Have you ever missed a deadline? Tim Bowen counts down a number of useful collocations.

Many people work to deadlines. A deadline (the time a task needs to be completed by) may be strict (in other words, it is not negotiable) or it may be tight (not allowing you much time before it has to be met). A deadline can also be agreed, as in ‘I always work to an agreed deadline’, and, although somewhat tautological, there may be a final deadline, as in ‘The final deadline for submitting applications is 2nd July’.

You can make or meet a deadline or, of course, you can miss it, as in ‘It’s easy to find you have missed the deadline for submitting entries’. The deadline is imposed or set by the other party, as in ‘We do not believe that it is sensible for the government to set an arbitrary deadline for this project’. Once a deadline has been set, however, it may also be extended, as in ‘Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to extend this deadline by a day or two’.

Two verbs can be used to describe a deadline that is getting close, loom and approach, as in ‘The company faced a looming deadline in mid-March when it needed to make repayments, or face bankruptcy’ or ‘The deadline for submitting applications is fast approaching’.

A deadline can also pass or expire, as in ‘The kidnappers’ deadline for their demands to be met has already passed and as yet there is no news on the fate of the hostages’ or ‘In Nigeria, the deadline for the gun amnesty expired on 31st October’.


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