In English, we have so many idioms and expressions about time, like “time flies”, “time is of the essence”, “third time’s the charm”, and even “high time”. But today let’s focus on how we use our time.

The most common verbs we use with time are usually “spend” and “waste”, but what’s the difference? I’ll help you understand below.

Spend time

The most important thing to remember about “spending time” is that it’s a positive thing. Think hobbies, pastimes, or how you relax. These are the things you do for fun, relaxing, or just your life.

  • Example:
    Q: How do you spend your time on the weekends?
    A: I like to hike on nice days, and watch movies on cold days.
  • Example:
    Recently I’ve been spending more and more time on reading. I used to spend most of my free time reading, but I stopped for a few years.

Waste time

Just like “spend time” is a positive thing, “waste time” is always a negative. Just like wasting money, or wasting energy, this is an action that we cannot get back. That time is gone, and we have nothing positive to show for it. Be careful though, because what you think of as wasting time might be someone else’s hobby!

  • Example:
    I wasted a lot of time watching TV when I should have been studying.
  • Example:
    I played a lot of video games when I was younger and my parents always said I was wasting my time. Now I’m a video game designer, so I don’t think it was a waste at all!

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