The word "delay" can be used as a verb or as a noun when describing a situation in which something or someone is late. In fact, "delay" has a similar meaning to the adjective "late," but you can’t use "late" as a verb or as a noun.

  • My flight was delayed for about two hours. (The plane was late. This sentence is in the passive voice. "Delay" is often used in the passive voice.)
  • I’m sorry I’m late. I was delayed by traffic.
  • You should expect to be delayed if you drive on a highway where there’s a lot of construction.
  • They’re going to delay their wedding until next year. (delay = put off; postpone)
  • Don’t delay. Try to make a decision now.

All of these sentences use "delay" as a noun:

  • There was a 30-minute delay during the game because of rain.
  • Highway construction causes big delays during rush hour.
  • Now that the problem has been solved, there should be no further delay.
  • A big snowstorm created delays at the airport.
  • If you order now, there won’t be any delay.

construction worker

Road construction causes delays for commuters.

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July 23, 2014