada’s best talk show hosts. His show produces clips called ‘ Best Story Ever’. They are short videos that either make you laugh or just leave you speechless.

The UK’s longest-running TV soap, Coronation Street focuses on the everyday lives of working class people in Manchester, England. In this Best Story Ever, Marc Baylis who plays the pawn shop owner Rob Donovan explains how in an episode,  a football match ending up showing more of one actor than anyone had hoped.

What can we learn from this clip?

  • Rob was winding Steve up a lot. (i.e. do or say something jokingly to get someone upset or annoyed)
  • The goal-keeper was gong to try and save a penalty.(the player who defends the goal in foot ball/hockey)
  • The goalkeeper’s privates had managed to sneak outside of the shorts. (i.e. genitals / to move outside without being noticed by anyone)
  • It is my best Coronation Street story so far.(i.e. up to today)

How can we use them in context?

  • My co-worker and I wind each other up a lot. we are good buddies!
  • The goal-keeper did a bang up job last night. We won 2-0.
  • Keep your privates in your pants !
  • My teenager snuck out last night to go to a party.
  • I have had a relaxing vacation so far.

Practice answering these questions with your trainer, spouse or friends

  1. Who/What winds you up?
  2. Can you tell me about your favorite goal-keeper ever?
  3. Have you ever been caught naked with your privates out?
  4. Did you sneak out much as a teen?
  5. How many books have you read so far this year?

It would make us really happy if you could share this post with a friend who needs to gain confidence in English.  A little English every day goes a long way!




Are they mere table stakes?


Lovemarks (Photo credit: Bart Claeys)


This is another expression I came across last week at the WOBI. Kevin Roberts from Saatchi & Saatchi used it when speaking of Lovemarks(+/+).

Where does ‘table stakes’ come from?

Well, it is a gambling term, referring to how much a person can bet in a round of poker.

How do we use it in business?

In business, it  usually refers to a minimum level of investment, technology, or some other essential ingredient to make something become successful. It is the minimum requirement to have a credible competitive starting position in any business venture.

How would you translate it in italian?

In poker, I would say ‘scommessa mnima’. In business, it is definitely ‘fattore indispensabile’.

How do we use it in context?

  • Giving great value is table stakes for any lovemark.
  • Social business strategies are becoming table stakes today.

What’s a lovemark?

No better place to learn …visit the website

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You can try until you are blue in the face!

If you say something until you are blue in the face, you keep repeating it again and again but no one seems to listen to you. The attempt is not successful.

I heard a speech recently that mentioned this expression. The speaker was giving examples of  companies that use compliance rather than stimulating engagement. The speaker said:”You can try until your blue in the face to recruit people with initiative but it will never work if your corporate culture is one of hidden compliance.’


This idiom comes from oxygen deprivation. If you don’t receive oxygen,  your face will ultimately turn blue.

If you talk incessantly  and forget to take a breath, your face will turn blue thus the expression ‘until you are blue in the face.’ 

How do we use it in context?

  • You can speak until you are blue in the face but she will never believe you.
  • They can try until they are blue in the face but I will not change my mind on this matter.

What is the Italian equivalent?

Puoi parlare fino a domani. = You can talk until you are blue in the face.


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What are the odds?


Tom Peters presented the acronym  MBWA at the WOBI conference in Milan. It stands for Managing By Wandering Around. He argued that one of the biggest problems for managers is losing touch with their people.


What are the odds that you find a CEO wandering around speaking to people at the office? The chances are not that high in most cases. Does your CEO wander around speaking to people just because he wants to know how everything is going and what people are thinking ?

What is the meaning?

  • Odds is a plural noun and it means the chance or probability that something will happen.
  • What are the odds?‘ is like saying ‘What are the chances?’ or ‘What is the likelihood?’.
  • Interestingly, it can sometimes be used as a rhetorical question because we feel we know the answer.

How can we use it in context?

  • What are the odds that you will pass the exam if you don’t study? I figure they are very slim.
  • What are the odds that they will succeed in reaching the set budget? I think it is highly likely.
  • What are the odds of the teacher calling off the test tomorrow? Fat chance, right?

In the dialogue below, It sort of means ‘That’s incredible!’. In this case, it is a stand-alone expression.

Mary: Speaking of travel, how was your trip to Florida?
John: It went really well. We managed to raise 10 000 dollars at the fundraiser. Surprisingly, I was on the same flight as my best friend without knowing it.
Mary: Wow! What are the odds?

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