“You're cutting it awfully close.”

English Lesson: You're cutting it awfully close.

Your brother has been visiting you, and now he's about to fly back home. His flight is leaving in less than two hours, but he hasn't left your house yet. You're worried that he'll miss his flight, so you say this.

You're cutting it awfully close.

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awfully (something)

"Awfully" is an adverb like "very", "really", "slightly", and so on. It can mean two different things:

  1. When you're talking about something negative, "awfully ___" can mean "a little too ___":

    She's awfully close to the edge there. Tell her to come back over this way.

    You must be awfully tired. I'll go get the bed ready for you.

  2. "Awfully ___" can also mean something between "quite ___" and "very ___":

    Oh wow. That was awfully nice of him to let you do that.

    I'm awfully proud of you, son.

The most common adjectives to use with "awfully" are:

  • awfully good
  • awfully nice
  • awfully big
  • awfully quiet
  • awfully long

cut it close

You can say that someone "cut it close" when they wait too long to do something. It means that they are risking a problem or disaster.

For example, if your friend is supposed to take an exam tomorrow, but hasn't started studying for it yet, you can say:

You're cutting it kind of close, aren't you?

Or if a friend is driving and turns in front of an oncoming car, you can say:

Whoa! That was cutting it close!

The phrase "cut it close" is neutral, so you can use it in either formal or casual situations.