English express impatience

Have you heard people use the phrase “it’s about time?”

Is this one of those phrases that seems a bit confusing or maybe too much in English?

When we arrive at a destination or conclusion that we have been waiting for, this is the perfect phrase to use.

We’re going to look at all of the various ways that you can use this phrase, and why it’s such an important part of conversations and connections.

Get Your Transcripts Today!

English transcripts

Make sure you understand every word you hear on All Ears English.

Bring your English to the advanced level with new vocabulary and natural expressions.
Subscribe and get the transcripts delivered by email.

Learn to speak naturally with the American accent.

Click here to subscribe and save 50%

Looking At A Common Phrase

Have you heard people use the phrase “it’s about time?”

You have probably heard this used in conversation, and it’s an interesting phrase to try out.

You can learn a lot about this phrase by hearing a real life example of how this worked for us.

During a Website Wizard interview with Miguel, Lindsay asked him what he wanted to achieve in terms of fluency in English.

He responded to Lindsay by saying “it’s time”, which probably sounded like the correct phrase to use here.

Lindsay corrected him and said “it’s about time” with emphasis and intonation.

This is because he had been studying English since he was a kid–and so it was about time for him to achieve greater fluency.

When you look at that example, Miguel saying “it’s time” could probably fit there.

The reality though is that taking it one step further and using the phrase “it’s about time” is fitting.

This is like an exclamation or proclamation about something that you’ve been waiting for.

It’s like saying that you have been waiting patiently but finally you have arrived at this destination or conclusion.

You might have never thought you would get there, but now you are there and it’s time to enjoy it.

We’re going to look at this phrase, for it’s about how you use it and how you say it that matters the most.

It Can Be About How You Say It

As with so many phrases, it can be just as much about how you say something.

This is one of those phrases where intonation becomes so important to deliver the message clearly.

When you say a phrase such as “it’s about time” you may be more serious and straightforward in your delivery or intent.

However you may use this phrase in a sarcastic and sassy sort of way–and that’s what we’re focusing on today.

It’s almost like saying something has happened later, or that you were waiting on something for quite awhile.

So in the example with Miguel, if he wanted to have more of a spunky attitude about what he was saying or to show he was irritated he could have said “it’s about time.”

That’s the focus today–on the sarcastic or impatient sort of tone that you may use in certain situations.

You may ask yourself how exactly does this help you to connect with others?

You can share your frustration about something with yourself, or even with your circumstances.

You are allowing yourself to be vulnerable when you use this phrase and exhibit this mindset.

This is something you can use to open yourself up with, and it almost always allows for conversation.

It’s something that others can relate to, and so the conversation and connections flow when you use a phrase like this.

Sometimes a phrase can be powerful, and this is that instance.

Other Times This May Be Used

What makes this such a versatile and common phrase is all about the various ways it can be used.

Yes you can use it as a measure of time, but there are other ways that you can use it too.

Though they all focus on some sort of exclamation that centers around something taking a long time, you can mix it up a bit too.

There are other times or ways that you can use the phrase “it’s about time” and you want to consider them.

  • Someone is late: This works well for somebody that is late all the time. When they arrive or you see them you could easily say “it’s about time!” Be sure that you say it with the right tone, for example if you are being playful then say it in that sort of way. It works to let the other person know that you noticed that they are late.
  • Someone finally gets engaged or married: It may be a couple that you know well and that you have seen go through a long courtship. People may say it to you if you happen to be in that situation. You are usually happy for the person when you say this because it’s been long awaited. Somebody may announce their engagement for example and you may say something like “I’m so happy for you–it’s about time!”
  • Something happens that is obvious to everyone but never happened until that moment: This may be the relationship starting between two people who didn’t realize they liked each other. It may be something that happens on a TV show which you could have seen coming. It’s often a conclusion that you saw happening before it actually happened. You may find out that your friend is finally dating somebody that you could see they had feelings for. When they tell you it might work to say something like “I’m so glad that you two are finally together–it’s about time! I saw that one coming!”

These are the times when you can use this phrase in conversation.

There are many examples of how this works, and it will be helpful for you to see them.

This will all allow you to use this phrase in conversation at the right point in time.

Looking At Examples

You may find it to be quite useful to look at the way a phrase like this is used.

Since it has so many different uses, these examples can help you to understand how you might use them in conversation.

Here are more examples that talk about time or are the common use for this phrase.

Lindsay: “Sorry I’m late.”

Michelle: “It’s about time!” 

Michelle: “Oh my goodness. Larry and Robin finally got together.”

Lindsay: “It’s about time!”

Lindsay: “She finally got her scholarship money.”

Michelle: “It’s about time! She’s been waiting forever.” 

The phrase can also be used earlier on, to describe your own thoughts.

It’s the same idea but with less attitude when it’s said.

Michelle: “It’s about time you move out and get a roommate.”

Lindsay: “I know, I know.”

For the purpose of our focus today, we’re looking at the first way or usage.

This is more about using it to speak about a time reference.

This is a more literal usage for the phrase, and one that you will hear in conversations often.

Additional Examples To Look At

There are other ways to use similar phrases and proclamations, and ways to say it in conversation.

These are worth looking at and can help you to try out different ways of using this phrase in conversation.

  • What took you so long? This is a measure of time but a statement too. It’s asking somebody why they waited so long or delayed in the way that they are handling things.

Lindsay: “I’m here, I’m here!”

Michelle: “What took you so long?”

  • Finally! It’s a statement in and of itself and it can be even a bit exaggerated. You can say this when you have been waiting for something or when you were hoping somebody would take action. It works well in delays.

Michelle: “I got the birthday cake. Sorry about the delay.”

Lindsay: “Finally! “

  • That took forever! This is along the same lines as finally and works in a similar way. You may express impatience with this or that you’ve been waiting awhile for something.

Lindsay: “We JUST got our meal.”

Michelle: “Wow, that took forever. Okay call me when you’re done.”

  • I thought _______ would never ____ or I thought it’d never happen! This is a great use when you thought you would never get to this milestone. It may be something big that you have been waiting awhile for. It can often be a good thing that was worth the wait.

Michelle: “He said I love you!”

Lindsay: “Oh good. I thought it’d never happen.”

These  phrases can help you to see other ways to express this sort of thought.

As you can see, there are multiple uses for this sort of phrase in conversation.

Takeaway

It’s about time is a VERY fun and useful phrase, but it does have a bit of sass to it.

We gave you the meaning, examples, and other ways to say something similar.

This is a versatile phrase because it can be used in so many different ways.

Try these out and listen for them to connect today!

This is one aspect of English that you can have fun with, and a great way to add to your conversations.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.


Test Your English Level Now

Free Score Calculator

Take this simple quiz and find out your IELTS band score..

Laptop
  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)
  • App-Store-Button
  • Badges (1)
  • Badges-1 (1)
  • Badges-2 (1)