On a recent trip to Italy, I learned that Americans use verbs with time (kill, spend, save) that other cultures might not use. Learn some verbs that we use with time and how to use them to polish your use of English vocabulary. We’ll study: kill time, waste time, spend time, save time, bank time, take time, give time, buy time
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In this American English pronunciation video, I am filming from Umbria, on a farm, here in Italy and I’m going to talk a little bit about my experience in Italy and also we’re going to talk about phrases that Americans use when talking about time. We’ll go over phrases that use these verbs: kill, waste, spend, save, bank, take, give, and buy.
First, let me show you where I am. It’s too beautiful not to show. The breeze is blowing. The farm is quiet. Everyone’s on their siesta. I have decided to do a little bit of work and share with you a video that I’m going to make here with some reflections on my time in Italy and also doing a contrast with some, something cultural about America, the way we use and talk about time.
As David and I were getting ready to go on this trip, we listened to some podcasts, we watched a lot of videos, travel videos, some movies that were filmed here. We were so excited to get to know a little bit about culture in Italy and how it’s different from American culture and one of the podcasts that we listened to was an interview that someone was doing for an American who has moved to Italy and she was pointing out that in America, we have all of these different phrases that we use, all of these different verbs that we use with time that they don’t use in Italy.
In Italy, there seems to be more of a relaxed feeling around time than there is in the US where being on time is very important and we don’t want to waste time. That would be terrible. Time is a commodity so it, it made me think a lot about just the cultural difference is there and then I was thinking it’s so interesting the words people use, the verbs people use when talking about time.
Waste. So we have the phrase ‘waste time’ which means we think it is possible to waste time. Not all time is equal. We have the phrase: to kill time, to Bank time, to spend time. These really sounds like money kind of terms, don’t they?
So I found this interesting and I was very excited to come here to Italy to sort of absorb what does it mean to not think about time in these terms because I am definitely guilty of thinking about wasting time so before I go any further, I want to say that I have prepared a podcast that David and I are going to record and actually, we think we’re going to record three that have to do with our time in Italy and they’re gonna focus on three things.
One of them is going to be just what has it been like to not be a native speaker, what have we learned from that experience, and what might you learn as a non-native speaker of English when you’re in America. The next podcast will be on what does it felt like as a person to be somewhere different, cultural differences, what’s it like as our personalities being an outsider or someone who’s not from here, and then the third one is we both have terrible Italian skills and so we have sort of struggled with speaking and one of our main concerns is being polite. So the third podcast, that’s going to come out of this time in Italy, is how to be polite in English when you’re asking for something. So the first podcast comes out tomorrow and then the next ones will come out in the future. Make sure you check these out. They’re going to be so useful. Www.rachelsenglish.com/ podcast
You can also search for my podcast in the iTunes Store or also Stitcher. But now, let’s come back to this video and talk about this topic. Phrases that we might use when we’re talking about time. Studying vocabulary is very important and interesting but also studying whole phrases that we use will really aid in your conversational ability.
So in this video, we’re going to go over phrases that we use when we’re talking about time in American English.
Kill time. We use this term to mean find something to do while we wait for something else. For example, let’s say I’m meeting a friend for lunch but I arrive 30 minutes early. What will I do for those 30 minutes? I might kill time looking in some shops in the area with my son. I might say ‘We’re going to the playground to kill time before his nap.’ This phrase is neutral it’s not really positive or negative but ‘wasting time’ now, that is negative. We do not like to waste time. If we’re wasting time, we’re doing something that in the end, doesn’t matter. For example, I don’t want to waste time working on this report if no one’s going to read it. Or a parent might say to a kid ‘Stop wasting time and do your homework.’ We might also accuse someone else of wasting our time. My client keeps changing her mind on what she wants, it’s a complete waste of my time.
Spend time. The idea here is that time is precious so what we do if it matters: I want to spend time with my son this weekend. I don’t want to spend time cleaning the house. I’d rather be outside enjoying the sunshine. He spends a lot of time exercising. Notice with the word ‘spend’ and ‘time’, when I say them together: spend time, I tend to drop the D. This is because it comes between two consonants. And I linked the N into the T. Spend time. I love to spend time practicing the piano.
Save time. We use this when we’re able to do something faster than we thought. I can skip grocery shopping today so that will save time. If you use our software, you’ll save time scheduling the meetings. Saving time is always seen as a positive.
Bank time. This is something you do when you’re saving and it’s usually used with a set amount of time like your vacation time at work. I’m going to Bank time so I can take a long vacation over the holidays. That means you’re not going to take much time off until then so you can take a really long and nice vacation.
Take time. This can be used to show that something is a sacrifice, or it’s for something that requires some effort. It’s not necessarily a negative. It can be something you really enjoy. For example: tenting my garden does take time but I do love it. Making a good YouTube video takes time with all the planning and editing. Fixing my car will take too much time I’m going to take it to the mechanic instead.
If you ‘give something time’ that means you have to be patient with something. It may require no effort or taking a break from working on something. For example: I’ve been trying so hard t come up with a topic for my book. Now I’m just going to give it some time and see if a great idea comes to me.
But giving time can also mean being patient while you continue to work on something.
I just started taking piano lessons again. I have to give it time to feel confident in playing.
Give it time, your boss will notice how hard you’re working.
Buy time. This means you’re delaying something. Let’s say you’re supposed to give a presentation but the projector isn’t working, everyone’s already there. You may ‘buy time’ by serving snacks while you try to figure out the projector. They want the first draft of my paper but it’s not ready yet. I’m going to try to buy some time by telling them I’m sick.
Kill, waste, spend, save, Bank, take, give, buy. Do any of these translate directly into your language? Okay, guys that’s it. I hope you’ve learned some useful phrases that you may want to use when you’re talking to Americans about time and also maybe this has shed a little light. There’s an idiom for you. To shed light on. Maybe this video has shed a little light on American culture and how we relate to time. Alright guys, that’s it. And so from the beautiful Umbria countryside, that’s it and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English!