Tricky English Words: It’s worth the (…)

Last week, everyone was talking about the Powerball Lottery Drawing. The jackpot rose to $1.5 billion, and there were three jackpot winners.  They would have split $930 million if they each took the lump sum payment. Was it worth the money to buy a ticket? Some people said yes. Others said no.

We can ask if something is worth the money, time, risk or effort to do. What we mean is this: If we give our money, time, safety, or energy for this thing, will we get equal or greater value back?

For example:

Powerball Bus Stop

Buying a lottery ticket. Is it worth the money? (Photo: Seth Wenig, AP)

When we play the lottery and try to win the jackpot, our chances are 1 in 292,000,000. Someone could say to us, “Hey, guys! It’s not worth the $2 for the ticket. You won’t win. You’re just throwing away money.” We might answer, “It’s totally worth it. For $2, we could win millions. If we lose, we lose very little, but if we win, we win BIG!”

Star Wars Line

The Line Awakens! Is waiting in line to see a movie worth the time? (Photo from

Recently, “The Force Awakens,” the newest Star Wars movie, premiered. Some of us waited in line for hours to watch the first showing. Someone could have said to us, “I can’t believe you slept out here. It’s not worth the time. No matter when you see it, it’s the same movie!” True fans would have answered, “It’s so worth it! We’ve waited years for this film! We don’t want anyone else to see it before we do!”

Airport Dog

Is crime worth the risk? (Photo – Nick Ut/AP)

Most of us have gone through security at the airport. We’ve seen workers using scanners and dogs to try to find contraband. Someone could ask us, “Psst! Hey! Would you carry this suitcase through customs for me? I’ll give you money if you do.” While someone might say, “Sure. It’s worth the money and risk for me to do that,” most of us would probably answer, “Are you crazy? It’s not worth the risk! I don’t want to spend the next 20 years in jail.”

Swimmer Medals

Olympic glory…is it worth the effort?

Finally, take a look at this guy, Michael Phelps. He has won a lot of Olympic gold medals. However, they didn’t just fall into his lap. He had to train for years and years to swim as well as he does. If we ask him, “Hey Michael, was really it worth all that effort to win those medals?” he will probably say, “It was totally worth it. I’m a household name! I’ve gotten millions of dollars in endorsements!”

Now, to make reading this worth your time and effort, do the following practice…

Answer the following questions with “It’s worth the (…)” or “It’s not worth the (…)”

1. Would you spend $3,399.98 for a bottle of Armand de Brignac Brut Rose Champagne (the current price online!)?

2. Would you spend twelve years to become a doctor?

3. Would you jump from a plane if you had a parachute?

4. Would you wait all night for first-row seats for your favorite band or sports team?

5. Would you train 7 hours a day for the next 10 years to win an Olympic gold medal?

6. Would you study English 8 hours a day to get 670 on the TOEFL?

7. Would you diet as long as it took to lose 10 pounds?