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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

to be/get tied up

to be/get tied up

Context #1:

Tom:  What happened to you yesterday?  You were supposed to go out to dinner with me and Jeff?

Jerry: Well, I got tied up at work and I couldn't leave my office until it was like 10pm.

Tom: Oh, we were worried.  Next time just call us and let us know if something comes up.

Context #2:

Sara: Do you want to go to the beach with us this Saturday?

Jill: Oh, I would love to, but my friend is moving and I'm going to be tied up helping her pack and move.

Sara: Alright maybe next time!

Meaning:  to be/get tied up is an American idiom that means someone is busy doing something.  When this idiom is followed by a very phrase it must be followed by a gerund (see context #2 above).

This idiom was taken from LSI's book Speaking Savvy, which is used to teach the Level 5 Speaking class at LSI schools.  For more information please visit

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