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What idioms can you use for talking about knowledge

What idioms can you use for talking about knowledge

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What idioms can you use for talking about time

How do you respond when somone asks about when you woke up? You might simply say ‘I woke up early’ or tell them the time “I woke up at 6 am”. This can be done in a different and better way.  But, how? By using idioms of course! It is the usage of idioms that will set you apart from the other candidates and help you achieve that band you are aiming for.

In today’s article we will look at some idioms to talk about time.

What are the idioms?

1. The crack of dawn.

Meaning: The very beginning of daylight (dawn).

Sample prompt:

Describe an outdoor activity that you enjoy doing

You should say:

  • what the activity is
  • where and when you do it
  • how you feel about it 

and say if you would recommend this activity to your friends.

How the idiom can be used?

“Earlier I used to wake up at the crack of dawn to go cycling because it was the best time to do so. There would hardly be any people and it would be so peaceful.”

2. The early bird catches the worm.

Meaning: If you do something in a timely manner you will succeed.

Sample prompt:

Narrate an incident when you completed a task successfully

You should say

  • what the task was
  • how much time it took
  • what problems you faced while doing it

and in how much time did you manage to complete it?

How the idiom can be used?

“I completely believe in the saying that the early bird catches the worm therefore I started searching for flight tickets as soon as the task was assigned.”

3. A stitch in time saves nine.

Meaning: If you fix a small problem right away, it will not become a bigger problem later.

Sample prompt:

Talk about a job that helps making the world a better place.

You should say:

  • what job is it
  • how you learned about it
  • why do you think it helps so much

and explain why do you think it can make the world a better place.

How the idiom can be used?

“With the changing times and the rate at which technology is develpoing, it is better to follow the proverb a stitch in time saves nines otherwise you will be left behind and your competitors will easily beat you.”

4. To buy time.

Meaning: To postpone an event hoping that the situation will improve.

Sample prompt:

Recall and talk about a time when you had to struggle to complete or achieve something

You should say

  • what was the task at hand
  • what kind of problems you faced and overcame
  • how long did it take to overcome the problems and complete the task

and what did you learn from the entire episode?

How the idiom can be used?

“I tried to buy time in order to complete the task in an appropriate way, but even that could not be possible as we were already behind the schedule.”

5.Kill time

Meaning: Do something that is not very interesting to pass time.

Sample prompt:

Describe a radio or video jockey

You should say:

  • who is s/he
  • what show s/he host
  • how he presents the show

and talk about why you like / dislike him/ her.

How the idiom can be used?

“Initially I came across the show only to kill time  while waiting for someone.Now I am so hooked to the show and the jockey that I keep myself free during that hour to not miss out on the show.”

6.Call it a day

Meaning: To say that a day’s work has been completed

Sample prompt:

Talk a day at work/schoo/university which was stressful.

You should say:

  • how the day began
  • what and how things started going wrong
  • who were the people involved

and explain why the day was stressful

How the idiom can be used?

“We finally decided to call it a day and start afresh the next morning when we failed to complete it even after the fifth attempt.”

7.Against the clock

Meaning: Doing something against the clock means you are rushed and have very little time to do it.

Sample prompt:

When did you last work within a deadline

You should say

  • what the task was
  • how much time it took
  • how did you complete it

and whether you managed to complete the task in a successful manner


How the idiom can be used?

“By the end of the last day I felt like I was working against the clock as there were so many things yet to be completed and checked.”

8. Better late than never

Meaning: This suggests that it is better to do something late than not do it at all.

Sample prompt:

Talk about a book that had a major influence on you.

You should say:

  • which book it was
  • how did you come to know about it
  • what is the the story

and how it has impacted your life

How the idiom can be used?

“When i finally did start reading the book and told my friend about it he was happy and said “Better late than never.”. 

9.Eleventh hour

Meaning: When something happens at the very last minute.

Sample prompt:

Talk about a speech that you heard somebody deliver

You should say:

  • who the speech was given by
  • what did the speech talk about
  • if you were impressed or not by the speech

and state the reasons as to why you liked/disliked the speech

How the idiom can be used?

“I had other plans but they got cancelled at the eleventh hour. So my colleagues forced me to accompnay them to the speech which forever changed my perspective towards life.”


10. In the blink of an eye

Meaning: If something happens in the blink of an eye, it happens nearly instantaneously, with hardly enough time to notice it

Sample prompt:

Talk about a family member from whom you learned something useful

You Should Say:

  • what did you learn
  • how was it useful to you
  • whether you taught this to someone else

and explain why it was important for you.

How the idiom can be used?

“It was amazing how she disappeared and appeared at another place in the blink of an eye.”

Now, attempt the following exercises to pratice what you ahve learnt in this article.

Vocabulary Exercises:

A. Fill in the gaps in the following sentence with idioms from the box.

crack of dawn  eleventh hour  against the clock   

  1. Adam said he now was working ________________ as the deadline had already passed 2 days back.

  2. At the ______________________ you’ll only see the newspaper vendors and a few milkman on the streets of the city.

  3. We had to book our tickets at the ____________ because our schedules weren’t fixed.


  B. Use an appropriate idiom for the following situations.

  1. Your friend had been standing and chatting with you. You get a phone call and excuse yourself from the conversation. Because you couldn’t hear properly you move away to speak on the phone, It was hardly a one minute call, but when you return to the spot where you had been standing and talking to your friend, your friend was not no longer there. What idiom will you use to describe your friend’s quick and sudden disappearance?

  2. Your friend doesn’t know how to drive a car. This creates a lot of hassles and problems for you and everyone else, every time an outing is planned. You ask her to learn driving. What idiom will you use to prompt her?

  3. You and your friends had planned a trip long time back.You got your tickets booked as soon as things were finalized and hence had got them easily and at a cheaper rate. The rest of them were struggling to find flights and trains and some of them even had to pay triple the amount of what you had paid. You poke fun at them, saying you were smart enough to book the tickets early on hence _________ (insert appropriate idiom)

  4. You and some of your friends are waiting for a train at the railway station. The announcer declares that the train is running an hour late. You and your friends decide to explore the area around the railway station to __________.

  5. Your boss had called for a meeting right before everyone left. It had been a long one and everyone was tired by the end of it. He knew that it won’t be possible for everyone to start working on the decided plan of action right away so he says, ” Let’s __________ and start implementing these from tomorrow.”

Answer Key:


1. against the clock

2. crack of dawn

3. eleventh hour


1. In the blink of an eye

2. Better late than never

3. the early bird catches the worm

4. kill the time

5. call it a day