March 05, 2015 23:59 UTC

Words and Their Stories

Number One

Number One
Number One
Number One
Number Onei
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

Now, the VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories.


Today I will tell about expressions using numbers. Let us start with the number one. Numbers can be tricky. On the one hand, they are simply numbers. On the other hand, they have meanings. "I for one" use these expressions a lot.

Many people consider themselves number one -- the most important person. They are always "looking out for number one" and "taking care of number one." It is as if they are "the one and only" person on Earth. Some people however, are not so self-centered. My brother is such a person. It is true -- no joke. I am not trying to "pull a fast one" on you.

First, you have to understand that my brother is "one in a million." He is such a nice person. All his friends like him. They consider him "one of the boys." Recently, my brother had a bad day at the office. It was just "one of those days." Nothing went right. So he stopped at a local bar -- a drinking place -- after leaving work. My brother planned to have a glass of beer with his friends -- "a quick one" -- before he went home. But a quick one turned into one or two, and soon those became "one too many."

As my brother was leaving, he ordered a last drink -- "one for the road." His friends became concerned. "One by one," they asked him if he was able to drive home safely. Now, my brother is a wise and calm person. He is "at one with himself." He recognizes when he has had too much alcohol to drink. So he accepted an offer for a ride home from a female friend.

At one time in the past, my brother had been in love with this woman. She is a great person -- kind, thoughtful and intelligent -- all good qualities "rolled up into one." But sadly their relationship did not work. He always used to say "One of these days, I am going to marry this girl." But that never happened.

"For one thing," she did not love him as much as he loved her. It was just "one of those things." The situation was regrettable and my brother had to accept it. But even now, he considers her "the one that got away."

However, they are still friends. And because my brother had been kind to her, she felt that "one good turn deserves another." He was good to her and she wanted to help him in return. So she drove him home.

If my brother had driven home from the bar that night, his "number would have been up" -- something bad would have happened. Thankfully he made it home safely. And, he and the woman are "back to square one" -- they are back to where they started, being friends.

This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Jill Moss.

I’m Faith Lapidus.

 
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: Takis Hadjipieras from: Cyprus
06/11/2014 4:11 PM
I love to read this text not only ONE time, but more and more!


by: Dil from: Seoul
06/10/2014 11:41 PM
What is the song played at the end?


by: Blaise from: Poland
06/10/2014 9:06 AM
This article is really great! Thanks!


by: Yuanyuan from: CHINA
06/09/2014 5:32 PM
I have kept my eyes on Voa sice 3 years ago, and I really seized a lot from this program. Looking foward more. Thanks!


by: Nobue from: Japan
06/09/2014 3:10 PM
There are many expressions with ONE. I know "number one" has the same meaning in Japanese as the one in English while I didn't know "back to square one", completely. The story using ONE expressions is humorous so that they are kept in mind easily. I love it!


by: Anthony from: FRANCE
06/09/2014 10:13 AM
Since a few days, every day I listen a podcast, after I do a summary in the oral... then I read the text, and I choose a words I don't know to learn it! And to finish, I write a comment in this section like now. Usually, I understand very well the text, but for this time, the text is a little more difficult! No problem, it is better for learn :)

In Response

by: Jorge from: Argentina
06/11/2014 10:44 PM
It seems to be a good way to improve the learning. I didn't write a comment before. (I hope to be writing in english...) I'm used to listen podcasts when I go to work and in the way back home. At the begining I didn't understand anything, but now I can understand the general idea. I'm also using a software called anki, in order to make some words lists and then I study them by heart. Now I'm needing a place where I could practice speak in english.


by: ze marotta from: Brazil
06/08/2014 11:19 PM
Brazil is number one at soccer.
Welcome to Brazil , World Cup FIFA 2014.
We are prepareted ........


by: Heba from: usa
06/08/2014 8:21 PM
Great , I love it.


by: Dedimanullang from: Indonesia
06/08/2014 6:36 PM
Thank you so much for VOA Learning English . I think this Is a good Link to explore and Improve English as a second language for foreigner learners . I have been teaching English for 6 years when I saw this link VOA it really helpful to improve my Spoken English .

In Response

by: sara from: dubai
06/11/2014 8:36 PM
thank you very much,but please let me know how can I find the mean of idiom ؟?sometimes I dont understand them.

In Response

by: Moderator
06/13/2014 1:10 PM
Hello sara,
We will soon have a new series on American Idioms and Expressions.


by: Dedimanullang from: Indonesia
06/08/2014 6:36 PM
Thank you so much for VOA Learning English . I think this Is a good Link to explore and Improve English as a second language for foreigner learners . I have been teaching English for 6 years when I saw this link VOA it really helpful to improve my Spoken English .

Comments page of 2
    Next 

Learn with The News

  • U.S. ambassador to South Korea Mark Lippert, right, covers a slash on his face as he leaves the Sejong Cultural Institute in Seoul, after he was attacked by an armed assailant, in Seoul, March 5, 2015.

    Audio US Ambassador to South Korea Injured in Attack

    Ambassador Mark Lippert is said to be in stable condition after a man in Seoul stabbed him. Ambassador Lippert was left with 80 stitches in his face. In other news, Liberia has released its last confirmed Ebola patient. The World Health Organization said Liberia reported no new cases last week. More

  • Video US Cities Protect Civil Rights Heritage to Increase Tourism

    This weekend, President Barack Obama will visit Selma, Alabama, to mark the 50th anniversary of a day known as “Bloody Sunday.” On March 7, 1965, police officers brutally attacked peaceful demonstrators in Selma. The protesters were part of a campaign to get voting rights for African-Americans. More

  • Audio Many Russians Doubt Nemstov’s Killer Will Be Found

    Few people believe the person who ordered Mr. Nemtsov’s killing will be revealed. He joins a growing list of critics of Russia under President Vladimir Putin’s leadership who many say have been killed for their work. Mr. Nemtsov was buried Tuesday after being shot and killed in Moscow days earlier. More

  • Miners arrive to help with the rescue effort in Zasyadko coal mine in Donetsk March 4, 2015. A blast at the coal mine in the eastern Ukrainian rebel stronghold of Donetsk killed more than 30 people, a local official said on Wednesday, with dozens more min

    Audio At Least 33 Dead in Ukraine Mine Explosion

    A coal mine exploded early Wednesday in the rebel-held city of Donetsk. Also in the news, the US Justice Department released its Ferguson police department report; China has announced it will increase its military spending by 10 percent; and Mexico captured a Zetas drug leader. More

  • Video UK Group Brings Eyeglasses to Rwanda

    Most people in developed countries do not have a problem getting prescription eyeglasses. They go to an ophthalmologist -- a trained specialist who treats problems and diseases of the eye. But in poor countries like Rwanda, it may take a lot more time, effort and money. More

Featured Stories

  • Video Dealers Show Marijuana Products at DC Show

    Industry representatives demonstrated smoking equipment and marijuana plant growing systems. Some even gave business advice about what supporters hope will be a successful industry. But the drug itself was not on display at the show. It is still a violation of federal law to possess marijuana. More

  • FILE - An embryologist works on a petri dish at a London fertility clinic.

    Audio 'Three-Person Babies' Debate Goes Beyond Science and Religion

    Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy uses the genetic material from three people to create babies. The stated purpose of the therapy is to help mothers avoid passing genetic mutations to their babies. Some say MRT will lead to 'designer babies.' Others say it is dangerous, immoral or just wrong. More

  • Steam and smoke is seen over the coal burning power plant in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, on Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009. Coal power plants are among the biggest producer of CO2, that is supposed to be responsible for climate change.

    Audio Capturing CO2 Is Costly and Difficult

    Most scientists agree that increasing amounts of carbon-dioxide gas in the atmosphere is partly to blame for climate change. Climate change can have a big effect on weather conditions around the world. Scientists are looking for the best and least costly methods for capturing the gas. More

  • Kerry and Declan Reichs (Courtesy Photo)

    Video Choosing to Be a Single Mother

    U.S. officials say birth rates for unmarried women over age 40 have been rising in recent years. In fact, the rate in 2012 was almost 30 percent higher than just five years earlier. There are single mothers by choice. They are generally older, successful, well-educated, and financially secure. More

  • Audio Young Writer’s Plays Explore Race, Identity in America

    Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' latest play 'An Octoroon,' is showing at a theater in New York City. It is based on a 19th Century work by Dion Boucicault. It tells about a white man who falls in love with a woman who is part black. At the time, mixed race marriage was banned in southern US states. More

Practice Your Writing

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

 

 

 

Tell us About Our Programs