Chatterbox #89 – You’re late!

The idea for this episode came from a Culips listener, Igor, who thought this might be an interesting topic. He was late to meet his friend, and his friend said, “I’m getting old here!” So here’s your episode, Igor. In it, Maura and Harp talk about the importance of being on time and what to do if you’re late in Canada. They also explain Igor’s friend’s expression, and give you a few others you might hear if you’re late!



Expressions included in the learning materials

  • Better late than never
  • To show up
  • On time
  • Fashionably late
  • Who’s counting?
  • Under control
  • To stand someone up
  • I’m getting old here
  • I don’t have all day
  • Take a chill pill
  • A rhyme
  • To waltz in
  • Without a care in the world
  • From now on
  • To grace us with your presence

Sample transcript

Maura: Today is a Chatterbox episode, and that is where Harp and I get to chat about all different kinds of topics. Today’s episode was actually suggested by a Culips listener on Facebook.

Harp: Yes. Hello Igor Alfa! Thanks for this suggestion.

Maura: Right. Thank you so much. Igor wrote to us that he was meeting one of his friends and he showed up late. His friend said to him, “I’m getting old here.” And so that’s what Igor was writing us about. We’ll explain this expression in just a couple of minutes.

Harp: Yes. So today we’re gonna talk about being late. We’re gonna first talk about the cultural importance in North America to be on time.

Maura: And then we’re gonna look at some expressions, like Igor suggested, that are used to talk about when people are late. So, we have a proverb in the English language that is better late than never.

Harp: Yes. Better late than never.

Maura: And this means that it is better to be late than to never show up. Or it could also be used to mean it is better to finish something, like a project, late than to never finish it. But for this case, in this episode, we’re just gonna be talking about people being late.

Harp: Yeah. And in Canada, it’s very important to be on time.

Maura: It is important to be on time. When you make a plan to meet someone at 3 o’clock, you should be there at 3 o’clock. Seems quite logical to me, but I guess because I’m Canadian, that’s why it makes sense.

Harp: Yup. And we know in other places being late is very often normal and when you say 3 o’clock, everyone knows that you mean 4 o’clock, but here in Canada, if you say 3 o’clock you mean 3 o’clock.

Maura: Right. And it’s easy to figure out because you don’t have to add another hour or be there early. The time that you’re supposed to meet is the time that you should be there. It is of course important to be on time in Canada and the US, but how much time do you think is socially acceptable to be late?

Harp: I would say maximum 15 minutes.

Maura: Yeah. I would agree. If you’re five, ten minutes late, or even 15 minutes late, it’s probably still OK and no one is going to be super mad at you. And with the technology today, you can always phone people or send them a message saying why you’re going to be late.

Harp: Yeah. If you’re gonna be late, it’s nice to let people know.

Maura: Yeah. Some people, though, are known to be more late than this and they’re just late people and you know that when you invite them somewhere they’re going to be later than 15 minutes. But if it’s your friend, you just accept this.

Harp: Why are you looking at me like that, Maura?

Maura: I didn’t say anything about you, Harp.

Harp: All right, let’s talk about it. Are you a late person or do you show up on time most of the time?

Maura: You know, I do like to be on time. If I’m going to meet a friend, I definitely want to be on time. If I’m invited for dinner, I might be just a few minutes late, fashionably late. But I generally do like to be on time. I don’t like the idea that someone is waiting for me. Maybe because I hate waiting

Podcast/Learning Materials: Culips English Podcast