ESL grammar · Uncategorized

Problems with Time and Room

By Jacqueline Schaalje

This is fresh from my Teaching lab!

Talking to students about room and rooms, and time and times, I realized that they didn’t always understand what I meant. And the reason is that these words can have different meanings, which can be confusing.

Maybe you have this problem too, so let’s have a look.

Mini Lesson 1: Room and Rooms

You know what a room is. A place with four walls around it.

Here is a picture of a hotel room. hotel

There are different rooms in a house, in a flat or in any building in general (such as bedroom, living room, dining room, etc.).

Suppose you go to a hotel and ask for a room, it means you’d like such a place where you can sleep with four walls around you.

And if you describe your room, you’d probably tell me that there is bed in it (if it’s a bedroom) or a sofa (if it’s a living room).

Okay, so that is a room. And the plural (two or more) of a room is rooms. So you could tell me that your house has three rooms (for example).

Now let’s discuss meaning 2.

Room can also mean space.

Any space.

So suppose you’re sitting on the sofa. And I come and would like to sit on the sofa too. So I ask you: “Can I sit with you?”

So you say: “Yes, have a seat. There’s enough room.”

Now imagine that there are three people on the sofa already. So you would tell me: “No sorry, there isn’t any room on the sofa. Go sit somewhere else.”

So room here doesn’t mean a place with four walls around it, but just a space.

Another example with room.

Suppose you show your kitchen to your friend.

Your friend says: “What a beautiful kitchen.”

You answer: “Thanks. I agree that my kitchen looks nice, but there isn’t much room to move.”

Again, here we’re not talking about a room such as bedroom or bathroom, but about a certain amount of space.

Okay, hope you’ve got this.


Now let’s move on to Mini Lesson 2: Time and Times.

Time refers to how many minutes, hours and seconds there are.

The time = the exact hour

I can ask you: “What’s the time?” or: “Do you have the time?” And you will tell me: “It’s 11:37.” Or whatever time it is then.

Time = free time

I can also ask you: “Do you have time now?” And you will say: “No sorry, I’m busy.” Or: “Sure, let’s go for lunch.” Or something like that.

So please note there is a difference between time and the time.

But times with an s refers to multiplication (like in 2x, 3 x 2 = 6, etc.).

So if I tell you that I’ve been to Rome three times, you know that I mean three visits.



Choose the right form of the word: room or rooms and time or times.

Click here to do this quiz online. 

The Room in a Tent

1 It was our first __________ camping in Africa.

2 Putting up your tent wasn’t so hard, after you had done it a few _________.

3 The tent was big enough, but once we had put our bags inside, not much __________ was left.

4 I asked my friend: “Can you give me a little more _________, please?”

5 She had the same problem: she felt she didn’t have _________ to breathe.

6 We were so happy when we finally reached Cape Town where we slept not in a tent, but in a ___________!

7 Our suite was surprisingly big, and we had lots of ___________ to put our bags with souvenirs that we bought in quaint little shops or on the artists’ market.

8 I’d love to go to Cape Town some other ___________.

9 And my friend, she went many more ___________, as she has an aunt there.

Want to do more quizzes? You can order more here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s