pass some time vs kill some time

antobbo

Senior Member
UK
italian, Italy
Hi all, I was wondering if the two expressions "pass some time" and "kill some time" are actually synonyms. So, to put things in context:
"I decided to read a book to pass some time" (sounds somehow awkward) and "I decided to read a book to kill some time": can both of them being used with the meaning of " I have some spare time and I read a book so I don't get bored"?
thanks
 
  • Sabretooth

    Senior Member
    American English
    Yes, both phrases mean the same thing, though "kill some time" is more informal than "pass some time."

    In order to make your first sentence sound less awkward, you could also say, "I decided to read a book to pass the time."
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    "Kill some time" also has the connotation of wasting time. You would not say "I decided to kill some time by working on my thesis," for example.
     

    Grefsen

    Senior Member
    English - United States
    "Kill some time" also has the connotation of wasting time. You would not say "I decided to kill some time by working on my thesis," for example.
    Yes, that's a very good point Sparky Malarky. :thumbsup: I also prefer using "spend time working on my thesis" over "pass the time by working on my thesis."
     
    Last edited:

    Natsuna

    Senior Member
    Japanese / 日本語
    pass
    [+ object] : to let (time or a period of time) go by especially while you are doing something enjoyable

    He passes [=spends] his days reading and taking walks around the neighborhood.
    They passed the evening playing cards.
    We played games to pass the time on the bus.

    (Source: pass - Learner's Dictionary)​

    Is it correct to say "They passed the evening by playing cards" to mean "They passed the evening playing cards"?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Both are correct,
    "They passed the evening by playing cards" emphasises the method they used to pass the evening.
    "They passed the evening playing cards" is without emphasis and simply means they played cards during the evening
     
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