Phrase: To Be Flat Out



Today we learn a very common informal phrase FLAT OUT. It’s very easy, tune in to today’s episode to learn it. Enjoy :)



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Transcript Snapshot


You’re listening to the English Made Simple Show. This is episode number 284, number two hundred and eighty-four, numero dos cientos ochenta y cuatro.

Welcome amigos y amigas. This is your host Milena speaking, you’re tuning in to the English Made Simple show. You can learn more about the EMS show and what it is about when you visit If you want to listen to the podcast straight from the website simply type in And while you’re there, you can find a huge repertoire of the EMS episodes as well as useful resources to help you accelerate your English learning.

Welcome to today’s short and sweet episode. Thanks everyone for joining me today.

Let’s dive straight in amigos.

I’m sure everyone’s been flat out lately in preparation for the holidays.

Today we’re going to learn the phrase “ flat out” – it’s an informal phrase.

Have you heard this phrase before?

Have you ever heard someone say ‘I’m flat out?’

What does it mean to be “flat out”?

There are two words to remember here. ‘Flat’ and ’out’ .

Ok Milena, so what does it mean, flat out?

Yes, calm down everyone. I’m getting to it soon.

When you say ‘I’m flat out’, it means that you’re busy.

Yes, it’s an informal phrase but when you use this phrase, it will make you sound fluent. This is something you’ll hear native speakers use. So if you start using it, you’ll sound super-duper fluent.

Although, there is another variation to this phrase. I heard it a couple of days ago, someone used it here. Slightly different to flat out.

It goes like this, “I’m flat chat busy” – means I literally have no time, I have no spare time, extremely busy.

Again it’s an informal phrase. And I believe it’s only used here in Australia. If you’re listening from the US, Canada, NZ or the Uk – please know that if you do use this phrase, people are just going to look at you funny. There won’t understand what you mean.


So back to the “flat out” meaning. That’s what today’s episode is about.


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Milena Vujnic

Milena Vujnic

Podcast Host

Milena is the host of the English Made Simple Podcast and is passionate about helping motivated English learners break their fear of speaking English so they can confidently make conversation and be understood by other English-speakers. Milena lives in Australia with her Chileno husband and loves anything podcasting and online coaching and is honoured to be supporting and guiding immigrants from all over the world with her products, programs and coaching services. Click here to learn more about how you can work with Milena.  

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