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What Time is It? | Spoken English

Updated: Jun 3, 2020

Graham: What time is it? Aren’t we running behind time?

Lucy: It’s quarter to nine. We’re on time. Don’t panic.

Graham: But I thought we had to be at the office by 8.30. We’ll never make it there with all this heavy traffic.

Lucy: Sure we will. We’re supposed to reach there by 9.15. There’s no need to worry. We shall reach at 9 on the dot.

Graham: Then, I don’t think I have reasons to worry about. While returning we’ve got to start early to avoid the traffic.

Lucy: Surely, We will.


1. What time is it: We use this sentence to enquire about the time of the day.

2. running behind time: This phrase is used to indicate that someone is getting late in the process of doing something.

3. quarter to nine: This phrase is used in response to an inquiry about time. This phrase means that ‘ fifteen minutes are left to be nine o’ clock.

Note: Quarter: a period of 15 minutes either before or after the specified time.

‘Quarter past nine’ means 9:15.

4. Panic: Panic means ‘ feel frightened suddenly’.

Ex: Don’t panic. Everything is okay.

5. Make it there:

a) to succeed in reaching a place in time, especially when this is difficult.

e.g. The flight leaves in twenty minutes—we'll never make it.

b) to be able to be present at a place

e.g. I'm sorry I won't be able to make it (= for example, to a party) on Saturday.

6. on the dot

(informal) exactly on time or at the exact time mentioned.

e.g. a) The taxi showed up on the dot.

b) Breakfast is served at 8 on the dot.

c) Please tell him I’ll call him on the dot of twelve.

7. have got to: used to show that you must do something.

e.g. Sorry, I've got to go/ You've got to do this work.

Reference: Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English by A. S. Hornby (OUP)


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