English Lessons


All about "run"

Let's take a look today at different idioms, or slang expressions, that are based on the verb "to run" and its noun version, "run." The primary meaning of "to run" is, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, "to go faster than a walk; specifically, to go steadily by springing steps so that both feet leave the ground for an instant in each step." But there are a lot of other uses for this handy word whose meanings are meant as a figure of speech.


It's no secret that the both of us are running out of time

Caption 30, Adele Hello

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It just was a movie that didn't end with all the pizzazz that it should have because they ran out of money by the end.

Captions 70-71,  Ask Jimmy Carter: Interview with Robin Williams

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To "run out" of something means that you will soon have no more of something left. The phrase "to run out of gas" literally means that your car will soon have no more gas. But it is also a figure of speech meaning that you are getting tired and have very little energy left. "I wanted to finish my homework, but I ran out of gas."


In the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on.

Captions 1-2, Led Zeppelin: Stairway to Heaven

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The phrase "in the long run" means over a long period of time, or eventually.


Yeah, she'd stay there till her blood ran cold.

Caption 22, Krayolas: La Conquistadora

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The saying "blood runs cold" means that somebody gets very frightened and fears for the worst.


And wonder runs in the family.

Caption 14, Selena Gomez: Ramona And Beezus

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If something "runs in the family," it suggests that some kind of illness is inherited in a family or some kind of behavior is seen in a family, as if it were inherited. 


I was running late and I decided in order to make up the time, that I was gonna speed my car.

Caption 30, Drivers Wanted: Pizza Delivery

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To be "running late" does not necessarily mean that you are literally running—although people do often run when they are late—but simply that you are late for something like an appointment. 


Further Learning
See if you can guess the meaning of the following figures of speech using "run." The answers are at the very bottom of the page, so you can check them afterwards.


A. to get off to a running start
B. to make a run for it
C. to run a fever or temperature
D. to run a tight ship
E. to run around in circles
F. to run into a stone wall
G. to run someone ragged


You can also go to Yabla English and find more videos that use run, running, ran etc. to see the different phrases used by native English speakers. 









A. to start something, such a project, very quickly and efficiently
B. to escape something, whether literally by running or any other means
C. to have a fever or a high temperature
D. to supervise very effectively and efficiently
E. to be inefficient, wasting time
F. to be stopped from making progress
G. to exhaust somebody by giving them too many tasks

To Borrow and to Lend

In English, the verb to borrow means to take or use something that belongs to someone else for a short period of time. The verb to lend is to give something to a person for a short period of time. These two words often get mixed up by non-native speakers, so let's look at some examples. 


In the following example, Valentino lends the clothes and Sharon Stone borrows the clothes. In the end, she has to give them back.


So Valentino, the designer, lends me clothes to wear for appearances.

Caption 64, Ask Jimmy Carter - Another Interview with Sharon Stone

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The phrase "lend a hand" means "to help out."


I would not lend a hand

Caption 5, Phil Collins - In The Air Tonight

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In the following sentence, Richard Wiseman tells you to use your friend's money to play a trick on them.


Borrow a note from a friend. Ask them to place their hands palm down.

Caption 49, Richard Wiseman - 10 bets you will always win

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Of course, some people keep things for longer than they should...


You are so welcome to borrow her for the next, like, ten years or so.

Caption 5, Selena Gomez - Ramona And Beezus - Trailer

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So now you know that saying "Johnny borrowed me ten dollars" is completely wrong! You have to say either "Johnny lent me ten dollars" or "I borrowed ten dollars from Johnny."


Further Learning
Write some sentences that begin with "I recently borrowed..." and "I recently lent..." Re-write the sentences above from Yabla English so that they use the other verb and remembering to change the subject and object of the sentence accordingly. 

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