October 02, 2014 10:25 UTC

Words and Their Stories

Number One

Number One
Number One
Number One
Number Onei
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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.

 
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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 .

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