BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Killing time: it means you are doing something that isn’t really important just to occupy yourself before the start of your next plan or arrangement.
Neil’s turned up late so Helen smashes up a clock. Why? Neil and Helen discuss a useful expression for when you have spare time you need to waste.
Hello and welcome to The English We Speak from BBC Learning English. I’m Neil and with me today is Helen (crashing noises). Um, Helen what are you doing?
Oh I’m just stamping on this clock.
Yes, I can see that you are really… destroying that clock. My question is… why?
Well, don’t you remember you told me that you were going to be a little late for the recording session?
Yes, I had to delay things by an hour.
And I asked you what I should do while I was waiting.
Yes that’s right.
And you told me that I should just kill time. So that’s what I’m doing… killing time.
Well I did tell you to kill time, but I didn’t mean destroy a clock. In English, when you say you are ‘killing time’, it means you are doing something that isn’t really important just to occupy yourself before the start of your next plan or arrangement.
Yeah, that’s right. Killing time has nothing to do with violence towards clocks. It’s an expression which means to do something which isn’t really important just to keep you occupied until the start of your next plan or arrangement. Here are some examples.
I turned up an hour early for my flight, so I just looked at the duty free to kill some time.
I had an hour between work and meeting my friends so I killed time in a department store.
I always arrive hours early for job interviews. I’d rather have to kill time than deal with the stress of being late!
So Helen, you can stop smashing up that poor clock now.
But you know what? I’m quite enjoying it.
It looks like you are enjoying it… and it looks quite fun. Do you mind if I…
Not at all… join me. (smashing)
Actually, this is the most fun I’ve ever had killing time!
Me too! Join us again soon for The English We Speak.
The English We Speak – Killing time Transcript Video
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