January 26, 2015 06:21 UTC

Words and Their Stories

Jackpot! Winning the Lottery

Paul White, from Ham Lake, Minnesota, stands with his partner Kim VanReese as he holds a check for his $149.4 million portion of a $448.4 million Powerball jackpot prize.
Paul White, from Ham Lake, Minnesota, stands with his partner Kim VanReese as he holds a check for his $149.4 million portion of a $448.4 million Powerball jackpot prize.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story


Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.
 
I think people everywhere dream about having lots of money. I know I do. I would give anything to make money "hand over fist." I would like to earn large amounts of money. You could win a large amount of money in the United States through lotteries. People pay money for tickets with numbers. If your combination of numbers is chosen, you win a huge amount of money -- often in the millions. Winning the lottery is "a windfall."

Millions of people dream of winning the lottery.Millions of people dream of winning the lottery.
x
Millions of people dream of winning the lottery.
Millions of people dream of winning the lottery.
A few years ago, my friend Al won the lottery. It changed his life. He did not have a rich family -- he was not "born with a silver spoon in his mouth." Instead, my friend was always "hard up for cash" -- he did not have much money. And the money he did earn was chicken feed -- very little.
 
Sometimes Al even had to accept hand-outs -- gifts from his family and friends. But do not get me wrong. My friend was not a deadbeat. He was not the kind of person who never paid the money he owed. He simply pinched pennies. He was always very careful with the money he spent. In fact, he was often a cheapskate. He did not like to spend money. The worst times were when he was flat broke and had no money at all.

x
One day, Al scraped together a few dollars for a lottery ticket. He thought he would never "strike it rich" -- or gain lots of money unexpectedly. But his combination of numbers was chosen and he won the lottery. He "hit the jackpot" -- he won a great deal of money.

Mark (L) and Cindy (C) Hill are presented a check by a Missouri Lottery official during the announcement of Powerball winners in Dearborn, Missouri, November 30, 2012.Mark (L) and Cindy (C) Hill are presented a check by a Missouri Lottery official during the announcement of Powerball winners in Dearborn, Missouri, November 30, 2012.
x
Mark (L) and Cindy (C) Hill are presented a check by a Missouri Lottery official during the announcement of Powerball winners in Dearborn, Missouri, November 30, 2012.
Mark (L) and Cindy (C) Hill are presented a check by a Missouri Lottery official during the announcement of Powerball winners in Dearborn, Missouri, November 30, 2012.
Al was so excited. The first thing he did was buy a costly new car -- he splurged on the one thing that he normally would not buy. Then he started spending money on unnecessary things. He started to waste it. It was like he had "money to burn." He had more money than he needed and it was "burning a hole in his pocket," so he spent it quickly.
 
When we got together for a meal at a restaurant, Al paid every time. He would always "foot the bill" -- and pick up the tab. He told me the money made him feel like a million dollars. He was very happy.

x
But, Al spent too much money. Soon my friend was "down and out" again. He had no money left. He was back to being "strapped for cash." He had spent his "bottom dollar" -- his very last amount. He did not even "build up a nest egg" -- he had not saved any of the money.
 
I admit I do feel sorry for my friend. He had enough money to "live like a king." Instead, he is back to "living on a shoestring" -- a very low budget. Some might say he is "penny-wise and pound foolish" -- he was wise about small things, but not about important things.

x
Words and Their Stories, in VOA Special English, was written by Jill Moss. I’m Faith Lapidus.








This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mary
09/16/2013 10:21 AM
This story cleverly provided a mind-boggling array of money idioms.


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
09/15/2013 4:08 PM
If you take a lottery, you will be lucky, lucky, lucky. Taking lotteries make men dream limitlessly without owing taxes. If ,by chance, he hits the jackpot, his whole life will be made up. He will be sky rocketed to luxury. And just dreaming such a life itself is thrilling. But the winner finally comes to know the fact that whatever is easily got is likely to loose easily. The lottery expressions seem to be apt and accurate as well as appealing. Thank you.


by: Mariko from: Japan
09/15/2013 5:35 AM
Are there any lottery winner who became happier after they got large amount of money?

Learn with The News

  • Video Experts Decide Ethiopia Has Best Coffee

    What makes Ethiopian coffee the best? International coffee experts travel the world to find the best tasting cup of coffee, however they keep returning to Ethiopia. The country has an export revenue of more than $840 million a year from coffee to 120 countries. More

  • Thailand Fishing Industry

    Audio Labor Groups Criticize Abuses in Thai Fishing Industry

    Thailand is the third largest exporter of fish and fishery products in the world. Those exports are worth more than eight billion dollars. But the Thai fishing industry is under attack because of reports of labor rights abuses and human trafficking. The government is taking steps to stop the abuses. More

  • Audio Vietnamese Officials Worried about Political Blog

    The blog publishes documents and photographs, and has linked suspected corruption to cabinet members and their relatives; the blog has been visited almost 14 million times since it was launched a month ago. People’s Daily has suggested that the information is false. More

  • korea2

    Video S. Korean Businesses Want to Ease Trade Restriction with North

    Business leaders in South Korea are urging the government to ease trade restrictions with North Korea. They believe that expanding trade will help their businesses and contribute to long-term peace and security on the Korean peninsula. South Korea cut many economic ties with the North in 2010. More

  • Should Schools in US Recognize Muslim Holidays

    Video Should Schools in US Recognize Muslim Holidays?

    Some religious minorities in America are demanding that schools close on their religious holidays. They ask, if Christian and Jewish holy days are recognized, shouldn’t those of other faiths also be observed? The issue is being debated in Maryland, near Washington, DC. More

Featured Stories

  • Obama

    Audio Has Obama Set the Message for the 2016 Campaign?

    “I have no more campaigns to run … I know because I won both of them.” Mr. Obama cannot run for president again – U.S. presidents may serve only two terms. But some observers say his most recent State of the Union message on the middle class sounded like a campaign speech. More

  • American Sniper

    Video With Oscar Nomination, 'American Sniper' Stirs Debate

    The movie is based on a book by Navy SEAL Chris Kyle. He is considered the deadliest marksman in the history of the United States military. The film explores how war can affect a soldier's mental and emotional health and stirs a debate on social media over its message. More

  • Designers work at computer stations at TechShop in the South of Market neighborhood in San Francisco, California, April 24, 2014

    Video TechShop Puts High-Tech Dreams Within Reach

    Members of TechShop use high-tech equipment to develop and produce ideas they have for inventions. Members are able to use costly machines including 3D modeling tools and laser cutters. Membership costs for TechShop start at just over $100 per month. | Science in the News More

  • .

    Video Rare, Important Art Is Now Only a Click Away

    The public has never seen the majority of works in the Smithsonian Institution's National Museums of Asian Art. Now they can be downloaded from the Internet -- in many cases for free. The Freer and Sackler Galleries worked for over 15 years to make digital copies of more than 40,000 objects. More

  • Video Light Pollution. How Much Light is Too Much?

    Light pollution can affect our ability to see the night stars. It can also hurt our health and the planet. But light is needed to make our cities safe. How can we find a balance? In cities, artificial light comes from street lamps, buildings, signs and cars and blocks out stars in the sky. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner blog
Confessions of an English Learner blog

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs