Phrase of the day: Time is of the essence

Over recent weeks, we’ve been taking a fair few bookings for what will be our first ever London summer school. It’s all very exciting, even if it does involve far more red tape than we’d initially anticipated. In order to be able to invite non-EU students here in a way that allows them to apply for short-term visas, we’ve had to go through an official accreditation process, which meant preparing an insane amount of paperwork. We’ve had to decide what the best way of receiving payments from a wide range of international customers is; we’ve had to find and book a venue for the courses; we’ve had to make contact with a bunch of different accommodation providers; and, of course, we’ve had to get all the courses written! All in all, I think it’s fair to say that we’re earning our money! Another thing we’ve had to do is email round to people who’ve already expressed an interest in certain courses, but haven’t yet booked their places to warn them that there are only a very few places left, so time is of the essence. In other words, they should book now to avoid disappointment.

The London skyline from Alexandra Palace.

If you tell someone that time is of the essence, it’s usually because you want to emphasize that something needs to be done as soon as it can be and so they need to hurry up if they don’t want to miss out. It’s a phrase that’s been used quite a lot in the media here of late because of the snap election that’s been called for June the 8th. Because there’s so little time before election day, that opposition parties really need to get their act together and start getting a clear, coherent message out to as many people as possible, if they’re to stand any chance at all of winning.

Time is also often of the essence in other lines of work, of course. Take police work, for example. As was recently shown in a remarkable BBC Radio 4 series about how police in the north-east of England dealt with a missing child report, in many investigations there’s no time to lose. The situation requires prompt action and every second counts. Incredibly important decisions need to be made in the heat of the moment and it’s crucial that cool heads prevail. All the experts agree that the first 48 hours after a child goes missing are critical and that within that time frame, there’s a lot families can do to facilitate the search.

Mercifully, we’re not in any kind of life-or-death situation. Having said that, though, if you do still want to come and study with us . . . . !

Read more about our summer school courses here.

  • Can you think of a time when time was really of the essence? What happened?
  • Do you have to deal with much red tape in your job?
  • Have you ever had to apply for a visa? How was it? What did the process involve?
  • Have you ever missed out on something you wanted to do because you left it too late?
  • Are you usually good at keeping a cool head in the heat of the moment?
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3 Responses

  1. bink24 says:

    nerdy pedantic alert . . . . 1st paragraph, 3rd line from bottom . . .
    . . . should be “warn” in place of “want”
    (hey, at least someone is reading your blog from beginning to end!)

    • Lexicallab says:

      Many thanks for that.
      Pedantic comments always welcome.
      Will change now!

      • bink24 says:

        Actually . . . . the same thing happens to me all the time. But I haven’t yet figured out if it’s early senility on my part . . or “auto-correct” screwing with me when I’m not looking.

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