put off: meaning and explanation

to put something off = to postpone or delay something.

When you delay doing something because you’re too busy or because you don’t want to do it, you are putting it off.

If you want to specify that you are delaying something until a specific day/time, you can use the ‘to put sth off until/to + time’. e.g. I’m too tired to do my homework, so I’m going to put it off until tomorrow.

A more formal synonym for ‘to put something off’ is to procrastinate. e.g. You need to stop procrastinating and get on with your essay!

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Dictation #1

Accent: England (RP)

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I'd talking got to I couldn't any .

About the sentence

…I’d been avoiding talking to her…

The past perfect continuous (I had been avoiding talking to her) is used here to describe an ongoing action in the past before another action in the past (I couldn’t put it off any longer).

Dictation #2

Accent: Scotland

Available soon

Dictation #3

Accent: Northern England

Available soon

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