Running late

Word of the day, 2nd March 2015

Running late

This morning I was “running late“.

Although it is not one word, I have decided it will be my “word” for today, because I expect that, to someone who doesn’t know what it means, it must seem a rather strange expression.

To say “I’m running late” doesn’t mean that I am running!
It doesn’t even necessarily mean I will be late in the end.

It means I had planned some times by when certain activities needed to done, in order for me to reach a goal by a certain time, but I was late for one or more of those activities, so I am likely to be late, or there is a possibility that I will be late, to reach the final end point.

A more simple explanation:
Think of a train.  It has a number of scheduled (time-tabled) stops on its journey.  It has a planned departure time from its first stop, a planned arrival time at its final stop, and planned times when it should be at all the stops in between.  If the train leaves any of its stops (including the first one!) later than it should, then you might say that the train is “running late“.  It is possible that it will arrive late at the end stop too, but there is also the possibility that, maybe by not stopping for so long at later stations, the train could “get back on schedule“, so that it arrives on time.

This is the subtle difference between saying something or someone is “running late” or saying that something or someone is “going to be late“.

In Guildford, this seems to happen more often with buses.  If they turn up at all.  In fact, one of the reasons I was running late this morning was because at least 3 buses didn’t even turn up as they should have, according to the electronic display at the bus stop.

In any business, projects are often planned to meet certain deadlines and there are usually lots of tasks to be carried out.  The amount of time these tasks will take is estimated and dates are fixed for them to be completed.  If a task takes longer than expected, it might mean that the whole project will be “running late“.  Managers need to use this information to see how they can perhaps get other tasks completed more quickly to make sure they meet the deadline, or maybe let the customer know that there is a possibility the delivery will be late, or maybe even negotiate a later delivery date.

Well, I hope my explanation is helpful.  And although I am running late with this, I think I might just get it posted before midnight! 🙂

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