Follow US:

Practice English Speaking&Listening with: 12 Expressions of TIME in English

Difficulty: 0


Damn it!

E, where's the lights?

Oh, God.

Oh: "Thank you Aputure.

It was dark, you brought the light"?

Oh, yeah.

Before I get started, E's correct, we actually...


Our lights weren't working and they went out, and I'm actually doing...

I don't do this often.


But I want to give a shout out to Aputure because they brought us lights.

Let there be lights.

Our lights were actually failing, and Aputure kindly... and this is really cool.

They actually asked if they could help us out.

They actually gave us...

Yeah, they gave us some free lights.

They said: "Would you like lights?"

Here's the funny thing, straight up: They didn't know we needed lights.

Ours were starting to go.

Maybe they were watching a video or something.

They offered free lights to us, and we took them, and they've been working beautifully.

So, in any of the videos you've seen and you liked with Ronnie, myself, or Jade, or anyone

- these are the ones we're using.

Anyway, done with that because I'm not doing an infomercial for anybody.

I'm a free man!

But you got to give it out.

So, and yeah, if any other company, if you...

If you're ever interested in helping out, feel free to do so.


So I'm not a pitch man, so I'm going to move on, but thanks Aputure.

E, thank you.

Now, moving on because I want to talk about time.

And I brought with the...

Aputure with this particular video because in Canada we have what's called Daylight Savings

Time, and the time shifts.

And I want to give you some idioms on time, and you know, it's me, it's James, so I'm

not going to give you just idioms; I have a plan.

So, in this case, we're going to go around the clock; and as we go around the clock,

I'm going to give you an idiom for each hour.

And what I mean by that is: Each hour has a number.


There's 1 o'clock, 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock, 4 o'clock, 5 - and I'm going to give you an

idiom that will go with, like, the number 1, for instance, like: "Once in a lifetime."


Number 1, and then you have: "Once in a lifetime", so you remember: "Ah, it happens once."

And let's go to the board.

Are you ready?

All right.

So, I'm going to start at...

Where should I start?

Where should I start?

Number 1; first one: "Once in a blue moon".

True fact: Blue moons happen every two to three years.

A blue moon will happen every two to three years because it happens rarely; it's not

very often.

If you think about that, if it's every two to three years, that's every 40...

24 to 36 months - that is not very often that it happens.

But in the year 2018, it's happening every two to three months; it's a rarity that almost

never happens, so that's even bigger being rare.

Yes, I researched it because I read.

You should, too.

All right?

So we're...

That's what's happening in 2018 in case you ever see this 20 years later, and go: "Liar!

It's every two to three years."

I told you it was rare; go check it out.

So that means it rarely happens.

Hour number 2: "Two shakes of a lamb's tail."


This is an oldie, but a goodie.

Old people who speak English will know what it is; some younger punks - yeah, you punks,

you don't know what it means.

A lamb has a little tail and it moves quickly.


Maybe that's a goat.

I think I'm doing a goat.

I don't know.

But it means very quickly because a lamb's tail is very quick, so it flicks very quickly.

All right?

So: "Two shakes of a lamb's tail" meaning I will do it quickly or it will be done quickly.

Ah, I forgot something here.

I'm going to use my brown marker because that means I've done something bad.

There's another word for "bad", it starts with "s", but I'm not going to go there.

Okay: "3rd time's the charm".

"3rd time's the charm" means you've tried something one time, it didn't work; the second

time it didn't work; but we're saying lucky number three - if you try it the third time,

then it works.

"Charm" means luck.

If you're charmed, you've got luck.


So: "A 3rd time the char-... 3rd time's the charm" is: The third time it will work.


So, we're at number 4.

Yes, I know you can read; you're very smart individuals.


You notice I put "40", okay?

And they're going: "James, that's the number 4.

There's no 40 on a clock.

Not even in military time."

I know.

But when we speak in English, we don't say: "40", we usually say "4T".


I tricked you, there.

Just a play on words: "4T".


But it's: "40 winks".

What do you mean by "40 winks"?

Well, a wink is like this.


40 of them will happen like: One, two, three, four...

You get the drift.

It's going to take about maybe two or three minutes.

But when we say: "40 winks.

Catch 40 winks", it means to take a nap.

If I'm going to catch 40 winks, that means I'm going to close my eyes for a short time

because a wink is short, and I will take a nap; a short sleep.

Because when you wink, you close the eye.


All right.

So, number 4: "Take 40 winks."

It's my play on "4T" sounds-right?-for 4.

What about: "Take 5"?

If you're...

Okay, there was a...

There was a...

There was a boy band named "Take 5", I think, or there was a group called "Take 5".

I'm not talking about them.

They took 5 forever.

[Laughs] Sorry, bad joke.

It means take a break.

Yeah, I know, some of you were like: "Bad.


It was bad.

But if you take 5...

If your boss says: "Okay, take 5", it means: "Take a break.

You've been working hard, you need a break.

Take 5."

Similar to "40 winks", but with 40 winks you're sleeping; "take 5" means take a 5-minute break

and come back.

Take 5 minutes.


Take a 5-minute break.

How about 6?

I'm embarrassed to say I didn't find one for 6, so I made one up.

But you're doing time.


I got: "Do time", because "do time" is usually a long stretch of time.

In this case, it means go to jail.

If you have a friend who says: "Oh, I mean, between 2008 and 2018 I was doing time", that

explains why you haven't seen them around.

They were in jail, son.

They were locked up; locked down, doing time.

So, when you hear someone say: "I'm doing time"...

[Laughs] I've got a bad joke, but I'm not going to say it.

It has to do with bending over and soap.

Fill in the blanks.

Okay: "7-year itch", kind of similar to the last joke I told.

"7-year itch" is a time of infidelity.


What do you mean?

Well, an itch is a scratch; but this is an itch you just can't reach, you're like: "I

can't get it."

It means when somebody has been married, be it male or female, because I'm an equal opportunity


I am.

I'm the greatest employer you've ever seen before.


"Infidelity", it means that one of the partners, one or both decide that they are married but

they want to try something new, maybe a second partner.

They want to have sex outside of the marriage.

For some reason people said it happens after 7 years.

All right?

So: "The 7-year itch".

Now, let's move to: "8-hour day".

In North America, that's called a standard working day.

If I work 8 hours, I got a standard 8-hour day.

That's my standard working hours, and usually it's from 9 to 5.

Some people say it's a 9 to 5 job, meaning 8 hours in between.

Funny, true story again: I had a Mexican student and his name is Mano.

Mano, Mano.


Mano, love you.

We were doing this lesson and he turned around, and he was talking about an English week.

And he knew I was from England, and he goes: "So, do you guys have an English week?"

And I went: "English week?

I don't understand."

And he looks at me and goes: "You know, an English week, you know, because, you know,

you only work Monday to Friday, 9 to 5."

And I was like: "Am I supposed to be insulted?"

Because he explained in Mexico they work, like, anywhere from six to seven days a week;

they work constantly.

So this English week was our lazy way of working only eight hours a day, five days a week.

I went: "I feel insulted, Mano."

He goes: "No, no, you just English.


Anyways, love you.

Hope you see this video; I'll have to tell you're on it.

Anyway, next: 9.

This is going to be interesting.

It's another oldie, but goodie.

People do know what it means, but we don't say it all the time.

But: "A stitch in 9"...


"A stitch in time saves 9."

You're probably going to say: "What is a 'stitch'?"

Well, let's break it down.

When you're sewing-okay?-and you have something, you do stitches.

These are stitches.

You go in, you go out.


In and out.

If you do a stitch at the wrong time or you miss a space, then you have to do, like, 9

stitches to make it work again.

But if you do a stitch at the right place, then you save having to do this.

So: "A stitch in time" means if you do it at the right time, you do the right job, you

don't have to redo that job again.

All right?

Now I'm on number 10.

I know, I don't have another one.

You're going: "I was told I would get 10 idioms"...

No, sorry.

"12 idioms matching up with a clock.

This is not a clock."


"This is, like, a half-eaten pizza."

Sorry, dudes.

You get what you pay for; it's free - remember that.

But these all work and they all talk about time periods, right?

So, if we say: "Like clockwork", it means something happens...

Tick, tick, tick; tick, tick, tick, tick; tick, tick, tick, tick; tick, tick, tick,


It happens regularly and usually at the same time.

If the bus comes at 10 o'clock like clockwork - you better be there at 10 o'clock; not 10:01,

not 5 to 10, because at 10 o'clock it shows up every day regularly, like clockwork.

Jerry always gets up for his cigarette, and his lunch, and his pee break at 12:05.

You know, 12:05, you look at the clock - there's Jerry.

How do you know it's 12:05?

He's going for his pee break and his cigarette; he always goes at the same time.

Like clockwork, happening regularly.

And number 11: "The 11th hour".

It's to do something at the last possible moment.

I'm just trying to think of how I run my life, which is usually at the 11th hour.

It's like: "It's the last possible moment, and James comes through just before the end!"

[Laughs] Right?

So, when you're doing something at the 11th hour, it means there are other moments this

could happen, but you're going to be right here just before that door closes on you.

All right?

"The 11th hour".

I was actually thinking of something I wanted to say about politics, but I'm not going to

do it.

I'm holding back, which will be a first for me.

But I'll say it in my head so I can giggle.

And finally: "Around the clock".

I think it's...

I can't remember what his name.

Billy Comet and the Whaler?


Not that.

I'm mixing up a thing.

There was...

In the 1950s, there was a singer and he goes: "Rock, rock around the clock.

We're going to rock, rock, rock".

Bill Haley and the Comets.

Oh, check that out!


At the last possible moment, at the 11th hour, he pulls it out!

Yes, that's right.

Bill Haley was: "I'm going to rock, rock around the clock.

We're going to rock, rock, rock..."

And that was his song: "I'm going to rock around the clock; doo-doo-doo-doo."

And it means without stopping.

So, if you're working around the clock, it means you don't take a break; you just go,

you work, work.

1 o'clock, 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock...

8 hours?

8-hour day?

No, sir.

9 hours, 10 hours, 11 hours, 12 hours, 13, 14 - you keep going all the way around the

clock, 24 hours a day.

We work around the clock at Amazon.

And it's true, right?

Jeff Bezos, you never stop and we appreciate you for that.

I love you giving me my books.

All right.

So, we've hit the clock.

We've done the clock.

Now what we have to do is check to see how well you understand these idioms I've presented

to you.

Are you ready?

Let's go.

And we're back in the nick of time, which you don't know just yet, but we will get there.

So, we're looking at time...

Little time idioms I came up for with you...

Came up with.

I didn't come up with anything; other people did - I'm just teaching them to ya.

See, that's my excuse every time something is difficult in English, I tell you right

off: It's not my fault; I didn't create the language, so I can't take credit for things

that are creative and cute.

So, to the board.

And I take off my magic marker.

"Just before we were going to finish working for the day, my brother Nicholas came for

a visit.

He only came to Toronto every 2 or 3 years.

Before he arrived, Mr. E and I had been working on a video but it wasn't going well.

Nicholas came just in time because we were about to give up, and he helped us fix the

problem quickly."

It's not a bad story, but I think we can make it better with the new idioms we learned.

So, we're going to go up here and we're going to go: Where should we change?

I'm going to change that part, there.

I'm going to change that part, there.


We're going to go here.

I'm going to change this part, here.

And we're going to go here.

So, there's four places.

I'm going to wait two seconds.

Some of you can just speed up the video to get down here, and I'm going to give some

of you some time to look and figure out why I underlined those ones and how I might change


Are you ready?

Okay, let's go to the board.

So: "Just before we were going to finish work for the day", what could we change that?

What one did I use about finishing up work?

Look at all that.

It's all gone.


Remember we said: "call it a day" when you finish?

You call it a day.

The day is done work-...

You're done working for the day.

" brother Nicholas came for a visit.

He only came to Toronto every 2 or 3 years."

And I gave you a fact that something happens every 2 to 3 years, and what is it?

Can change this.

"...every blue moon", which means once in a while.


So: " brother Nicholas came for a visit.

He only came to Toronto every blue moon."

So, not very often.

"Before he arrived, Mr. E and I had been working on a video but it wasn't going very well."


"Nicholas came just in time because we were about to give up, and he helped us fix it


Well, this one I'm going to have to wait because this is a play on my brother's name.


But I can help you with this one.

You remember we talked about fixing something quickly?


Doing something quickly.


So we're going to have to change this to...


So: "...he helped us fix the problem in two shakes of a lamb's tail"; very quickly.

So, what about: "just in time"?

Well, it's just in time because I'm going to teach you...


The bonus section.

Now, the first one we want to do in the bonus section is: "to kill time".

When you need to kill time, it means there is a period of time between two events.

So, I want to go to a movie or a music concert, or something, and it starts at 12 o'clock

at night.

All right?

But it's 8 o'clock and I've just finished dinner with some friends, and I've got nothing

to do.

So, maybe I'm going to...

I don't know.

Go on Facebook or something to kill time.

It means to make time elapse or go faster so I can get to the second event.


So, when you're killing time, you're waiting because you have finished one thing and you

have to wait for the second thing to happen.


To make something...

Or, sorry.

To make the time pass.

Do something to make the time pass to kill time.

"In the nick of time" means just in time.

Why do we say "nick of time"?

My brother's name; he's famous now.


So I'm going to change this, here, and we... "...nick"-I might have to squeeze this in

here-"...of time".


Why did he come in the nick of time?

Because we had just called it a day; we were going to leave.


We were finished.

If he'd come five minutes later, we'd be going home.


So, he came in the nick of time.

You could also use in here: "in the 11th hour", but I didn't want to; I wanted to bring us

over here.

So, what is "a nick"?

A nick is a small cut.

If you've ever shaved and you've done that and got a little blood, that's a nick; a small



Ladies, you know what I'm talking about when you shave those legs...


I'm going to try and lift my leg up.

This will not be a pretty sight.


So, leg up.



This is why I cut it, because I was shaving it.


"In the nick of time", I got a small cut, so that means a small amount of time that

you have.

All right?

So, just in time; in the nick of time.

So, a small cut before it would be too late.

Speaking of too late, let's go to: "ship has sailed".

When the ship has sailed, you've lost the opportunity.

If you don't make it in the nick of time and your ship has sailed, there was an opportunity

to do something and now it is gone.

It is gone by forever.

You should have been there earlier.


So: "My ship has sailed.


I can't go to Korea.

I'm supposed to do it when I was 21.

Now I'm too old.

The ship has sailed."

Now, last one: "call it a day", which I'm about to do in two seconds.

When you call it a day, you say you're finished.

You're finished working.

You're like: "Okay, we've done everything.

Let's just call it a day."

It doesn't mean the job is finished; it just means you're finished for now.

So, say you're arguing with your girlfriend: "Blah, blah, blah, blah!"

You go: "Okay, let's just call it a day."

That means: "The argument is not finished, but today it is.

We're done.

We're not going to argue today."

We're going to go home, go to our separate corners.

You know, like: "Oh".

You know, like: -"Rocky, you need...

You need water."

-"Yeah, I got to get back in.

Let's call it a day.

I'll go back and fight tomorrow."

All right?

Calling it a day.

Or if you're in a meeting: "You know, Johnson, we've had a difficult and long negotiation

process, and I think we should call it a day till tomorrow."

And then just in the nick of time, someone goes: "Hey, boss.

Don't do the deal.

It's a bad deal."

And he goes: "Yes, this opportunity has just sailed."

Sorry, I'm just playing with you, there.

But finished; call it a day.

And before I finish, I want to give you your homework, as per usual.

I want you to write a story using four of the time idioms you've got.

You might go: "How will I do that?"

Well, let me see.

In fact, I'm going to try to do it right now, but give me a second.

Let me call them up.

I'm going to say: "While I was doing time"...


I'm going with the jail one, there.

You see how I'm doing that?

"On the 11th hour, the governor called and said I could be released.

It was just in the nick of time, because I know later on that night there was going to

be trouble in the cells."

So, I just used three just like that because I speak English; I can just whip it off, and

that's what you need to be able to do.

And with practice from doing this with me and going to, doing the quiz

there and making sure you've mastered these, you'll be like a native speaker.

I love how everyone loves to say: "Like a native speaker".

Whatever that means.

What I mean is you're going to learn to master the language you've decided to put time to


All right?

So, anyways, you get the latest video that I'm doing.

Please don't forget to subscribe; somewhere around here.

Hit that bell.

Ring my bell, and it'll be shot to you.

Soon as it comes out, it'll be sent to you; you don't have to look for it.

As always, thank you very, very much for being part of our audience, and don't forget to

interact with the community.

You'll notice that sometimes I see what you guys write and I make a...

I may not make a comment, but I might make a video.

And before I forget, I think it's Aputure...



Yeah, these guys, thanks for the lights.

For turning on the lights.


Hate working in the dark.

So, listen: Have a good one, and I'm out.

I'm going to do something to kill time before I go get dinner.


The Description of 12 Expressions of TIME in English