“I try to come in early to beat the rush hour traffic.”

English Lesson: I try to come in early to beat the rush hour traffic.

You always get to work early compared to your coworkers. One of your coworkers comes in early one day and notices that you're already there. She asks you if you're always early to work. You say yes and this is how you explain why.

I try to come in early to beat the rush hour traffic.

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try to (do something)

Use this phrase to describe something that you usually do because you think it's a good idea, but sometimes you aren't able to do it. A good example of this is exercise:

I try to go to the gym four or five times a week.

Another example is calling your parents:

I try to give them a call once a month or so.

come in (to work)

You use the phrase "come in" when you are at work to describe coming to the workplace. You can use "come in" to talk about yourself:

I usually come in at about 8:30.

You can also use it to talk about other people visiting you at your workplace, but only if they're visiting for a business-related reason. For example, if you invite someone to your offices for a meeting, you can start the meeting by saying:

Thanks for coming in.

If you're not at your workplace at the time, you wouldn't use the phrase "come in". You would use "go in" instead. For example, you can tell your husband or wife:

I think I have to go in to work for a couple hours on Saturday.

And if you want to talk about someone else going to their workplace, use "go in":

Did you go in to work today?

the rush hour

"The rush hour" is the time of day when the majority of people are travelling to and from work. There is a morning rush hour and an afternoon or evening rush hour. Of course, this period of time doesn't literally last exactly an hour. It might be a 2-3 hour period, like from 8:00-10:00 in the morning and from 5:00-8:00 in the evening.

In the example above, notice that "rush hour" is being used as an adjective to describe the "traffic".

beat the traffic

To "beat" the traffic means to leave earlier than most people so that you can avoid travelling when the roads are crowded. You can try to beat the traffic:

  • on your morning commute
  • when driving home from a road trip on a holiday weekend
  • when leaving a large event like a baseball game

This phrase uses the word "beat" in the same way that it's used in sports, so you can imagine "beating the traffic" as running a race against all the other cars on the road.