Delay/take long

germanictamoon

Senior Member
Hindi (West Uttar Pradesh)
Hi all.
I have asked my friend to do some work.

But he has not started doing it and some time like half an hour has passed.

I can think three ways to tell him that I want him to do it as soon as possible but not sure which one will be idiomatic.

Of the following alternatives What would be the most natural way of asking him again?

1. Why are you delaying it?
2. Why are you delaying ?
3. Why are you taking long?

Thank you very much.
 
  • Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    None of them is natural and none of them is the way to keep a friend and get the work done.

    #1 and #2 say what you want them to, but again, but they're rather pushy and not particularly natural.
    #3 is what you would say if he's working, but not very fast.

    How about "If you're not busy, it's really important that this is done as soon as possible." Or "I really need this done soon, if possible."

    And if he is busy – with Facebook or WordReference, for example – maybe he'll look up from his phone long enough to tell you. :)
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    "hold off" is not a natural expression in this context.

    You could say, "What's the hold up? I need this job completely quickly." Or many other variants.

    The "hold up" is polite, demanding, and common. It suggests that something is holding up (delaying) the job's completion, when both people know the "hold up" is the person himself, not some defective tool.
     
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