Periods of time – words and typical contexts

– The Ice Age The Stone Age The Middle Ages The age of the computer.
[major historical/geological periods]
– After the war, a new era of peace began, [long period, perhaps several decades]
– The doctor said I needed a period of rest and relaxation, so I’m taking three months’ unpaid leave, [very general word]
– A spell of hot weather. He’s had a couple of spells in hospital in the last two or three years, [indefinite but short]
– During the 1950s I lived in Cork for a time, [vague, indefinite]
– D’you want to borrow this book for a while? [indefinite but not too long]

Useful phrases with time

Verbs associated with time passing

1980 ——–> 1990 Ten years have passed/elapsed since I last heard from her.
Elapse is more formal and is normally used in the perfect or past, without adverbs. Pass can be used in any tense and with adverbs.
Don’t worry. The time will pass quickly. Time passes very slowly when you’re lonely.

Note also: Take your time, you don’t need to hurry.

Adjectives describing duration (how long something lasts)

– He’s a temporary lecturer; the permanent one’s on leave.
– Could we make a provisional booking now and confirm it later?
– Venice has a timeless beauty.
– Christians believe in eternal life after death.