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Come Up for Air
Time-length-icon 1m 3s
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Publish-date-icon October 6, 2007
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EPISODE DESCRIPTION

Welcome once again to Phil's English ! This lesson's English language idiom is "come up for air."

This idiom is used when talking to someone who is extremely busy and probably working a lot of hours. It is used when you want to ask for some of that person's time but you know they probably don't have any spare time to give you right now. However, you would still like to make your request but give them permission to wait until later when they are less busy. For example, one computer programmer might say to another "When you come up for air, I'd like to ask you to help me tune the performance of my program."

I believe this idiom is a reference to someone swimming under water for a long time until they cannot hold their breath any longer. When they finally come up to the surface, they immediately take a huge gasp of air.

I hope you've enjoyed this idiom. Please come back again soon.

Copyright 2007 - Philip Hartman - All rights reserved

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