ESL Learning: Time Idioms

ETO Time

If you’ve ever watched the UFC, you may have heard the announcer, Bruce Buffer, yell, “It’s time!”

What does he mean when he says, “It’s time”?

In this blog post, we will discuss this saying and two other idioms related to time.

It’s time: now is the time to do something


  • Son, you’re 16 now. I think it’s time for you to start practicing your driving skills.

  • The mothers of the world say that it’s time for us to stop fighting each other.

Moment of truth: a situation that requires us to face a challenge and find out more about ourselves and our plans


  • Today we face a moment of truth. We will open our restaurant and start inviting customers to eat our delicious food! What will they think?

  • The people of Earth are having to face a moment of truth as we experience the negative effects of polluting our planet.

Now or never: something must be acted on now, because the opportunity may not remain for much longer

  • It’s now or never. We need to make sure that we leave our children with a truly better world.

  • If we really want to be happy, we must choose to be happy now or never.

ETO Hourglass


Well, it’s time to say goodbye for now. When you reach your moments of truth, remember that we all have challenges in life. It’s now or never for us as a planet to work together, and 2014 is the year of teamwork!

Why not join the ETO family? Let’s work together to make the world better. For a free class, just click here.

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By Joseph

ETO American English teacher


Using Articles with Country Names

Using articles with country names seems difficult. But really it is not. There 3 clear rules that I can give you to help you know when you should use articles with country names.


Rule 1: we use ‘The’ if the county’s name includes a common noun.

For example, the United States of America has the common noun ‘States’ in its name, so we need to use ‘The’.

Here is another example: The Islamic Republic of Iran contains the common noun ‘Republic’, so we need to use ‘The’.

Below is a list of some more common country names that have common nouns and use the article ‘The’:

The Central African Republic

The Republic of Korea (South Korea)

The Russian Federation (Russia)

The Roman Empire (Rome)

Rule 2:‘the’ is used before any country name if the name contains ‘of’.

Here is the structure: The ___ of ___.

Look below at these examples:

(Countries with ‘of’)

The United States of America

The Republic of China

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

The Islamic Republic of Iran

Rule 3: we use ‘The’ if the country is an island country.

Look below at these examples:

(Island nations)

The Maldives

The Marshall Islands

The Philippine Islands (The Philippines)

Here is the summary:

Rule 1 is that we use ‘The’ if the county’s name includes a common noun.

Rule 2 is ‘The’ is used before any country name if the name contains ‘of’.

Rule 3 says we use ‘The’ if the country is an island country.

To learn more about Articles view our most recent blogs:

How to Use Articles in English 1 

How to Use Articles in English 2

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By Luke

ETO American English teacher