Each month, Let’s Talk will focus on sayings that might sound funny or confusing to a new language learner. So if you have ever thought “What did they mean by that?” or “What are they trying to say?” this column is for you.

Over the last few months we have witnessed some extraordinary events play out across the world. Everyone has had to adapt, adjust, and reexamine many facets of our own lives. And since some of us have had more time on our hands or are feeling anxious about the times we are living in, concepts of time may seem more relevant these days.

Here are four idioms – expressions in which the meanings of the words are not the same as the meaning of the saying – which one might hear used in connection with time.

Heck of a time  —  A difficult or frustrating time

“Ana has had a heck of a time adjusting to living in a cold climate.”

To kill time —   To make time pass, usually in a non-productive manner

“David killed time by scrolling through his phone while waiting for his flight.”

Time heals all wounds — Emotional pain lessens over time

“Selena hopes that time will heal the wound of losing her parents.”

Only time will tell — The true meaning will only be learned in the future.

“Only time will tell if all of Ahmed’s extra practice will help him get a spot on the varsity soccer team.”

If you have questions about sayings you have heard Americans use that you don’t understand, or if you questions about American culture, please email your questions to Claudia at [email protected] and “Let’s Talk” will be happy to help.

Claudia Jakubowski has her Masters Degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).