16 common English collocations with the word TIME

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“Time” is one of the most common words in English – but do you know all the different ways you can use the word time?

In today’s lesson, you’ll learn 16 common collocations with the word TIME, such as: waste time, kill time, it’s about time, stall for time, and more.

There’s also a quiz to help you practice the collocations in this lesson – scroll down to the bottom of the lesson to try it!

But first, you might be wondering, what are collocations?

Collocations are the common combinations of words that we tend to use together. When you learn collocations, it will be easier to put words together into sentences, and you’ll sound more like a native English speaker.

You can learn a lot more inside my e-book, which will teach you 1000 English collocations in 10 minutes a day.

OK, let’s jump in to today’s lesson. For each collocation I’ll teach you the definition and then give you an example sentence.

spend time

To pass your time doing some activity.

  • I spend a lot of time studying English.

waste time

Doing something that is not a good use of time.

  • Stop wasting time playing computer games and get to work!

make time for

To “create” time in a busy schedule.

  • I need to make time for regular exercise – maybe I can go to the gym before work.

save time

Something that is efficient and gives you extra time

  • Shopping online saves me time because I don’t have to wait in line at the store.

free/spare time

Time in which you have no obligations, and you can do whatever you want.

  • In my free time, I enjoy reading, painting, and cooking.

have time

Be available to do something.

  • I’d like to take violin lessons, but I don’t have enough time.

kill time / pass the time

Do something to make the time pass faster while you’re waiting for something else.

  • Let’s bring some magazines to help pass the time on the train ride.

take your time

You can use as much time as you want, you don’t have to go fast.

  • “I like all of these computers. I’m not sure which one I want to buy yet.”
    “That’s OK – take your time.”

on time

On schedule, at the right time.

  • It’s important to arrive on time for a job interview.

just in time

At the perfect time, soon before something else happens

  • Hi, Henry! Have a seat – you got here just in time for dinner.

have a hard/rough time

Something difficult, or a difficult period in life.

  • I’m having a hard time solving this math problem. Could you help me?

it’s about time

An expression that means “Finally!”

  • It’s about time they fixed the air conditioner in my classroom! It’s been broken for three years!

pressed for time

In a rush, in a hurry (when you need to do something and you don’t have enough time)

  • Sorry, I can’t talk at the moment – I’m a bit pressed for time. Can I call you back later?

run out of time

Have no more time before the limit.

  • I ran out of time before I finished the test, so I didn’t answer the last five questions.

stall for time


  • My son didn’t want to go to bed, so he tried to stall for time by asking me to read him another bedtime story.

take time off

Not go to work.

  • I’m taking some time off in July to go camping with my family.

Learn more: 20 English phrases with the word TIME

Quiz: Common English Collocations with TIME

Choose the best collocation for each sentence. Good luck!

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Learn the common combinations of words used by native English speakers!
16 common English collocations with the word TIME Espresso English

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