I'm running twenty four hours

What do you understand by the above statement? In my languages it means I'm very busy with lot of work 24 hours a day, no time to relax. But I don't see this sentences in English. Why? Is this a wrong sentence? Are there any different ways of saying the same thing.

  • 7
    I think the standard idioms in American English are "I'm busy 24/7" (many gasoline stations & some supermarkets in the USA are open "24/7" = 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) & "I'm busy {round / around} the clock". My standard statements are "I'm always busy" & "I never have a day off". I'm not a machine, so I wouldn't describe myself as "running 24 hours".
    – user264
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 7:50
  • 1
    As side note, it's twenty-four hours.
    – apaderno
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 7:55
  • @BillFranke Okay, by reading the sentence "I'm running twenty four hours" to understand that it means busy? In other words, when you read it do you get the same meaning as "I'm busy round the clock"?
    – T2E
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 9:16
  • Yes, I understand that this is what the sentence wants to say. My wife, a nurse & native speaker of Chinese & Taiwanese, might say in English that she's "running 24 hours" because she works in a hospital, & that involves a lot of walking &, at times, actual running when a patient is in a crisis. Perhaps a lot of Americans with jobs that involve running & walking, driving, or riding a bicycle back & forth between places would say "I'm {running / on the go} 24 hours a day".
    – user264
    Commented May 20, 2013 at 9:22
  • That is not commonly used in English. It is not obvious what it means and therefore requires an explanation when speaking English. Personally, it made me think of literally running like this i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02299/… , for 24 hours.
    – Tristan
    Commented May 28, 2013 at 15:25

2 Answers 2


I think that a native English speaker would probably understand the intention behind that sentence, but it is not idiomatic English. Although a similar sentence, "I have been running all day," is idiomatic. I'm not entirely sure why one form is used and the other is not.


Possible alternatives are:

I haven't had a moment's rest 249 results

I haven't had a moment's peace 2,360 results

I haven't had a break 1,650 results

The first idiom is less popular but in my opinion describes more accurately the idea of working 24 hours a day.

Not to have "a moment's peace", on the other hand, is slightly ambiguous. It could also mean you were stuck in a noisy situation for hours on end. Peace in that context makes me think of: "peace and quiet".

The last idiom is again ambiguous, left alone it could mean you haven't had a holiday or a weekend off in a long time. "I haven't had a break all day" works well.

I've been on my feet (all day) 15,200 results, sounds more natural than "I've been running all day" as Tristan pointed out, it could mean a sports person training fanatically.

Nowadays, I suspect many might say: I've been busy twenty-four seven (24/7). It's not an expression I ever heard in my childhood, and not one I personally use, but it is unambiguous.

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