sand clock illustrating the concept of time, and the word "idioms"

Idioms: time

Worksheet overview

With this ESL worksheet, students will learn 13 idioms related to time. A lot of them are business-related, so it can be used with Business English students, as well as General English students. You can combine it with the worksheet “Phrasal verbs: time management”.

The first 6 idioms (e.g. to beat the clock, against the clock, round the clock) are introduced through a short dialogue between 2 colleagues discussing an approaching deadline. Students match the idioms to their definitions. To practise, students complete 4 sentences with the correct idiom and then discuss whether the sentences are true for them. Next, students complete 4 sentences with their own ideas and use them to start a conversation with a partner.

Next,the rest of the idioms are introduced through 7 short dialogues (e.g. the time is ripe, to have time on your hands, time is on your side, to be behind the times).after matching the idioms to their definitions, students paraphrase 6 sentence, using the correct idiom.

The last 2 activities are focused on speaking. First, students are given 6 conversation questions to discuss. Finally, students are given a scenario to role-play.

This lesson on time-related idioms can be combined with other lessons about productivity, time management, and time-related phrases.

You can use the conversation cards to review these idioms and for additional speaking practice.


Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

This worksheet works well in combination with the following lesson plans

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