When you’ve been working on a project for a long time, it’s always good to take a break and unwind. But sometimes you have no choice but to keep running on fumes, even when you have no energy left! Have you ever experienced something similar when trying to meet a strict deadline set by an employer, or when studying intently the night before an important exam?
Dara shares a great idiom to describe situations like these. Check out his latest video below!
Now, when an engine is on, we say that it’s running. And in this case, fumes are the steam that comes from petrol or gasoline. So when your car has no petrol or gasoline left, but it’s somehow still working, we say it’s running on fumes. Similarly, we use this phrase for people, when you’re somehow staying awake despite being completely exhausted.
So, let’s use this phrase in a few example sentences:
- Ugh, I’ve been awake for 36 hours. I’m completely running on fumes.
- I really need a coffee. I’m running on fumes.
- Henry, you really need to have a rest. Look at you! You’re running on fumes!
So there you have it: running on fumes. And if you’re running on fumes, go to bed!
Now, we’d love to see how you can put this expression into use. Try to use it in some sentences. Here are a few prompts to get you started.
- Describe the last time you had to cram* for an important exam. (*Cram = to study intensively for an exam in a very short amount of time — often the night before!)
- Did you ever have to stay late at work to complete an urgent project? Describe your experience.
- Did you ever find yourself preparing to host a dinner at the last minute? What happened?
If you’re keen to dive into more Everyday Idioms, you can find all the videos in this series in our archive here.
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