Yesterday I had an exam and I didn't spend the last 25 minutes of exam time (I finished before the deadline). I thought how to say this in English. It should be something like

I got ... time


I got 25 minutes ...

I also appreciate if someone answer with idioms or slangs.

  • 6
    I'd usually say, I finished [25 minutes] early or I finished with 25 minutes to spare. Or maybe "I turned in my test with 25 minutes to go." If you want to be a smart-aleck you could even say, "They made that test 25 minutes longer than they needed to." – Jim Aug 24 '13 at 17:28
  • 1
    Jim, you made some good suggestions. You should post them as an answer. – Tristan Aug 25 '13 at 12:20

I think the proper way to say this is:

I had 25 minutes of time to spare.

Use of idioms is not really required in such a simple sentence. As such I am not really qualified to give that. On the other hand, I do not really know if slangs are the way to go here. When learning English, it is best that you adhere to the dialect that is prevalent in your part of the world.

For example, here in India, where I am from, it is common to say

I had....

Meanwhile, in the US, it is common to say

I got....

Usage of proper dialect is more important than colloquialism.

  • 5
    A couple points... (1) No need to say of time; "I had 25 minutes to spare" says it just fine – "of time" is superfluous. (2) The equivalent to the informal "I got" is "I have", not "I had". "I got" is used in the present tense, as in, "Do you want to go to lunch? Or do I need to get you to the airport?" Answer: "Let's go to lunch, I got 25 minutes to spare." In the past tense, though, I would always use "had", and never "got": "My friend took me to lunch, because I had 25 minutes to spare." (3) I'm not sure proper dialect is ALWAYS more important than colloquialism. Hmmmm. – J.R. Aug 26 '13 at 10:02
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    "I got 25 minutes of time to spare."??? As an American, that sounds totally wrong. In the past tense, it should be either "I had", "I had got", or "I'd got". In other words, "I've got" can be shortened to "I got", but "I'd got" cannot. – Peter Shor Aug 26 '13 at 13:38
  • @Peter: I've heard it used; in that context, the word "got" is often pronounced as "gut", as in, "Do have a minute?" "Yeah, I gut a minute, whatchu need?" You're right, it's a shortening of "I've got". – J.R. Aug 26 '13 at 15:06
  • @J.R. That corresponds to present tense ("I have a moment"), not past tense ("I had a moment). I see my comment is ambiguous. I meant "I got 25 minutes to spare" sounds wrong in the answer's context. – Peter Shor Aug 26 '13 at 16:20
  • @J.R. : I'm sure my limited exposure to American English is putting me at a disadvantage here. So I apologize for any mistakes. However, I do stand by the statement that proper dialect is more important than colloquialism. For example, in India, where I'm from, I would have said, "It is a number one quality product" instead of saying "It is a quality product". Similarly, as the original question also included idioms and slangs for this usage, I provided an opinion depending on my own experience with local and international differences. – GaidinD Aug 27 '13 at 16:05

English speakers will often refer to time as spent or wasted, along the lines of time-based currency.

If I’m interpreting your question correctly, the idiomatic phrase you’re seeking is:

I got 25 minutes of my life back.


I had 25 minutes to do whatever I wanted.


I had 25 minutes left of the available exam time when I left.

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