“You don’t burn out from going too fast. You burn out from going too slow and getting bored.” – Cliff Burton
— Sophia Lovett (@solovett) March 18, 2012
I’d like to focus on ‘burn out’ today.
A few common ways to use ‘burn out’ in a sentence are:
(he/she/it) burns out.
(he/she/it) burned out.
[something] is burning (him/her/it) out.
When a candle burns out, it has burned all the way down to the bottom and the fire goes out.
While ‘burn out’ is used to talk about fires in a literal sense, we also use it to talk about our ability to do something like work or a project. When a person ‘burns out’, they have nothing left, they feel exhausted, and just need a break from everything.
Today’s tweet is a quote. The person who said it is saying the opposite of what people normally think. Most people think burn out is going to happen when we work non-stop, going as fast as we can. This quote says that we burn out when we go too slow at something. Feeling bored also creates a feeling of having no motivation to do something, so this is when people will burn out.
What do you think? I think it may be a little of both, but I’d like to hear your opinions. When and why do people ‘burn out’? Share your thoughts in the comments.
We might also use the phrase to talk about something someone has done in that person’s history. For example, “This is a Michael Jackson song that dates back to his Thriller days.’
Lastly, note how ‘getting bored’ is used instead of ‘become bored’. When we express ‘to become’ something in English, we usually use ‘get’ when speaking or writing casually.
Situations & Examples
Read the situations, but write down your own sentence using today’s target. When you finish, click ‘Show Example’. Share your own sentences in the comments!
You are having coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. She recently started her own catering business and has been incredibly busy. You think she looks really tired, so you want to give her some advice about taking more breaks to relax and refresh. You say,
“You really should take a break every once in a while so you don’t burn out!”
Your boss calls you in for a private talk. He tells you that your performance is not what it used to be. He is wondering why that is and asks you a lot of questions. You want to tell him how you don’t have any energy, so you say,
“I just really don’t have any energy anymore. Feeling so burned out lately.”
You’re worried about your mother. Your grandmother broke her hip and needs a lot of help doing everyday chores. Your little brother is also involved in many sports programs so she has to take him all over town. You are talking to a friend about this and say,
“The way she is always running around taking care of everyone is really burning her out.”
You work at a graphic design company. Recently, you just don’t seem to be having any good ideas, and your clients aren’t happy. You decide to call your mentor from college and talk to him about how to prevent losing creative energy when working so hard. You ask him,
“What are you supposed to do when your creative energy has burned out this badly?”