Some common spoken words and their usage.
- Meaning: Continue
- Usage: keep going. You need the exercise.
- Meaning: Visit for short time
- Usage: I dropped by the camera store to pick up our photos.
In charge of
- Meaning: Responsible for; supervisor of
- Usage: He is in charge of training new staff.
- Note: sometimes in charge of + _ing
Running short of time
- Meaning: Getting close to a deadline
- Usage: I’d love to finish this meeting soon. Let’s move on to the next point because we’re running short of time.
Get a move on
- Meaning: Go faster
- Usage: We have to get a move on if we want to finish by Wednesday.
Ahead of/ on/ behind schedule
- Meaning: Faster than planned / as planned / slower than planned
- Usage: Please drive faster. We’re behind schedule.
- Project is going fine. Everything is on schedule.
- Meaning: Busy doing something that you can’t stop
- Usage: I’m tied up now, but I’ll be free in an hour.
- Meaning: Delayed
- Usage: I got home at 10 o’clock last night. I was held up at the office doing paperwork.
- Meaning: Now I understand why
- Usage: I didn’t study. No wonder I failed.
It slipped my mind
Under a lot of pressure
- Meaning: Feeling stress
- Usage: Students are under a lot of pressure at exam time
Put up with something
- Meaning: Accept something bad
- Usage: my office is freezing, but I put up with it because I love my job.
- Meaning: Immediately; now
- Usage: The client is waiting. He needs the report. I’ll get it right away.
It’s not the end of the world
- Meaning: The situation is not very bad
- Usage: I hurt my knee, but it’s not the end of the world. I can still play golf.
In the same boat
- Meaning: In the same situation
- Usage: We all lost money last year. We’re all in the same boat.
Can I take a rain check?
- Meaning: Can we change the plan to another time in future?
- Usage: I have to cancel our plans for lunch today. Can I take a rain check?
On top of that
- Meaning: In addition to; also
- Usage: I’m very busy. I have two children, I work full time, and on top of that I take evening classes.
- Meaning: Forever; permanently
- Usage: I’ve tried to quit smoking before, but this time I’m quitting for good.
I heard it through the grapevine
- Meaning: Someone told me something as gossip or a rumour
- Usage: He lost his job. I heard it through the grapevine.
Better off doing something
- Meaning: Say this to show a better choice
- Usage: the bus takes five hours. I’m better off taking the train.
Run into someone
- Meaning: Meet someone unexpectedly
- Usage: sometimes I run into him at the bank. We both go on Mondays.
We don’t see eyes to eye
- Meaning: This is a polite way to say we don’t agree
- Usage: we both agree on the problem. But we don’t see eye to eye on the solution.
Play it by ear
- Meaning: Do it without a plan
- Usage: Don’t book a hotel room. Play it by ear. Look for a hotel when you get to the city.
- Meaning: Become detached
- Usage: I bought a cheap suitcase. The wheels came off after one week!
Give someone a hand
- Meaning: Help someone
- Usage: He had to photocopy 100 pages, so I gave him a hand with the job.
- Meaning: Manage but with difficulty
- Usage: we don’t have much money, but we can get by if we don’t spend much.
Can’t make it
- Meaning: Not able to attend
- Usage: He’s working late. He can’t make it to the movie.