Tag Archives: time

A week (Monday)

a week Monday usage

Photo credit: timecenter.com

This morning I was listening to my favourite radio show by Shaun Keaveny – together with chocolate & tangerine granola it’s one of the few things that gets me out of bed. Today he chatted to Brian Cox – the great British physicist and, apparently, one of the sexiest men alive, who has just finished filming The Human Universe series. He mentioned that it’ll premiere ‘a week Tuesday’, and I immediately thought that I should write about this ‘a week …’ usage which puzzled me for quite some time.

In fact, it can also be ‘a week on…’, but ‘on’ is sometimes dropped. You use week in expressions such as ‘a week on Monday‘, ‘a week next Tuesday‘, and ‘tomorrow week‘ to mean exactly one week after the day that you mention. 


The 800 metre final is on Monday week (Reverso).

– We’ll be back a week on Friday (Oxford Dictionary). 

Actually, after receiving a comment from a friend and a diligent reader of this blog, Zsofia, I double-checked Brian Cox’s twitter and it said that The Human Universe will start on 7 October, which is in one week, also on Tuesday. So when saying ‘a week Tuesday‘ he meant ‘next Tuesday’ because it’s Tuesday today! If he said ‘a week Friday’, then it would mean ‘a week after the coming Friday’.  

You quite often hear ‘Monday/Tuesday etc. week‘ (=the Monday/Tuesday etc after next Monday/Tuesday etc.), which effectively is two weeks, as in:

– I’ll be home Thursday week (if today is Tuesday, 30 September, the person is coming back on Thursday, 9 October).

You might also find this thread on Wordreference forum useful – I certainly did!

P.S. I hope I got it right!

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How long is too long?

waiting time perception in uk

Photo credit: Banksy, untappedcities.com

Today I had what might almost be called a ‘business meeting’  in London. The person I was meeting mentioned that he was negotiating with a certain company for so long that its managing director died. At this point my eyes nearly popped out.

I immediately remembered all the things that seem to take a disproportionately long in this country compared to Russia, where I come from. To paraphrase the words of King George VI from King’s Speech, waiting for a BT engineer to come one can wait a rather long wait. I also remember how I came to the university library to get a library card (which only gets a few minutes to print and issue) and was asked whether I could pick it up in a couple of weeks. I couldn’t. On another occasion I amazed a whole bunch of people by completing a task, which they thought would take a couple of weeks, in under one hour – and I swear it was no rocket science.

I’m still trying to figure out why these things take such a long time. Can it be that tea-drinking gets in the way?

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To cough up

to cough up meaning usage phrasal verb

Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

It’s been ages since I published anything on my blog – there were simply far too many things getting in the way. Now, after I moved back to Bristol, I am gradually finding my feet and the normal life has (almost) resumed. So I’ll try to keep the new posts coming.

On Friday I had a few errands to run and, most importantly, I needed to go to a post office to post some documents. One of the customers needed to send some documents to make sure they’d arrive the next day. This service is called ‘Next Day Delivery’, but, my god, it costs a lot! When the lady was told how much she would need to pay, she was rather shocked, but said ‘I would need to cough up anyway – it has to be there tomorrow’. I thought it would make a nice come-back phrase for my blog.

The Cambridge Online Dictionary defines ‘coughing up‘ as ‘producing money or information unwillingly’.

For more examples of usage see below:

– I’ve just had to cough up £40 for a parking fine (Cambridge Online Dictionary). So far I’ve had to cough up £40 for my parking mistakes!

– Add the $4.5 billion together with the $6.5 billion it has paid on claims from individuals and businesses that suffered and the $7.8 billion it agreed to cough up to settle further such claims and the bill, excluding clean-up costs, has hit some $19 billion so far (The Economist).

– Peruvians, for example, are relatively poor so cannot cough up as much as people in richer countries (The Economist).

– Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “Millions of us prefer to deal with our bank on the phone, yet we are expected to cough up for a costly call when we do (BBC).

However, ‘to cough up‘ can be used in its direct meaning in a medical context, for example:

– Tuberculosis (TB) is spread by an airborne germ and leads to people coughing up blood (BBC).

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Are you good for time?

are you good for time meaning usage

Photo credit: gametrailers.com

Today I went to an interview at a recruitment agency and the moment I walked in I was handed a heap of paperwork to fill in. The agent asked politely ‘Are you good for time?’ I could only say ‘yes’, really, and started scribbling down the list of my employers, strengths and weaknesses. I don’t know whether I’ll get the job, but at least there’s going to be a nice addition to this blog. There’s another phrase involving ‘good’ which I’d dwell on later.

Here are a few examples of this colloquial expression:

– A: Only a couple more questions, are you good for time?

B: Yeah I can answer a few more! (examiner.com)

– Ok, I’m GMT so 11:10pm here. Probably be on for about an hour or so once I get on that is. I’ve got a few side missions ready to go (mostly about 7k+ XP reward). Are you going to need to get off at any point or are you good for time? (forums.gearboxsoftware.com)

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half expression with time

Photo credit: favim.com

How would you say 12-30 or 3-30 in English? At school and at the university I was told to say ‘half past twelve’ or ‘half past three’. This was either completely false in the first place or the English people became lazier over the years and by the time I actually came here everyone was saying ‘half twelve’ and ‘half three’ instead.

Initially I was thinking that if ‘half past three’ means 3-30 than ‘half three’ should mean 2-30 and on one occasion I actually arrived an hour earlier!

Learn from my mistakes!

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About time

Don’t worry – today I won’t bore you with long definitions and endless examples.

I’m pretty sure by this time everyone knows about how miserable this summer has been in the UK, but today was one of the rare days with some serious sunshine. So I went to buy some fruit from a greengrocer and had the following conversation:

– It’s nicer today!

– Oh yes (I’m bad at small talk, yet it is an absolute survival skill in this country)

About time (pronounced very sarcastically).

Actually, I couldn’t resist looking this up in the dictionary just in case. Apparently, ‘about time‘ has two relatively similar meanings: 1) used for saying that someone should do something soon; 2) in spoken language it’s used for showing that you are annoyed because something has happened later than it should (MacMillan Dictionary).

PS. Speaking of greengrocers, did you know such thing as a greengrocers’ apostrophe existed?

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