Use of ‘I was busy’ in Spoken English

This phrase is used when you are giving reason or telling someone that you were doing something. It expresses that you were busy doing some particular activity or task.

Basic Syntax : (I was busy + Present Participle form of Verb)

Examples of ‘I was busy’ in Spoken English

  • I was busy doing yoga.

Suppose your mother called you to do some work. You answered very late. Your mother asked you the reason of answering so late. You then told her that you were busy doing yoga. In this way you can apply the above example while speaking english.

  • I was busy chatting with my friend.

Suppose your friend asked you to bring his mobile phone. He waited for you for a while and then himself came and asked you the reason of not bringing his mobile phone to him. In this situation you can use the above phrase to give reason to your friend that you were busy chatting with your friend.

  • I was busy cooking some food.

Let’s assume that you missed a call of your friend while cooking some food. After sometime you called him/ her back and told him/ her the reason of not attending his/ her phone call as you were busy cooking food for yourself.

  • I was busy dealing with my problems.

Suppose you haven’t been going to your school for two days. Next day, teacher asked you the reason and you told him/ her that you were busy dealing with some of your personal problems. It may be a medical problem, family issue or some other issue.

  • I was busy thinking about my family.

You can use this example while giving someone the reason of ignoring him/ her for a long time. Suppose you are having a talk with some of your friends and they observe that you have lost somewhere in your thinking and ignoring them for a long time. In this situation you can use the above phrase to tell them the reason of not being involved in the discussion.

  • I was busy uploading a video on YouTube.

Suppose you have a youtube channel and you regularly upload some funny videos on your channel. While uploading a video, you ignored your friend’s text message and after sometime you replied him/ her back and told him/ her the reason of not giving a quick reply as you were busy uploading a video on your youtube channel.

  • I was busy reading a novel.

This sentence can be used in spoken english when you are reading something, it may be a newspaper, novel etc., and at the same time someone calls you. But you prefer continuing reading and would later tell the person that you were busy reading something that’s why you didn’t answer him/ her back.

  • I was busy booking a movie ticket.

Let’s assume that you have planned to watch a hollywood movie with your friends for which you are booking the movie tickets online. At the same time, your roommate asked you to clean the dishes so that he can serve the food. But you ignored him and continued your work. Later, you told him that you were busy booking the movie tickets online that’s why you didn’t listened to him.

Common Errors using ‘I was busy’ in Spoken English

  • I was busy operate the machine. (✕)
  • I was busy operating the machine. (✓)


  • I was busy to prepare breakfast. (✕)
  • I was busy preparing breakfast. (✓)


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