The French phrase "Je n'ai pas le temps" revealed

Ready to learn all the things you have to know about the basic French sentence “Je n’ai pas le temps”?

It includes a full definition of what it is and how to use it in a normal conversation with an audio example. Together with the useful stuff we sprinkled like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example and more!

Oh and before I forget, on this page you can find our others sentences explained and the ultimate directory of all our French words tutorials on this page. Ready to learn? Let’s go!

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English translation

How to pronounce it

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean exactly?


It literally means:

  • Je → I
  • N’ai pas → Don’t have
  • Le temps → The time

This is the academic way to say: “I don’t have time” in French. For the version we use the most: you can skip the ” n’ ” if you want and say “J’ai pas le temps” instead, this is totally fine too.

How to use it

Let’s say that someone just asked you if you have time to watch a football match this afternoon. But you already have some things planned… so you say “J’ai pas le temps.” to express: “I can’t, I’m busy/I don’t have time

It’s important to note that “J’ai pas le temps” means that you don’t have time for this specific task. If instead you want to say that you don’t have time for you in general, use: “J’ai pas de temps pour moi.” which means “I don’t have any time for me“.


  • J’ai pas le temps. (“I don’t have time“)
  • Je n’ai pas de temps. (“I don’t have any time“)
  • Je manque de temps. (“I’m lacking time“)
  • J’ai pas beaucoup de temps. (“I don’t have a lot of time“)
  • Je n’ai pas de temps à perdre. (“I don’t have any time to lose“)
  • Je n’ai pas de temps à te consacrer. (“I don’t have any time for you“)
  • J’ai pas l’time (“I have no time“)(Familiar)

Example in a story with translation

Now, let’s see a complete example of this idiom in a story with slow French audio and the English translation below.
Les joueurs de jeux-vidéo
The video game players
Christian:   Léa ?! Comment ça va ?
Léa?! How is it going?
Léa:   Je vais bien et toi ? Qu’est-ce que tu fais ici ?
I’m fine and you? What are you doing here?
Christian:   Je vais bien, merci. Je sortais juste les poubelles.
I’m fine, thanks. I was just taking out the trash.
Léa:   Ah, je vois.
Ah, I see.
Christian:   Et toi ?
And you?
Léa:   Je faisais des courses.
I was running errands.
Christian:   Ok… Je voulais te demander, tu aimes les jeux vidéos ?
Ok… I wanted to ask you, do you like video games?
Léa:   Euh… oui. Pourquoi cette question ?
Hmm… yes. Why this question?
Christian:   Parce que je cherche quelqu’un pour jouer à la PlayStation avec moi.
Because I’m looking for someone to play PlayStation with me.
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