One-Point English Lesson: High Time

Michael Happy English! 11 Comments

It's high time she got to work!

It’s high time she got to work!

One of the Happy English facebook fans, Layla, asked about the idiom “high time.” Here is how we use it.

High time is a noun, and means the time which is past the appropriate time. We generally use high time when we want to make a complaint that something hasn’t happened or complain that someone hasn’t done something when they were supposed to do it.
  • Jack is Jane’s boss. She was supposed to be at work at 9, but it is 9:15 and she just arrived at the office. She has been late a few times this week. Jack says, “Jane you’re late again. It’s high time you came to work on time!”
  • You are at a concert hall. The concert was supposed to begin at 8pm. At 9pm, the concert begins. You can say, “It’s high time the band started playing!”
  • You work very hard all morning at the office. It’s 2pm. Your coworker says, “It’s high time we took a lunch break.”

Can you think of another example using high time? Leave a comment here and let me know.



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  • Chaya

    60-year-old mother to 35-year-old daughter who lives with her: It’s high time you learned how to cook!

  • http://www.facebook.com Rabia Ali

    I was not used to working out, It’s high time I started working out.
    Could you tell me If it is similar to “it’s about time”??

    • Chaya

      Rabia Ali – I would say that ‘it’s about time’ would be used after someone does something you’ve been waiting for. For example, you’ve been waiting for someone to arrive and the person is late; so you would say: “It’s about time you got here!” Whereas ‘it’s high time’ would be used for something that hasn’t been done yet. What do you think, Michael? Am I right?

      • http://blog.myhappyenglish.com Michael

        Chaya, great point. ‘it’s about time’ would be used after someone does something you’ve been waiting for and ‘it’s high time’ would be used for something that hasn’t been done yet.

        It’s about time I replied here. It’s high time I started replying more quickly!

  • Grenadier

    —You are at a concert hall. The concert was suppose

    Perhaps, “You are at a concert hall. The concert was supposed” is more correctly.

    • http://blog.myhappyenglish.com Michael

      Thanks for letting me know! I’m a poor typist :-(

  • Maria Talha

    Its high time the plumber completed his job.
    Is this correct usage? kindly let me know.

    • http://blog.myhappyenglish.com Michael

      Hi Maria, yes…good example

  • http://WWW.Facebook.com Rabia

    Chaya… Thank you so much. I got it. I translated it in native language than it became easy to make out difference.
    It’s high time is used when we are making complain.
    Both have same meaning but we say it in different way.

  • Name umm

    You was talking for one hour, It’s high time take a break.

    • http://blog.myhappyenglish.com Michael

      Thanks! “It’s high time to take a break” works better :)