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Last updated at 17:21 BST, Tuesday, 03 July 2012

Not give someone the time of day

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Li has a difficult colleague and Chris says that he wouldn't give that person the time of day. What does he mean? Listen to more of their conversation about this expression!

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Who wouldn't you give the time of day?

The script for this programme

Chris: Hi there Li.

Li: Oh, hi Chris.

Chris: Are you alright? You seem annoyed?

Li: Oh, I'm fed up. I had to stay late at work again yesterday. I still didn't manage to finish all the work, so I came in early today as well.

Chris: Sounds like you need a cup of tea. I'll put the kettle on. What have you got to finish?

Li: Well, it's not even my work I have to finish – it's Lisa's.

Chris: What do you mean?

Li: Since she started, she's always asking me to do her work for her. She'll start it, and then give it to me to complete, then leave early while I have to stay late to get it all done!

Chris: Oh, I know how you feel. Lisa did the same thing to me last week. She's really difficult to work with. Normally I wouldn't give her the time of day, but she is the manager's secretary.

Li: You wouldn't give her the time of day? What time?

Chris: No, no… it's an expression – a negative expression. What I meant was I wouldn't normally pay attention to her. It's a bit of an unfriendly expression to use. Here are some examples:

After the way Dave talked about me during the meeting, I wouldn't give him the time of day.

Politicians are all the same – they're never honest. I wouldn't give any of them the time of day.


Chris: Long ago, in Shakespeare's time, the phrase 'good time of day' was a greeting often used. These days we say 'good morning'…

Li: Or 'good afternoon'.

Chris: That's right. So to say that you wouldn't give someone the time of day means you wouldn't want to greet them or say hello. So the saying means you refuse to give someone your attention.

Li: Oh, I see.

Chris: But sadly we can't avoid some people in the office, no matter how hard we try!

Li: Well, I'd better get back to work… I've got so much to do!

Chris: Good luck. Let me know if you need any help.

Li: Thanks Chris. See you later.

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