“I’m running late” is the idiomatic expression used when a person wants to be excused for the likelihood that he will be late.
It may also be used to cut off a conversation, for example, the listener wants to stop talking and interrupts the speaker with, “I have to go, I’m running late”. It would be bad taste for the speaker to continue talking and he would be expected to end the conversation.
How do you use the term “running late”?
For example, a person says to a waiter: “Could you bring the bill with coffee? We’re running late”. This means that if they do not hurry, they risk being late for their next appointment.
Can you think of situations when it’s necessary to tell someone that you’re “running late”?
On the other hand, the expression “running out of time” is used when someone tells you that they have run out of time; they mean that they have used up most of their allocated time, that they have no time left, for a particular activity such as a test.
How do we use the term?
- “My biggest worry is that I’m running out of time and energy. Thirty years ago, I thought 10 years was a really long time.”
- “We are running out of time. Can we take a decision before we wrap up the meeting?
Can you think of situations when it’s necessary to tell someone that you are “running out of time”?
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Source: Learning English Matters